Monday, July 13, 2009

FOUR DAYS IN LAS VEGAS 2009: DAY TWO

Our second day in Las Vegas started with breakfast at the Buffet at the Bellagio. While neither of us is a big breakfast eater, we have discovered that even if we just have juice, fresh fruit, milk, bowl of cereal, and coffee or tea, the buffet price of $14.95 per person is less than what it would cost in the hotel to eat in one of its coffee shops and caf├ęs. We have tried buffets at other nearby hotels and always find the one at the Bellagio to be the best. Of course, we always are tempted by the other offerings. Jim usually added smoked salmon and other smoked fish to his plate. And I enjoyed the muffins, cheese, steamed Asian vegetables, made to order omelets, and, best of all, Breakfast Pizzas!



Our plan for Day Two was to visit the Wynn Hotel. The Wynn is newer than the Bellagio and we've never seen it. Wandering through hotels is one of our favorite Las Vegas past times. Since the Wynn is about a mile away and the weather is hot, we decided to use public transit. Trying to keep our costs down on this visit, we thought that using public transit when we did not wish to walk, including to a show at the Venetian, would save us money over taking taxis that get expensive because there is a lot of wait time in the traffic on the Strip that rapidly runs up the meter.

Public transit on the Strip is pretty limited. Before our arrival, I had decided that the Monorail that runs from the MGM to the Convention Center, with stops in between, would be our best bet. On our first day there, after dinner at Mon Ami Gabi in Paris, we decided to check out the Paris/Bally's Monorail station; its entrance is right on the Strip. So, in we walked, and after walking and riding escalators for quite awhile, we found ourselves in Bally's lobby. We kept walking and walking and walking...through Bally's shopping section and further and then we finally stopped and turned back, noting that we had to have walked further trying to find the Monorail station entrance than we would have walked if we stayed on the sidewalk and just walked directly from our hotel to the Wynn. From later talking with locals about the Monorail, we learned that it is something of a joke because of its inconvenient stations and its limited coverage.

The best bet for public transit is the bus system and The Deuce, a double decker bus, runs frequently along the Strip and is always packed...but well air conditioned. At $3 a ride, or $7 for all day, The Deuce is a deal.




So, on Day Two, we caught the Deuce in front of Planet Hollywood across the street and were at the Wynn in minutes.

Despite the Wynn's "ritzy" appearance and its own in-house Ferrari dealer by the main entrance, we loved the inside of the Wynn. Steve Wynn, who has built many of the Las Vegas hotels, including the Bellagio, has outdone himself with the Wynn's cheerful interior which includes fanicful floral ceilings and carpets, colorful parasols, and a lake with waterfalls. Many of the Wynn's restaurants overlook the lake; several have outdoor lakeside seating.


















The Wynn's sister hotel, the Encore next door, is connected inside. The Wynn and the Encore share an onsite golf course, among their amenities. Just as Bellagio has its Chihuly glass ceiling and Botanical Garden, the Wynn also has an expansive floral display off its lobby.



Our friend Mort told me about Bartolotta, a seafood restaurant in the Wynn that features fresh seafood which is flown in daily from the Mediterranean. The menu is tempting; here's a view of the restaurant, which is one of many at the Wynn.



We exited the Wynn from their shopping "street" and wound up just a walkway away from the Palazzo, the Venetian's newest hotel, adjacent to the Venetian. Since the Strip is not easy to cross (there are overcrossing periodically), we decided to wander through the Palazzo and Venetian.



We had just arrived in St. Mark's Square in the Venetian right when one of their free shows was about to start. So, we found a good vantage spot and enjoyed the 15 or so minute show.





This led to further wanderings and eventuallly to walking all the way back to the Bellagio.

We crossed the Strip in front of the Venetian and wandered through the Mirage. By now, we were hungry for lunch but did not want a huge meal. We spotted the Carnegie Deli and went in and shared an enormous Corned Beef Sandwich. We were conservative in our ordering, but those around us were certainly not.



The couple at the next table had ordered a BLT/Chicken Salad Combination and a Corned Beef/Turkey Combination sandwiches. They were kind enough to allow me to take pictures of their lunches.





Next stop was the Forum Shops at Caesar's. Entering on the street level nearest to the Mirage, I spotted a Taryn Rose shoe store.


Taryn Rose shoes are special comfortable shoes designed by Taryn Rose, who originally started her career as an orthopaedist. When she discovered that supportive women's shoes were mostly ugly and fashionable women's shoes did not give her the kind of foot support she needed for work days on her feet, she started designing women's shoes that have both style and built-in orthotics for support. Taryn Rose shoes are expensive, so I only splurge on them every few years. This day in Las Vegas was splurge day and I came out with a pair of gold metallic sandals.

Finally, we got back to the Bellagio in time to get dressed for an early dinner before seeing Blue Man Group, back at the Venetian. This time, since I didn't want to walk or bus in my dress shoes, we did take a taxi.

Our dinner at Canaletto, an Italian restaurant overlooking St. Mark's Square on one side and the Grand Canal and Gondolas on the other, was lovely.







We shared their interesting version of a Caesar Salad.



I had the Sea Bass.



And, Jim chose the Shrimp, Crab and Artichoke Risotto, Risotto Erasmo.



We looked longingly at the gelato at their gelato shop but, with a 7 p.m. curtain time for our show, we did not have time to indulge...and we were pretty full from our dinner.




And the Blue Man Group show was unbelievable. I had no idea what to expect; it has been on Jim's to-see list for a long time. I was surprised and delighted...it was fun, funny, creative, and ever-surprising.



After the show, the entire cast...Blue Men and their backups...were in the lobby where they graciouslly posed for photos with audience members and "signed" tickets and programs with a blue fingerprint or kiss.






Another lovely day in Las Vegas.

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