Family US Holiday – Day 1 – Ka!

I was going to wait for the kids to do their diaries but they have been flat out today, so I thought I’d better get this up before it gets way out of date.

This morning (as I previewed on the previous entry), the kids went swimming in the hotel’s pools. They had a blast, so much so that Glenda and I think we’ll join them tomorrow and make a bit of a habit – swim in the morning, other activities in the afternoon and evening.

For lunch we went (quite literally) next door to Dennys. While most people make light of Dennys both Glenda and I quite enjoy going there as the food is reasonably priced and is flavourful and imaginative. There were no arguments and everyone enjoyed what they ordered – a first for our family in quite a while. 🙂

This afternoon we caught the shuttle down to New York New York and wandered around there looking at the immensity of the place. It’s not one of the biggest hotels on the Strip but it’s still impressive, particularly the incredibly high ceilings in the main gaming and surrounding areas.

After that it was over the bridge to MGM Grand where we looked in the Rainforest Cafe before walking the full length of the hotel to find CBS Television City where we hoped to see the pilot of a new show. Along the way we perfectly timed the walk past the Lion Habitat to see them being fed. This mainly consisted of them throwing special lumps of beef and vitamins against the windows of the enclosure right next to us, and allowing them to lick it off. Made for some great photo opportunities but unfortunately the lighting was so low that most of them were lost with this one being the best.

Lion feeding time

When we eventually got to Television City we were told that Ashleigh was too young, which meant that one of us would have to stay outside with her. Then Jacob got cold feet, saying he wasn’t interested in going to see a show that he might not even like so we headed over to Haagen Dazs instead and got some great ice cream. A second course of Orange Chicken put us at the "full for now" mark on the meter, so Jacob and I jetted off looking for a place we’d seen on the map called Yummy’s Desserts. We eventually found it and a whole, huge, other section of MGM Grand that we weren’t aware of including a couple of stores that we decided we needed to come back to after Ka. Then we headed back to pick up the girls.

Jake always loves clowning around when it comes to sweet things 

By the time we found them again – no, I won’t admit to getting lost – it was time for Ka. What an amazing creation Cirque du Soleil is. Every show I’ve seen, either on TV or in person, has been incredible and Ka was certainly not going to be the exception. From the moment you’re greeted at the door to the moment you leave, the people are in character and make you feel immersed in the fantasy world they’ve created.

For Ka, this meant that the whole structure around you, all four sides, was made to evoke the sensation of ship masts and while we waited for the show to start they had various pirate-y looking characters jumping from ledges, swinging from the rafters and running through the crowds (which kinda expectedly freaked Ashleigh out big time). Even when the show finally started, the pirates hung around for a few minutes, yelling out jeering calls to the front.

Eventually it got started. One thing both Glenda and I noticed was that there was less "acts" and more "story". To us this was just fine, because the story was so rich and intricate, and the way the stage was constantly worked to different angles (or even completely gone) made us constantly wonder what would be next, and then be awed by what, in fact, was next. There were some high-air acts as well as an absolutely brilliant giant mouse wheel (what do you call those things?) segment where the guy not only ended up running around the outside of one wheel as another guy kept the momentum up, but also skipped and performed a routine with a rope that had Ashleigh gasping that it was just like a rhythmic gymnastics routine but up high.

The Eskimos – no, they didn’t get to eat those fish 

One of the highlights was also one of the most simple – shadow puppets. At a quiet moment in the show, two of the characters are sitting at the front ledge of the stage pit, one bandaging a wound on the other’s hand. Then they suddenly notice that their hands are casting shadows on the wall from the torch light they have with them. These shadow hands were about 20 feet tall but with incredibly crisp edges. From there they decide to do a shadow puppet show – with intricate rabbits and birds, wolves and dragons. Every one was the most lifelike I’ve seen ever – talking about it would never do it justice.

There were some great characters and costuming too – the sea creatures were brilliant. We saw the turtle and lobster although the crabs were nowhere to be seen – sick perhaps? *sigh* Have I mentioned how I love Cirque?

The trapeze crew – these guys swung from pole to pole and met mid-air for various acrobatic moves.

After Ka, we decided to return to the stores Jacob and I had found earlier. One of them was one of those photo places where they superimpose your head on photos of celebrities and good looking or well built people. However, this one also had the Dance Heads video thing where you get to put your heads on animated figures dancing and singing to popular songs. Jake and I decided to have a go while the girls laughed the whole way through at how funny we looked. The store guy did a hard sell on us and made us do a second song, which turned out to be so good that we ended up getting both. A bit of a "hmmm, I don’t know if I like how I got in this situation" moment but keeping the memory is worth it.

Because we’re dependent on shuttles back to our hotel that run every hour, we had time for one more stop before we called it a night. We decided to go to Yummy’s where we picked up some Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge. I’ve always been fascinated with the way Americans love peanut butter and chocolate while the combination has never really taken off in Australia. I quite like the flavour combination and every trip I make to the US will involve at least one foray into a store to get some. The fudge tastes great. 🙂

From there is was a slow walk back to New York New York and the shuttle back "home".

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3 Responses to Family US Holiday – Day 1 – Ka!

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