August 31, 1999, Los Angeles California

We are Stardust people... we park in the back lot and wheel our one little piece of luggage up to the VIP checkin, take care of business and head for the room. Once a year, for our anniversary my hubby relents and we stay somewhere different, last week was that special occassion..and this time we were going to the Bellagio! Much to his dismay, I had decided that we couldn’t go THERE with one suitcase between us, for this trip we needed CLOTHES... jackets, shirts, ties, dresses, shoes, purses to match, sparkly tops, jewelry, the whole nine yards... no little suitcase this time, we needed one of the BIG cases... AND the garment bag for this trip...hell, I would have taken a trunk, just to be on the safe side...because you just never know...LOL.

Afterall, we were going to one of the FINEST hotels in the world, we would be rubbing elbows with the RICH...we had to have the RIGHT clothes!. We couldn’t go in there looking like a couple of hayseeds that just fell off the turnip truck...we had to project an image!! My husband thought I was mad! He is a very logical person, he figures he always looks good, and if people don’t like the way he looks... too bad! But, he doesn’t want to listen to THE VOICE...so he goes along...he is a great guy...I am lucky! After waiting for “Greenspan to speak”, (the other VOICE in his life - LOL) we are finally on the road at 11:30am.

Our drive from LA is not long...about 3 1/2 hours tops, but driving across the desert is a boring tedious trip, and once you pass Barstow, there is nothing to see but cactuses and shrubs... until you reach Baker;“Gateway to Death Valley”... here you get to witness the eighth wonder of the world: the “World’s Tallest Thermometer.” :) On this day that monstrosity registered 109. Baker is in a time warp, it looks like a movie set left over from “Deliverance”... I hate that scrubby little burg, the only thing they have going for them is “BunBoy” and the “World Famous Mad Greek” restaurant, (which, BTW, has strawberry milkshakes to die for)... as we whiz by, I ponder the lives of the 500 people stuck in that hell hole town, eking out an existence from the never ending parade of truckers and tourists who stop there for gas and grub. I thank my lucky stars and realize, that there, but for the Grace of God go I.

Once we pass Baker we’re on the downhill portion of the trip, 90 more miles we will be in Wonderland, and I will be Alice tumbling down into that big crazy tunnel known as "Vegas". Up ahead the sky is ominous, black clouds threaten in the distance and lightning arcs on the horizon. Big raindrops splatter the car, then it is coming down in sheets, and in minutes the temp has dropped 30 degrees...its eerie, the rain is running UP the windshield and the drops are pummeling the roof. I want to pull over, but we prevail, and soon it quits as fast as it started. This goes on for the duration of the trip, but when we get to Primm, it is really coming down, and it is windy as the devil, so we decide to pull over, its either Buffalo Bill's or Primm Valley...I vote for Buffalo Bill’s to “see what it is like." BIG MISTAKE! I have never seen such a collection of RV’rs, Bikers, Blue Haired Grannies, and Kids, assembled in one place! Nobody is going anywhere, they have no purpose, they are just wandering aimlessly, glazed eyes staring at the sights, and we are swept up in the throng. We make our way to the food court, get a rice bowl and marvel at the noise, the chaos, and the utter tastelessness of the whole place...please Lord, if you make it quit raining, and let me out of here, I promise not to split 10’s - LOL!

I wind my way to the restroom, passing by lots of kids and some ride that seems to be logs floating on water -LOL, once there, I find out from a “Blue Hair” that “Dad” had just gone out to “check out the rig”, all was clear... and they were “shoving off”... LOL! Yippeee, time to put an egg in our shoe and beatit...We’re outta here!

Its about 40 miles to Vegas and my enthusiasm is building! I always get excited when I am going to Vegas, because its is a such a wonderful fantasy land...strollers and high rollers, juxtaposed amongst circus clowns and billion dollar art collections. I love it all! I can hardly wait to get there and I never want to leave!

Down the freeway and up Flamingo, turn right and around the corner is the Bellagio. We pull the caddy up the sweeping Bellagio driveway, which, BTW, is inspired by the road in Monte Carlo that winds up to its casino, we park, a valet is there immediately, and a bellman loads the bags, once in the lobby he tells us to call down when we are settled and someone will bring up the bags. Hubby shoots him a fin and off we go; the lobby is like Times Square, people are sitting in the chairs, taking pictures, and just walking and gawking in general, I point out the ceiling sculpture to hubby...he’s not impressed, I tell him there are over 2000 hand blown flowers; it is by the famous artist Dale Chihuly, it cost 10 million dollars, the look on his face tells me he could think of better ways to spend that kind of money -LOL.

