If it weren’t for the 4 rollover days I carried from last year and must use before April 1st per company policy, this trip never would have happened. I wasn’t exactly in the mood of going on vacation and the choices for destination took us a while to settle on. Some place warm, some place domestic. Florida? been there more than once. New Orleans? read somewhere that safety is now a concern. Police advises tourists to not fight purse snatchers. As soon as we read that it was off the list.
So Vegas it was.
It is a very nice hotel, for sure. The indoor botanical garden (and a butterfly house!) is always attracting tons of tourists, whether they stay at the hotel or not, to take pictures. The famous, signature music fountains in front of the building definitely gives it something that distinguishes from other hotels. We have over the course of our 5 day stays watched the performances at least 4 times, each with a different song.
(pictures taken in the botanical garden)
Last time we were in Vegas we watched Mystere by Cirque du Soleil, because we couldn’t get any tickets for “O”. So we booked the tickets in advance this time. The show was pretty good. My expectation going in might be a bit too high though, I ended up a little unsatisfied. But the opening was really spectacular and impressive.
We went to the one at Bellagio and the one at Paris. Both were among the best in town. Both had huge lines. You won’t go wrong with either one. The smoked salmon and mushroom salad at Bellagio were so tasty, so were lots of other things in both places.
The Chocolate Fountain
Inside Jean Philipe, a French pastry shop located in Bellagio hotel, there was this “world’s tallest and largest volume chocolate fountain”. The photos were taken using our cellphone camera so the quality was not very good, but you should be able to read the print (click to enlarge) that described this very interesting (and delicious) design.
Coca Cola Tasting
Another thing interesting we discovered was a Coca Cola store near MGM Grand. They sell a $7 tasting set where you get 16 glasses of Coca Cola soda, each a different flavor. The flavors are actual products Coca Cola sells across the world, in 16 different countries. So we paid our 7 bucks and got these two trays of colorful drinks, along with a list of what each drink was and where it’s from.
That was a real fun way of wasting some time in a nice, sunny day.
(As for the tastes, most of them were just so so, a couple were quite bad, a few, including one called “Smart Apple”, were really good.)
As usual I didn’t win money gambling. I never do at casinos, no matter what I do. Playing live poker games with a table of strangers for the first time was not an enjoyable experience to me. I had trouble keeping track of the pot size (which is important for calculating pot odds when you are facing or making any bets) and got easily distracted by all sorts of things going on at the table and the surroundings, people chattering, overhead announcers etc. The speed of action was faster than I thought too. It was overall kind of chaotic, and very, very different from playing online, where concentration was not an issue.
But that’s not even the biggest problem. Players in a casino are in general much worse than those online, maybe because they are mostly tourists rather than poker fans (you have to be into poker a little bit to seek out an online poker site like PokerStars to sign up account and play there). Some of their plays were so inexplicable it made any assumption you made (and any conclusion you drew) basically useless (and sometimes totally wrong). Common “poker sense” didn’t seem to exist there. It was quite frustrating and turned out to be costly too.
I did have a better time playing at one of the daily poker tournaments at Caesars Palace. I made the final two tables but busted out after making a mistake on one of the hands preflop, because I wasn’t patient enough. But overall I enjoyed the experience. It was my first ever live tournament in my 3 short months of playing poker.
At Bally’s we walked past a standalone, super-sized slot machine (picture above). We put in some bills and instead of pushing the button, took turns pulling on the huge handle on the side to roll it, so it felt more like real gambling. It was fun (and silly :-)).