Monday, March 25, 2013

Vegas day 2: Around the world and back(bends)

(For a recap of our first night in Vegas, click here.)

We woke up on Saturday morning without an alarm but with a feeling of total refreshment and relaxation... in Sin City, no less!  Our plan for the day was to have no plans at all; simply explore and indulge our attraction to shiny objects.

But, explorers need fuel, so we headed to breakfast at Sugar Factory, where I opted for a simple spinach and avocado omelette (I skipped the potatoes since they were pre-made and tasted like cardboard).  It was delicious and light, just what I needed/wanted.  Rachel ordered a fruit and yogurt plate with banana bread and a croissant.  Aside from the banana bread tasting a little like "fake bananas", our experience was good and we'd recommend the place.

After breakfast, we set off for the north end of The Strip, first stop: The Venetian.  With all of my dad's hyping, he didn't hype this enough.  We felt like like we'd flown across the Atlantic and landed in Italy... and Rachel's been to the real deal!  The architecture was impressive, the candy store within amusing...

And the canals under the pale blue "skies", complete with gondolas, were unbelievable!  Are you kidding me?!  We spent quite some time walking around and oogling little Italy, including St. Mark's Square, before stumbling upon the famed Bouchon Bakery.

One pretty green pistachio macaron, please.  It.was.DIVINE!  Not to be left out, Rachel found a sweets counter in the lobby and bought an enormous chocolate covered strawberry.

Back out into the hot dessert sun (high of 90 degrees that day!), we spotted this fellow.  Look familiar?  We saw "characters" everywhere we went, from Mario and Luigi, Hello Kitty, Elvis, and even a newlywed and drinking (?!) Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  Travel tip - these guys and gals work on tips, so if you want a photo with 'em, have some cash ready.

Up next was the exotic Wynn and this gorgeous waterfall tucked behind the hotel.  Like a secret lush escape!

Even the inside of the hotel was breathtaking.  We both wondered if anyone has ever gotten married here and walked down the aisle beneath the magically lit trees.  I can't even!

The romance must've gotten to us and made our heads foggy, because we finally gave in to my dad's incessant plea for us to gamble at least once.  We searched for the perfect machine in the Wynn's casino area and found it -- a game called Candy Bars.  Rachel put in one dollar and, with one button push, won $25.  We cashed out immediately :)

From the Wynn, we hoofed it across the street to the massive Fashion Show Mall for some window shopping and worked up quite an appetite.  Not 2 minutes after we were seated in the casual Mexican eatery, a waiter tending to the adjacent table dropped an entire bowl of guacamole that splashed  Rachel got the worst of it -- on her clothes and even in her hair.  Poor thing!  Truth be told, we actually felt worse for the waiter and his manager, who couldn't stop apologizing and insisted lunch was on the house.  Lemons into lemonade!  It was an absolutely delicious lunch, too.

After lunch, we snaked our way through the human maze casino and found the outdoor habitat at The Flamingo.  Look at these guys and gals.  Totally just chillin'.

We explored the Palazzo Hotel, too, before returning to our hotel and making a itty bitty detour through Sugar Factory (didn't want to spoil my dinner!).  One peanut butter malt ball, one cookie dough bite, one blueberry yogurt mini pretzel, one dark chocolate coated cashew, one gummy letter M, two buttered popcorn jelly beans, and one chocolate covered honey comb (my fav).

After changing and primping, we hit Planet Hollywood for more sight-seeing on our way to dinner.  Check out that ceiling!

Upstairs in the hotel, it was time for dinner at Koi.  There aren't proper words in the English language to describe how I feel about sushi.  It's probably the only kind of cuisine that renders me truly speechless.  I just stare, smell, and eat quietly and slowly, usually with my eyes closed.  Yes, it's weird, but it's how I roll.  See what I did there?  Brilliance.  (From left to right: edamame, crunchy rice with spicy tuna, veggie roll, salmon roll, and eel and avocado roll.)  Plates cleaned, kids!

We passed on dessert at Koi because something we'd seen elsewhere in the hotel caught our eye: a Nestle Toll House shop that had a particular petite dessert we couldn't forget.  We took it as a sign that there were only two left.  Finger-lickin' delicious, thankyouverymuch!  Just the lil' bit we needed to satisfy our post-meal sweet tooth.

Continuing our night on the town, we walked to the MGM Grand.  Let me just say that hotel/casino is huge and, at times, totally overwhelming.  Straight to the theater we went for my first Cirque du Soleil show ever, Ka!  It was captivating, mesmerizing, and downright impressive what those dancers athletes can do.  They bend in ways that I never thought the human body was capable of!

After the show, we headed back in the direction of our Paris Hotel.  As luck would have it, the Bellagio was right across the street from Paris, so we enjoyed one more fountain show before calling it a night.  It was muuuuch past midnight, and the St. Patrick's Day celebrants were already out in full force.  Good thing we had our green ready for Sunday!

Details from our last day in Vegas and some thoughts on traveling there coming later this week!

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