Every so often on the drive, hubby would lament the fact that we would probably have to wait in the checkin line for an hour...wrongO, bucky beaver! LOL! The registration desk is just glorious, a calm oasis, in a sea of chaos, the lines are about 3 deep and there are plenty of people working to accommodate the crowd. We had a sweet guy named “Adrian”, he was just a gem, he explained to us that we needed our key to work the elevator and that our suite would be on the 33rd floor with an excellent view of the fountains. He wasn't kidding. What a room!

Bellagio Suite #33022 - A room with a View.

We have stayed in lots of suites and this ranks up there as one of the best I have seen, it is laid out so well and has every comfort, no detail has been spared... I can imagine just holing up in our room and not going anywhere for the rest of the trip....well maybe for the rest of the evening....would you believe for the next hour? LOL LOL

The whole place is about 1800 sq. ft. It is REALLY NICE... as you walk into the foyer, there are inlaid marble floors, brown in the center, with off white on the outside, leading into a light yellow carpet, with a brown trellis pattern, to the right is a half bath, to the left, a wet bar with a refrigerator with an ice maker, the bar top has bottled water, an ice bucket and bar tools, there are plenty of storage cupboards and drawers; in front of the bar are two tall yellow and coral upholstered bar stools.

Walking straight from the foyer takes you into the living room; there is a couch covered in a light yellow material, so soft, I just sink down into it... 2 large easy chairs, they look like low thrones...hubby calls them “big butt” chairs...LOL...they are done in a coral colored velvet, a huge coffee table and 2 end tables with lamps. In front of the couch, taking up one wall is an entertainment center with a TV, VCR, CD player and fax machine. All the furniture is...Italian Provincial...of course.

Behind the couch is a writing desk, with a 2 line phone and a reading lamp. The drawer is stocked with Bellagio stationery, note cards and pens...well at least it was when we got there - LOL!

On to the next area which is the dining room, a big table, with four arm chairs, and a buffet taking up one wall, a massive crystal chandelier hangs over the marble topped table.

We now enter through a door into the bedroom. There is a king size bed, a 5 drawer armoire housing a TV, 2 night stands with lamps and an easy chair and table... with a floor lamp.

Between the bathrooms stands another 5 drawer dresser... yes... there were two bathrooms. The lady’s bathroom had a makeup table with a lighted makeup mirror, and a hairdryer... a big closet with lots of hangers, a beautiful robe and slippers, an iron and ironing board, and a safe.

The marble vanity had a 10 inch colored TV with remote, there were lots of linens stocked underneath. The amenities consisted of good sizes of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, mouthwash, razor, shaving gel, hairspray, toothpaste and toothbrush, a sewing kit and a shower cap...what... no Q-Tips? - LOL!

Taking up the back wall is a two person Jacuzzi tub with 6 jets, bathsalts, soaps and a loofah. To the left in the rear, is a separate room with the commode and bidet, and a wall telephone.

Across the hall is the man’s bathroom. There is a closet, with robe and slippers, a dresser with 5 drawers, same vanity set-up, TV, and amenities. The shower is huge; with the push of a button, it becomes a sauna and... there is a marble bench for sitting... or...ladies take note...shaving your legs . (I wish they would put this in all showers...are you listening architects?)

But... I have saved the best for last...in the living room and in the bedroom, on the wall, are buttons to control the blackout drapes and sheers... with a push of a button, whoosh.... they are open, revealing Paris...the Eiffel Tower and Balloon across the street and the brilliant fountain show below. Finally, my husband is impressed, he has only ever stayed in one other place with electronic drapes, and thinks this is the greatest thing since sliced bread...like opening drapes is soooo hard - LOL LOL!

With the tour complete, I call down for the bags and the bellman is there in a flash...time to unpack and go exploring!

