Mandalay Bay, Mirage, Treasure Island, The Venetian
20.05.2009 - 20.05.2009 33 °C
Last full day in Vegas, boo! Woke up invigorated, planning to squeeze in as many last minute things as possible. Shower and get ready, then end up taking the bus down to Mandalay Bay to check out the south end. Getting off the bus the first thing you spot is the Luxor with its giant black pyramid and the sphinx out front. Unfortunately it does not fall on my list of priorities to get done that day, so a few snapshots and into the Mandalay Bay we go. We are planning to go to The Burger Bar for lunch and take a path outside to cross the resort. Passing by the pool area you can estimate how big it is, which is pretty large. You can see the lazy river and people floating by, and the sand that they supposedly shipped in to make it seem like an authentic beach. I yearn to swim and play around in the wave pool! But I didn't wear my swimsuit, so it's an unlikely course to follow that day.
We end up coming across the shark reef at Mandalay for a reason, which we were going to do after lunch, but end up taking care of since we are there already. Now unlike the gallery at the Bellagio, this is worth the price of the ticket ($16). Along with a variety of sharks it also houses alligators, piranas, a komodo dragon, jellyfish, stingrays, starfish, and tons of variety in fish, including a blowfish (my favorite). They provide you with a handheld radio that allows for you to key in a number and listen to info about whatever species station you happen to be visiting at that time. Towards the end of tour you actually find yourself walking through a ship hull that they have customized into a part of the aquarium which is very neat. I love aquariums and could likely spend all day in them if possible
After the aquarium we walk around until we find The Burger Bar, nestled in with all the shops in Mandalay Bay. The menu does not disappoint from what I was lead to believe from restaurant reviews. You have your choice of burger, and then of multiple buns and side, and then of an extensive list of toppings that span from the top to the bottom of the menu. Everything from sprouts to grilled asparagus to peppered bacon and proscutto to homemade aioli to smoked salmon or foie gras or truffles. The patties themselves come in many forms such as angus beef, kobe beef, turkey, vegetarian, and others. I opt for the vegetarian and add pepperjack cheese, cucumber, and sprouts. As a side you can choose from skinny fries, regular fries, curly fries, onion rings, or zucchini fries. I try the zucchini fries and instantly fall in love. The burger too was absolutely amazing, and very very filling. I also indulged in a Nutella milkshake, which consists of chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup, Nutella, chocolate whipped cream, whole hazelnuts and chocolate chips. It's like heaven in my mouth.
Mandalay Bay has an Urban Outfitters located just down from The Burger Bar, which makes this place my eden. Pick up a few more things while there since there were some amazing deals to be had. Head back to the hotel and decide to hit the pool, since I've been in Vegas for 4 days now and haven't been there once. The pool isn't anything overly fancy, it's very pretty with columns and statues and a large circular pool. But it's not anything really cool looking like that at Mandalay Bay. I sprawl out in a chair trying to soak up some sunlight and maybe get a shade of tan while reading a book. It gets so hot that I go for a swim in water that seems abnormally cold considering how hot it is outside (makes me suspect that they intentionally cool the pool down). Tan for a bit longer, then back to the hotel room to grab a shower and get dressed again, heading out to explore more of the strip.
Hop on a bus planning to head up and check out the Strastosphere, but en route I notice the time and that a showing of the Sirens at Treasure Island will be in a few minutes. So I hop off at the nearest stop and watch the show from across the street. I thought it would be more old-fashioned, kind of like singing from The Little Mermaid. Instead it's a bunch of scantily clad women dancing around and singing on a ship while men on another ship dance and hollar back. Then they launch some cannon balls, fire and fireworks ensue. The women sing and dance more, sink the men's ship and hoorah! More fireworks. It was actually pretty entertaining considering what I thought it would be versus what it was.
I travel down the street and find myself just in time to catch the volcano eruption at The Mirage again, so I watch it from across the street to get another view. It's different to watch from afar, nowhere near the scalding heat that the pyrotechnics set off. Satisfied with my double viewing I then find myself wandering down to finally get a good view of The Venetian during daylight. I explore the insides, marvelling at how gorgeous the the painting on the ceilings and the general decor is, along with the indoor canals and the gondolas floating by. Inside there is a female gondolier, which is an interesting sight to see. She can definitely hold it up to the boys. I finally wander outside and set myself up to take my gondola ride.
The sun is starting to set when I climb into the gondola. My driver that night is a guy named Chas, who formally introduces himself complete with handshake. I share the gondola with another couple who are from New Jersey and seem quite nice. Chas seems to be quite the chatter and keeps striking up a conversation with me. I inquire as to if you need to be italian to be a gondolier and he says that he was in fact born in Italy, and all of them are of italian decent. While going through one of the tunnels he sings a song in Italian and his voice actually shocks me. I didn't expect such a strong, beautiful voice from him. I must admit the singing, the tunnel, the boat .. the sum of all the parts made the experience something memorable that I am likely not to forget anytime soon.
I decide to walk the way back to the resort since it's only a block or two, making sure to stop inside Margaritaville and get a good look around, but passing on an actual margarita since the lineup is absolutely insane. Next time I suppose. I do end up stopping in Flamingo's though and indulging in a 99 cent margarita that has entirely too much tequila in it, but is very tasty despite the low low price. Not sure what to do to fill the rest of my night I roll around the idea of catching a Cirque show on my last day there. Unfortunately Tix4Tonight was closed, so I had to deal with the box office and full prices. I scoot over to the Bellagio and to the ticket office, and ta da! Tickets were still available. I end up settling for one in the balcony since the floor tickets are much more pricey ($180). Ka tickets are a little less pricey but the show starts in 30 minutes, hardly enough time to change and catch the show on time at the MGM. So I opt for 'O' which is at the Bellagio, and gives me an hour and a half to prepare. I purchase my ticket, slightly giddy and rush back to the hotel to change.
An argument ensues, naturally. I change into a black dress, slight curl in my hair, then throw on a cardigan and a pair of five inch heels that I will later regret. Why? It started with the cobblestone floors in Paris, and then the escalators, and motorized paths, and the stairs, and the fact that I'm not used to wearing heels. By the time I made it to the theatre I had to kick my shoes off and supress whimpers. Sure, I looked good, but at this cost? The theatre was full for the show, and from curtains opening until the curtains closing it was breathtaking. 'O' involves air acrobats, floor work, firedancing, and also synchronized swimming with its stage and the ability to go from solid ground to pool. It was captivating, beautiful, and worth every single penny of the ticket price. The good thing was even the worst seat in the house had an amazing view. Quality over quantity, which works for me. If I ever go back, Ka will be on my agenda.
After the show, having not eaten since The Burger Bar I decide to grab the early breakfast at Le Cafe Ile St. Louis in Paris. Maybe I was biased and it wasn't that bad, I figured. Not really actually. My pancake was undercooked, the eggs barely cooked, and the biscuit came with a ham gravy (not ideal for a vegetarian). So the meal overall left me somewhat disatisfied. But whichever. I crawled my way up to the room, changed into my pjs for a much deserved sleep after such a long long day.