vegas diary: day two

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Everyone hates Mondays, but not when you are on vacation. Monday morning we lounged by the pool, which helped my tan a whole lot. I only took one picture beforehand because I wasn't going to risk getting water getting on my brand new camera.

Our first meal of the day was at La Salsa Cantina. Maybe it's just me, but Mexican food always tastes better in hot places. We got nachos, guacamole fresco, and chipotle chicken quesadillas. The Mexican waiter was totally hitting on my mom and tried to get her to buy a tequila even though it was barely noon. That's Vegas for ya!

We did some more hotel exploring through the Mirage, and Wynn. The Mirage is a really old hotel, but it has a classic little charm to it, very "vintage Vegas" but with plenty of new restaurants and shops, it still is a staple to visit.

The Wynn is definitely not an old hotel, but it mirrors the Mirage with it's gold color scheme, waterfalls, and oasis feel. My favorite part of the Wynn was the beautiful spheres of flowers (that we named florbs, because it's flowers plus orbs duh) that hung in an arbor of trees. Like almost all of the hotels on The Strip, Wynn had it's own collection of shops and restaurants that we looked at. The architecture of these places is just to die for, especially because each hotel is striving to bring something unique to the area and stand out.

Another thing that I love about Vegas is that you can literally carry a camera around and you don't look stupid. Everyone takes pictures of everything, and even more so in this day and age.  It's kind of weird to look around and see everyone armed with a phone or camera taking it all in. I've captured quite a few bystanders in my pictures and they don't even care, it's just something you put up with: being an accessory to someone else's memories. 

With The Venetian and Palazzo hotel across the street, we ventured over to solve our sugar craving. Now I may be biased because I'm Italian, but The Venetian and Palazzo are definitely up there on my top favorite hotels in Vegas. For one, they have the best restaurants (like Sushi Samba), two they have the coolest shopping (like who can say they took a gondola ride next to Barney's New York?), and three they have the greatest attractions (Tao and Madame Tussaud's). We had some delicious gelato in a replica of St. Mark's Square in Venice. That had to be the best gelato I've had, and I've been to a lot of gelato places in Seattle and Portland. I got a scoop of vanilla, and a scoop of cappuccino and it was heavenly.  While we ate gelato there was a "Carnevale" street performer who was one of those "I'm pretending to be a statue!" guys who never moves. Well technically he does move if you leave a tip at his feet.

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After traveling to Venezia we went to center of fashion in Vegas, literally. We perused the Fashion Show Mall, which (you guessed it) has fashion shows regularly. I would have loved to see one, but shows are only on weekends. The difference between this mall and a lot of the shops at the hotels is that there's a wide variety of low and high fashion. There is a Nordstrom (where I stopped for a mocha bianco), a Prada, a ZARA, a huge Forever 21, a Hollister Co., and my favorite store from the UK: Topman. I definitely wish I brought an extra empty bag of luggage so I could spend all my money at that store!

We ended the night with a dinner at The Cheesecake Factory in The Forum Shops because my mom had a free gift card. Nothing tastes better than free to be honest, and The Cheesecake Factory is still good. I mean it's not the top restaurant in Vegas, but it's still a popular place. We just got three appetizers: calamari, sliders, and zucchini sticks. I'm not going to lie, having fried food was amazing, especially when you don't have it often! We felt better that we got appetizer portions and that we walked a lot during the day. Plus who cares about their weight during vacation, it's all about working out before and after the trip. We didn't leave without a cheesecake either, we had a Godiva triple chocolate one. YUM!

Before heading back to the hotel room, Mom played some slots at Caesar's Palace and won some money while Marisa and I watched from afar with jealousy. I took the opportunity to take a picture with the queen of Vegas: Celine Dion. Did you know she takes a helicopter from her home north of Vegas to The Colosseum at Caesar's to perform? Diva status right there. We caught the Bellagio fountain show which just amazing at night with the glittering water and the lights of Vegas shining. It was almost sort of magical.

joe gooding