Ok, here we go exploring... out the promenade to the pool area...another sight for sore eyes, lots of trees, plants, shrubs, flowers, arbors, statues, and fountains, about 4 acres...all spread out in this beautiful setting... there are 5 pools arranged at different levels, with BIG cabanas around the perimeter. I’ve never really paid attention to cabanas before, so maybe they are all the same, but these look like something out of the Arabian nights...white and flowing, they come with cable TV, misters, big padded lounges, a wet bar and are stocked with complimentary fruit, pretzels, and non alcoholic beverages. There is a waitperson assigned to your cabana to bring you food from the pool café, and/or adult beverages. Because the cabanas are owned by Casino Marketing, they are reserved for high rollers...anything left over the pool can sell...the pool staff will call your room on the day of your reservation to let you know whether you are in or not...they do take names up to a month in advance. Well, of course...wouldn’t you know it, I guess all the High Rollers were in town that week, because we didn’t get one...even though I reserved at least 3 days before we got there. LOL! If you even think you might want one, don’t get left out like I did...don’t wait — get your name on the list early!

Back inside, and lo and behold, here is the art gallery, I didn’t notice it on our exit...but they have moved it from over by the conservatory, to bigger quarters here, on the pool promenade. Me: “Oh look...there’s the Art Gallery,” Hubby: ”No!”...I know when to shut up, and I do...LOL.

From there we wind around, and pass the buffet, with its ridiculously long line, the Cirque du Soleil Store and the “O” Theater, past the Poker Room, lots of people in there, the tables looked full, and then we come to the Sports Book. Wow, compared to the Stardust, this is downright luxurious, if they could get by Security, (not that easy)...this would be a good spot for the homeless to go and sleep — LOL. Lots of big, high back, leather chairs, each one with its own TV, I don’t know anything about Sports Betting, but this looks like a good place to analyze the odds, read the sheet, check the line and contemplate those overs and unders ;).

Around and around we go, and where we stop, only Suiteeeee knows — LOL. This place is huge, I can tell hubby is getting antsy, and I’m hungry...so we stop at Sam’s...partake of a gargantuan Cobb salad with chicken, avocado, bacon, and blue cheese, and one of the best Caesars salads I have ever had... a Tanqueray martini, and a glass of Chardonnay...there is no view at Sam’s, just good food, and excellent service, in a kind of southwestern, art deco setting.

I say to hubby “What should we do now?” I’m thinking maybe go out on the strip and watch the fountain show, stroll the walkways, take in the full moon, you know...romantic stuff :)... but nooooo, can you believe this...what’s he want to do....GAMBLE! — LOL!

So now , we make our way on to the casino floor, we’ve been staying on the outside perimeter up until this point, because once you get into the actual casino, it seems like it would be real easy to GET LOST!! It is a maze of slot machines, later on, one of the guards told me there are 3000+ slot machines, 146 table games and 7 pits. I believe it, a far cry from the Stardust, where we can find our way blindfolded...LOL. One thing I noticed about the slots, which I thought was a good idea, and again, maybe they do this everywhere, and I just never noticed, was the fact that they had signs over the area letting you know the denomination. No more searching for nickel slots for me...all I had to do was look up — LOL.

Maybe it was because it was during the week, or maybe it was a fluke, but we saw several $5.00 tables and lots of $10.00’s. We sat down at a $10.00 and told the dealer we wanted to be rated together, the Pit Boss was there immediately, we each gave our licence, and we had our card in no time. They only rate on $25.00 or up, and I guess I am a tag along on hubby’s coat tails. LOL...but thats ok, I play for the fun, the action, to see whats coming off the deck next, not for the comps. We play for a couple of hours, up and down, finally quit, down a few, and went upstairs to catch the last hour of the fountain show. There are two guards by the elevators checking for room keys.

Wow, the maid had done turn down, replaced all the stuff we had used, and had left a beautiful box of Belgium Chocolates on the pillow...darn... I should have scoffed the hairspray...that is good stuff, in a small bottle, perfect for travel...ok, my mission, if I choose to accept it...GET THE HAIRSPRAY-LOL!

