Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Vacation Blog VIII, Part this what it feels like to actually sleep in???

9:59 AM - Oh boy. If this is what sleeping in feels like, I like it.

That is the most consecutive hours I've slept since the Nixon administration. Unreal.

I think I've just used up all my excuses for not being able to "go-go-go" and have a ton of fun today. Tracey gets up just minutes after I do, so we should be good to go today. Today's plan is going to be a little exploration, and then hit the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, and dinner at the Bellagio buffet.

Going to relax at the resort for a couple hours and since we still have a few bottles of wine to drink before we go, time to crack open our remaining Chardonnay.

1:00 PM - Off to Bellagio to park and then we are walking over to the Linq to peruse the pomenade and get some lunch. They opened up an In-N-Out burger there and nothing will stand between my wife and In-N-Out.

The promenade at the Linq (which used to be the disgusting Imperial Palace for any of you who haven't been to Vegas in a while) is really quite nice, and although it was fully open when we were here a year ago, several places have changed. That includes the aforementioned In-N-Out burger, but it also includes a Gordon Ramsay Fish N Chips place, and since I don't like crappy hamburgers, I stop there to grab lunch. I have shrimp n chips, and upgrade the chips with some bacon and parmesan. It's really quite delicious, and quite a bit of food for $20ish too.

Gordon Ramsay is taking over this city. He already had Gordon Ramsay Pub N Grill (Caesar's Palace), Gordon Ramsay Steak (Paris), Gordon Ramsay Burger (Planet Hollywood) and now this Fish N Chips place...and he's not done yet! Coming soon, Hell's Kitchen!!! It will be located outside Caesar's Palace, in the spot that used to be Serendipity 3 and Stripburger. The construction has already begun, scheduled to open this winter. I can hear it already: "You can't even cook risotto, you fucking DONKEY!!!!!". Ah, good times.

Tracey gets her In-N-Out (after a pretty long wait) and she enjoys it. They don't have gluten-free buns, of course, so she just takes her chances. It's a treat for her. Even she admits their fries are pretty crappy. Talk about an overrated establishment.

Right after lunch, I hit up another new location at the Linq, a frozen daiquiri bar and am pleased and proud to announce that my Pina Colada count has hit three. I am NOT LEAVING THIS CITY until it gets to at least four. Oh, the pressure.

It is cooler today. I think it only hit 103.

Seriously, the heat has been debilitating this trip. so much so that in the future I don't think we will come here in July, we may move our yearly trips to earlier in the spring. It is just overwhelming to walk in this heat.

By the time we get to Bellagio (which is not a long walk from the Linq), we are spent. Tracey has to go into the washroom just to splash some water on her face and cool off a bit. My legs are close to cramping up. It's insane. Thank God I got a lot of sleep last night, because I can only imagine how tired I'd be if I were fighting this heat AND fatigue.

Off to the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. The current exhibit is a retrospective on the life of Muhammad Ali. Photos, quotes and memorabilia from this most interesting man. I'm a bit too young to remember Ali in his heyday, but this exhibit brought some of his early triumphs, and problems, to life. It was really impressive.

We've seen a four wildly different exhibits here. The first one we saw was a Monet exhibit, which was incredibly cool. We own a Monet print, and it was a bit surreal to be standing there in front of the original. The next exhibit I saw was without the wife, it was an Andy Warhol exhibit. Just a little bit different from Monet. That guy was just kooky. Last year they were hosting an exhibit of photographs from world renowned shutterbug Yousuf Karsh called "Icons of the 20th Century" (you can read a bit about it here, if you like). And now the Ali tribute. Great stuff.

4:45 PM - Next up is dinner at the Bellagio buffet, which is not yet lined up. We are just starting to get hungry, so we could wait another half hour or so, but I suggest it's better for us to go in and get seated as it is going to be busy. No law against sitting in the buffet and picking at some salad or small appetizers until Hungry Bear arrives!

4:46 PM - Hungry Bear arrives.

No, that's not totally true, but it's funny anyway.

Since we were here last, they have done some minor renovations, adding get-it-yourself beverage centres. It used to be that the wait staff would get you all your drinks, now they just get you anything from the bar and you have to get your pop, juice or water yourself. If that sounds like a negative, it is not. Why is it not? This is why.