She has the music channel on, the lights are low and the drapes open, but the sheers are closed, I see the gleam in my husbands eye...Yeah Baby... he gets to operate the electronic drapes!! - LOL LOL

Hubby does the drape thing, and I settle in to watch the fountains. That fountain show is unreal. I know it is magnificent from the street, but if you ever get the opportunity to see it from the room you will realize the full magnitude of this production. Steve Wynn has spent forty million dollars on this masterpiece and it is a joy to behold. I couldn’t get enough ...it evokes such emotions...wonderment, awe, delight...to name a few...you think you have seen it all, and then another dramatic display occurs. When you are in the room, if you keep the channel on 31, the music becomes louder when the fountains are ready to go off. When Pavarotti sings his melancholy aria, the water surges as he holds a note, when Frank sings, “Luck be a Lady Tonight”, the water shoots into the air, all three fountains light up and the water literally dances and sways in time to the music. Its just incredible, an uplifting feast for the eyes, and the soul. Everyone should experience it from above...at least once...and you don’t have to be in a suite...get a room...with a view...trust me... its worth it.!

At 6:00 am Wednesday morning, the Bellagio is a bustling web of activity, the crews are out shining and polishing everything, waiting for the next onslaught of the “looky loos”. There is a whole team just to clean the glass and buttons on the slots...floors are being washed and rugs are being vacuumed...oops...sorry buddy...was that your cord I was standing on...LOL

I go into the lobby to get another look at the Chihuly, this is the best time to see it, when there is no one around, I sink into one of the couches and just drink it in, it is amazing to me... and I never get tired of looking at it...I’ve heard lots of comments about it...it looks like a big pizza... it’s garish, it looks stupid...what’s the point... etc., but, if you contemplate the work that went into this thing, the time spent lovingly crafting each flower, transporting them here, getting them up on the ceiling with just the correct placement, then that in itself should be applauded...let alone the pleasure it has, and will continue to provide for years to come.

Ok, enough’s enough...LOL...I need some coffee, I had seen a shop out on the pool promenade so that’s where I go next. This little place is called Palio, it’s got a few tables and a stand up coffee bar and the most incredible selection of fresh baked pastries.. They open at 6 and when I get there, there is already a line snaking out the door...they’ve got all the fancy coffee’s, half caf decaffe, latte’s, expresso’s, mocha’s but I am a regular person, and I like regular coffee...LOL... I’m going to go out to the pool and sit and take in the surroundings. Well at least I was going to... until a “red coat” stopped me when I tried to go out the door, “No you can’t go out, the deck is wet, and you might slip.”...”Oh please sir, I’ll be careful sir, I promise sir”... in my best Oliver Twist voice... LOL... but he won’t let me out, and I figure sulking just won’t cut it.....so, I thank him for being concerned about my welfare, and for doing such a good job, and off I go. On the pool concourse there are a few shops, across from Palio is Gelato, an ice cream place...right by the pool....good marketing Steve...LOL... and then the art gallery.

That art gallery is really something...at $12.50, it’s a bit pricey, but well worth it to see such masterpieces. The collection is small--about 2 dozen pictures--but the level of quality is very high: one of the greatest Miros ever, DeKooning's "Police Gazette," a Degas as fine as you'll see anywhere, a classic Monet, Cezanne's wonderful portrait of his housekeeper, two Van Goghs and the newly acquired Seurat landscape study for the Grande Jatte...plus... a new Cezanne still life which just arrived last Thursday. Wynn was in a bidding war for this painting from the Whitney collection, and an anonymous bidder ended up getting it for something like 60 million. I guess whoever it was, had a change of heart, because last Thursday, Wynn sent his private jet to New York to pick it up, AND he says he will NEVER reveal who sold it to him...wow what a Gentleman...gets what he wants and doesn’t brag...LOL! Steve Wynn IS a classy guy, when the Corporation didn’t want to spend any more money on the art collection, he used his own money... (for the Cezanne too). It’s wonderful of him to be so generous, and to share with people, who would never get to see these works otherwise. It is a sad twist of irony, that Steve Wynn has Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease, and unless a cure is found, will no longer be able to see these beautiful paintings he loves so much, and so generously shares with the public. I read somewhere that 40,000 school children go through each year for free, and yes, there was some bill passed that gave art collections a tax break, but the bottom line is, he is a registered art dealer and does not pay taxes on his purchases in the first place, and if he wanted to, he could just keep the collection for the high rollers to see. I know most people are not into art, but if you go, try and see the gallery, it’s a tourist attraction, just like the volcano and the pirate show, only, technology cannot duplicate these paintings, they are priceless. Ok, I’m off my soapbox - LOL!

Back to Palio where I buy 4 coffees and hold up the line trying to decide on 2 pastries, they have so much to choose from... bambolini, the italian donut, filled with pastry cream and dusted with sugar...cinnamon buns, croissants, muffins, cheese danish, scones, biscotti, bagels... AND... the berry medely...strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and the biggest boysenberries I have ever seen in my life... in big soup type bowls, I settle on a bear claw, and a blueberry scone.

Oh boy, I forgot that I have to use the key to operate the elevator, so now I have to put the tray down on the floor and then bend over and dig around in my purse for it, thank god nobody came along, that must have been a sight — LOL

We get back to the Casino about 11:00am and find a great table...the dealer’s name was Mary, and she was just nice, she had been a dealer for 35 years — she had worked for Steve Wynn for 18 of ‘em, and she couldn’t say enough about what a great place this was to work, and how good he is to work for. You know, we heard this from several dealers during the course of our stay... and I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to play with people who really like their job... and the company they work for.

Around two, I’m hungry and we are finally winning a little bit, so I say let’s quit and go eat. She says do you want to see the Pit Boss... like a dunce, I say no...and she says “Yes you do!” So she calls the Pit Boss over and tells her “they want to eat”... just like that...the PB went away and wrote us out a comp for the buffet. I couldn’t believe it...our first comp at the Bellagio...we’re high rollers - LOL

We’re not into buffets, but I have to tell you this buffet is really something. They have EVERYTHING! I was going back and forth, just taking a teeny, tiny little bit of everything to try it. (I have a list if anyone is interested). LOL.. After lunch, we walked out the front and down the walkway along the driveway to take some pictures and to watch the fountain show, and then came back and played. We were at a table with another couple who were staying at Bally’s, and we had so much fun, the guy was a card, he had all of us in stitches, even the dealer was cracking up! They were from Wisconsin, and were big Packers fans...as are we...so it was just like old home week! LOL

We finally went upstairs at 6 to change and came back down at 7:30. I guess we had used up all our luck, ‘cause as soon as we sat down, we started losing. We were playing in the back pit and they have these Monopoly slots that are close to the tables, and noisy...I can’t tell you how irritating it is to constantly hear that “Mr MoneyBags” voice...especially when you’re not the one he is talking to LOL!

We moved a bunch of times, and we just kept losing; double downs, we would get hit with a four, the dealers would never bust, or they would hit 6 cards to a 21...we finally had enough punishment and I asked if we could have a comp for dinner...I thought they would give us Café Bellagio, but they gave us the buffet again, and that was just fine with me — LOL. We went from not liking buffets to loving this one! The only difference between the dinner and lunch seemed to be the addition of the crab legs, so if you aren’t into crab legs, your best bet is the lunch, at $12.50, a real bargain. Listen, make sure you check out the display in the glass case in front of the deserts, it was made by their award winning chef and is made completely from chocolate...it is just incredible...I bet half the people never even notice it. Even at 9:00PM the line was tremendous, so if you can’t get a comp, ask for a line pass, I saw a guy in front of us do this...he walked right up the comp line, and then paid...I don’t blame him...I wouldn’t stand in that kind of line for all the tea in China — LOL

After dinner. we went to the Fontana (Fountain in Italian) Bar, it has a beautiful view of the fountains; they have all these different little bars tucked here and there, with nice cozy seats and no loud music, and yes, it seems crazy to pay for drinks in a casino, but it beats trying to defy Lady Luck.

Back up to the room, more of those delightful Belgium Chocolates in the little Bellagio box with the gold ribbon, AND more hairspray...yippeeeee...

Thursday, we slept in, so I had to hurry and get ready to go downstairs. Hubby’s watching CNBC, and I’m on coffee duty. LOL, Shoot, there’s a big line now, finally, I get the stuff (a still warm cinnamon bun with thick icing, and a stuffed cheese pocket in a flaky crust..take it up to hubby, and then go back downstairs for my morning tour.