I have dubbed this the World's Greatest Invention (sorry, fire and the wheel). For those of you who may be unfamiliar with these little miracles, they serve you pretty much any kind of pop you can imagine. Feel like Peach Sprite? No problem. Cherry Vanilla Coke? Vanilla Root Beer? Strawberry Dasani Water? Check, check. Caffeine Free Diet Coke with Lemon? Oh yeah, baby. Caffeine Free Diet Coke with ORANGE?? That's right, bitches, I said ORANGE. (Full disclaimer, the orange wasn't as good as the lemon). They also had options for lime, raspberry, vanilla, cherry and I think even strawberry. I need to know how to get one of these for my house. Seriously, if anyone is looking for a good Xmas idea for me......

This is not the first time I've seen one of these machines; they actually have one at the Scotiabank Theatre in Vancouver, and a couple of years ago when we were down here we noticed they had just installed one at the Mirage Buffet. At that point I kind of assumed we would see them EVERYWHERE by now, but no, this is the first one we've seen this trip. Basically any kind of drink made by the Coca-Cola company is available in this machine, with different flavors to augment it. Awesome.

For those of you who enjoy mutated donkey urine, Pepsi also makes these machines.

After dinner I am enticed to sit down at a "Deal or No Deal" machine, which works kind of like the old game show. We pop in only $10 and spin the wheel which determines if we get to see the cases or if we just lose our bet ($5), and on my first spin I hit the best option, I get to see the cases and the values are doubled! The top value case is about $575 so I stand a chance to win a lot of money for my $10 investment. I pick my case (lucky number 13!!) and then I have to open up 5 cases. Four of the 5 are very small, one was in the middle, so I did really well on my first try and the bank offer was just over $70!! I took it, of course. My case had $30 in it. I played a few more spins but wasn't able to get back to the cases, but I cashed out about $55, enough to pay for dinner (we had a 2-for-1 pass) and parking. Oh yeah, let's talk about parking. It's not free anymore. Not even close. Valet at the Bellagio is $25 for over 4 hours. It's comparable everywhere. I don't know how much self-park is, but I know it's not free either. That sucks.

6:30 PM - On our way home from Bellagio, with the convertible top down, and we actually have to put it up during the drive as it is so windy we are being pelted by debris!! And I mean pelted. I think I forgot to mention in yesterday's entry that the winds at the pool were really intense to the point that it kept blowing cups and napkins into the pool. It wasn't windy when we left this afternoon, but the wind gusts are back with a vengeance tonight. I don't recall ever seeing wind like this in Vegas.

As I'm typing up this blog I am fishing debris out of my hair. Seriously.

7:30 PM - Back in the room and we debate about going to the pool but Contented Bear makes an appearance and in seconds she's in the tub. As much as she loves the pool, I believe that Contented Bear's happy place is a huge soaker tub. I can't blame her, this tub is remarkable. I'll be in there about 17 seconds after she vacates the premises.

While typing up the blog entry, we crack open the last bottle of white wine we had bought, a nice Chenin Blanc/Viognier blend that we've had many times. We have three bottles left in the fridge: two reds that are definitely going home with us in our luggage (we have travel bags that have worked before, so they should be fine) and a bottle of Provence Rosé which we may drink tomorrow, but if not, it can go home with us too. We have three bags.

One of the reds is a Syrah we have never tasted that was given this review from world-renowned wine critic Robert Parker:

The same can be said for the 2013 Syrah Relentless, which might end up being the finest one they’ve ever made. The berries were the smallest they’ve encountered, and they were not the only winery to say that about the 2013 red varietals. A blend of 97% Syrah and 3% Petite Sirah, the wine is opaque black/purple with an incredible nose of subtle wood, charcoal embers, blackberry, blueberry and black raspberry fruit, baking spices, and again, a roasted meatiness with some bouquet garni thrown in the background. The complex aromatics were already starting to roar from the glass, and the wine, enormously endowed, is full-bodied and flawlessly constructed. This is a killer effort that should drink well for 40+ years. 
Barrel Sample: 98-100 Points

So, yeah, really hoping that one gets home in one piece. Just sayin'.

If you are interested in reading my reviews of all the wine we have enjoyed on this trip, you are in luck, because I just posted them here.

8:30 PM - Contented Bear is still in the bath. I may have to fight her for it, or lure her out with some nuts or something.

9:00 PM - I yell "SQUIRREL" and Contented Bear hops out of the bath and runs down the hallway. I now become King of the Tub. And in case you don't believe me.....

Yes, that is a table in the tub, to support my wine, almonds, and iPad. With this development, I have officially won the vacation.

9:45 PM - Ran out of wine, so out of the tub and I guess it's time to wind down for bed. Hoping to have another good sleep so we can enjoy our last full day in Vegas.

Pina Colada count sits at 3, which is how many I had last year. All you can do it strive to get better every day, right? So I can't go home with that same pathetic number. Onward and upwards!

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