Down to the Fred Leighton jewelry store to look in the window, wow, who buys this stuff, better yet, where the heck do you wear something like that...if I ever came walking out with a 40 carat ruby and diamond necklace... everybody I know would be thinking “QVC” LOL

There is an escalator leading downstairs to Prime and Picasso, but it is roped off, so I can’t go down, but I can see there is a patio out front and the ubiquitous guard tells me that the patio is shared by the two. He proudly tells me he has taken his wife to Prime twice “it’s not that expensive,and the food is really good and worth it” ...“not like Sam’s snacks where it costs $8.00 just for a hot dog”...LOL

I look in at the Japanese place...Shintaro, there is an inky black tank behind the bar with yellow and orange surreal jellyfish floating around, they have a sushi and a teppan bar...next, I peer into LeCirque, it is just as pretty as the pictures, the tables look like they are too close together though, and they require a jacket and tie; there are no rules in Vegas...except here...LOL... if I did eat here, this is what I would pick for hubby and I ..lobster salad with truffle dressing $29...Dover sole almandine $39 and the Lamb fillet $39...I guess with drinks you could get out the door for $150...a few hands of blackjack... or a few pulls on the slots...or one roll at the crap table - LOL.

Next is Circo, which is where we will eat this evening, then Jasmine, a beautiful Chinese restaurant, with reasonable pricing, most of the entree’s appear to be around $16...kao pao chicken, sweet and sour pork...etc...a very pretty room, the window seats have the best view of the fountains.

From there I go and look in the windows of the Lobby shops...there is one store that has a collection of Judith Lieber handbags...I don’t think I would spend $5000 for an evening bag but I guess people do...people that are different than you and me...those people don’t read or write trip reports - LOL

Out into the lobby...for a peek at the Chihuly...down into the conservatory...another splendid display. I was here in April and at that time, it was a riot of yellow, material draped from the ceiling, tulips and daffodils everywhere...this time the colors are predominantly reds and purple, gigantic purple and red roses... topiary ladies with parasols...a small pond in the middle of all the flowers...I wish those people would move so I can take a picture - LOL.

Time to go back up to the room...for the first time since we have been there, I finally run into someone at the elevator...it was kind of weird, because we never saw or heard anyone on our floor, and everytime we would go to the elevator...it would be there waiting...like there was a sensor on our door that triggered the elevator to come up when we opened it - LOL...anyway...I push the button and instead of the door opening to go up, as it usually does, I have to wait...a guy comes along and I say “first time I have had to wait for the elevator”...he says “well we’ll have to do something about that”...we get on together and he pushes the “Villa” floor...now I have been wondering about this Villa floor, so I say to him...”what are those Villas?” He proceeds to tell me that they are about 6,000 square feet, not including another 3000 sq. feet which comprises their own patio, lap pool and jacuzzi...he says across from the villas are rooms for “their support staff and security” ...LOL - can you imagine...6,000 square feet??? From the way he spoke, I guess he worked for the hotel, but he wasn’t wearing a red coat...and no...it wasn’t Steve Wynn - LOL

Actually, one of the guards told me that Steve Wynn doesn’t come in to the hotel everyday...but does call first thing every morning and then at least once during the day...the guards know everything - LOL.

We go and play and we are still doing lousy, it’s gotten to the point where it is just no fun, so we decide to go down to the Venetian and check it out.

The Venetian driveway is utter chaos, a hodgepodge of cars, vans and taxi’s all competing for the attention of a valet, the benches are filled with disgruntled looking people waiting for their vehicles to be brought up. I tell the attendant, “don’t bury it, ‘cause we aren’t staying”...he’s on autopilot and says “have a great stay at the Venetian” LOL

As soon as we get inside the doors, I see some little kids sitting on the floor playing, no adults in sight, no guards here...the checkin area is just plain...nothing fancy... and it is not crowded.

You walk down this long, magnificent corridor to get to the casino...the ceiling is absolutely stunning and is well worth the visit. Along the way, I notice some little lounge areas where you can just sit and relax, nice chairs, and a VIP place that is empty, but has food sitting out, like a Ritz Carlton club floor, cheese crackers, fruit, etc. I thought that was nice, but I didn’t like the big picture window, where people like me could just gawk in - LOL.

The casino is HUGE...and it is bustling, there are people playing everywhere. One crap game is particularly loud and raucous...typical craps players - LOL! LOL! Along the outside perimeter are the restaurants and still a lot of areas that aren’t open yet. We take the escalator up to the shops...a pretty nice area...crowded, actually packed with people...so we don’t venture too far in...the sky is the same as the Forum shops...and there are people riding in the gondolas, all in all, very festive...very nice. Mme. Tussard’s has parked Harrison Ford outside and lots of people are getting their picture taken with him, he looks pretty good and I wait for the huggers to move so I can take his picture too. LOL

In the front of Valentino’s restaurant is Piero’s wine bar and you have to pass through this to get into the restaurant. Valentino’s in LA is my favorite restaurant in the whole world, the food and service are spectacular, and I’m sure this one will be equally as good. Piero Selvaggio is a perfectionist and would never allow his good name to be marred by poor food or service.

We leave, and 25 minutes later, the valet shows up with our car...we were not happy campers. Hubby decides to go and get some gas at his favorite Texaco station next to the Golden Steer...actually, I think he just wants an excuse to drive by the Stardust -LOL... we no sooner get on the strip, than he says “What’s this?” and holds up a cell phone! We don’t know if it has been there since we left the Bellagio, or if somebody at the Venetian has lost it. I don’t know anything about these new little phones, but finally, I figure out that it opens in the front...there is a screen with the word “Hoover” and the date and time...I push the redial button, and I get “Pat Clark Chevrolet”...I say “this is going to sound weird...but do you know someone named “Hoover”?”...she says “why?”...I tell her my story and she says his name is “Ryan Hoover” and he is a customer of theirs...I said “where does he work”...I guess she had a short attention span -LOL, because she says “who is this again?”...I tell her my story again and she says he works in valet at the Venetian. When hubby gets back in the car, I reluctantly tell him we have to go back to the Venetian, so we get on the freeway and decide we need to get off at the next exit. Well, I was digging around in my purse for something and not paying attention, cause the next thing I know he’s saying “ I hope I’m going the right way...I don’t know where I am...I’m up HIGH” and I look and were heading for the sky on this big curving overpass - LOL LOL!

We were going the right way and ended up at the Venetian, back into that chaotic mess, I get out of the car, and ask the first guy I see if he knows Ryan Hoover, he sloughs me off and tells me he’s only been there a week and he doesn’t know anybody...the next guy I see has a clipboard, so I tell him my story and he says he is the supervisor “Bret” and he will make sure Ryan gets his phone...he even had the guys stop and move cars so we could get through...without waiting...I sure hope Ryan got his phone - LOL

After that escapade, it was wonderful to get back to the tranquillity of the Bellagio.

I guess the “card gods” decided to reward us for our good deed, because we sat down and got a nice rush...no where close to getting even...but not stuck as bad - LOL

That night we went to Circo for dinner...it’s a fun...whimsical place with red and yellow draped material on the ceiling and funny looking red and white balls around the walls...we had a carpacchio salad, a mozzarella and tomato salad, and the house pizza...artichoke and leek on a very thin crust...absolutely delicious...the view of the fountains was excellent and so was the service.

After dinner, we’re playing and I’m watching this loud...agitated guy play heads up at the next table, all of a sudden he jumps up and says he wants his marker...real quick..the PB comes over and the guy says “gimme my marker”...PB says “we don’t just give back markers we need money first”...guy takes a STACK of hundreds out of his pocket and throws them on the table...they gave him his marker - LOL...I later see this same guy in the host’s office and he is yelling that he wants 4 airline tickets...hmmm.... I wonder how much you have to lose to get free airline tickets? LOL

Back to the room just in time for one last fountain show. We will be leaving in the morning and I am sad...I have to pack up all those clothes I didn’t wear ... LOL...guess what folks...they dress the same here as at the Stardust....the very few children I saw (mainly with Asian and European families) were quiet, and well behaved...the dealers and staff did not cop an attitude, they were always pleasant and charming, and the buffet was excellent with massive quantities of fresh food.

To say I liked the Bellagio would be an understatement. Steve Wynn has said that he set out to build the loveliest, most beautiful hotel in the world...and he did. He’s a smart guy... he built a hotel for women... men...you owe it to your wives to take them there...at least once...guaranteed they won’t complain about your gambling...they will be having too good a time to even notice you are gone - LOL

It was truly an unforgettable experience...thank you for letting me relive it all over again!

Ellen