After such a huge day yesterday, I guess it shouldn’t be a real surprise to find us starting the day around 11am. Even the kids slept in, although Jacob said later that he’d woken around six but because Ashleigh was still asleep he decided to keep on sleeping. Regardless of that though, we were heading out again – this time for shopping and not shows (yes, a different way of spending money).
The last time I came to Vegas, I made the "stroll" from The Venetian (where I was staying) to the Fashion Show Mall which is a shopping mall similar in style to Westfields and has this massive floating surfboard-like structure out the front. Serves absolutely no purpose other than to say "we could do it, so we did".
The heat has been getting to us a bit (over 40 every day), so even the short walk from Treasure Island across the road to the mall was causing the girls to melt down into puddles of sweat, skin and bone, so our intention was to head directly to the food court and grab cold drinks all round. As usually is the case when I’m involved, this didn’t quite happen.
Instead the entrance we went in had a Half-Tix place that allows you to get tickets for shows – usually for "today" only – for half price. One show the kids were interested in but we hadn’t bought tickets for was Popovich Comedy Pet Theater. Half-Tix happened to have tickets for tomorrow’s show on sale and the show was in the afternoon so we would have plenty of time before "O" so we decided to go for it. While we were there, the saleswoman talked me into buying discounted dinner tickets for Pampas, a Brazilian Steakhouse in Planet Hollywood (where the Popovich show was going to be).
Then, as Ashleigh would say, finally we went to the food court and grabbed some lunch. We then headed to the other end of the mall and the two stores I really wanted to go to – Build-A-Bear Workshop and EB Games – er… I mean, Game Stop. I saw Build-A-Bear last time and I knew that Ashleigh would love it.
In the end, she settled on a pink princess kitten which says I love you, and is clothed in a little white shirt sequined with ANGEL, a denim skirt, little black high-heel ballet shoes, a pink bolero jacket and a little handbag to finish it off. Her name is Angel and she’s been Ashleigh’s constant companion ever since she walked out the store with us (of course, Smoov Renee is still there too).
Ashleigh’s new friend, Angel
Next stop was EB… Game Stop… Jacob was just as impressed with this store as Ashleigh was with the bear shop, going from section to section and exclaiming every time he saw something new. In the end, we walked out with a half dozen new DS games and a single PSP game that appealed to both of us. We’re also planning on buying a PS3 this trip, so don’t want to go completely overboard but when new release games are $20-30US which translates to half the price in Australia even with sales tax, it’s hard to resist buying a few. Frustratingly, both the Wii and the Xbox 360 are region-locked so seeing games such as Blue Dragon and Boogie out here but out of reach is one of those "grrr" moments.
From there we zig-zagged across the way to Payless Shoes where we found a great range of shoes even though the sales person told Glenda that if kids went to school wearing Payless Shoes they would be teased. We came away with six pairs of shoes for around $100 – Glenda and I are very happy with our new shoes. 🙂
Another zag over to Borders Express and even though it was an Express which meant the range was quite minimal, I was still walking out with six books (hmm… six seems to be the common number) for under $50. This is another area I am constantly frustrated over in Australia – new release paperbacks are sold for $22-25 in Oz, and $6-7US here. Even with tax and converted back to Aussie dollars, it’s still a half-price ball park. For someone who is a reader this represents a huge saving or cost, depending on how you look at it.
One last zig, this time downstairs to the No Fear shop. I’ve found these a few times while visiting the US but each time I’ve been frustrated with the direction of their designs. Today was no exception – they’ve evolved into a bikie/gang feel featuring lots of skulls and scantily clad women, and their slogans are aimed at that kind of market too. Remember when their slogans were cool? Stuff like "he who dies with the most toys still dies" and "it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you" and so on. I bought heaps of those when they were available. This time I had to resign myself to the fact that I would never see those kinds again and bought a couple of shirts with just the No Fear logo.
Last stop for today was to head over to The Venetian for dinner and a look at the indoor canals. We ate at Grand Lux Cafe, which is operated by The Cheesecake Factory, one of my favourite places to eat in the US. We didn’t end up getting cheesecake but the food was really good and it was nice to sit down in comfy chairs for a while.
We then headed over to the Grand Canal Shoppes and walked around looking at the faux architecture everywhere that was designed to put you in the fantasy world of Venice.
The kids in front of the canal
One of the shops we found was one of the many magic shops around the strip. The guy we spoke to gave us a great demonstration and Jacob walked out with a cool card trick that he’s keen to try on everyone at home (no, I’m not going to give away the secret).
Jacob took this one – not bad even without any correction
The last part of today’s outing was to do a gondola ride throughout the complex. We were serenaded by our female gondolier who had a really beautiful voice. It’s amazing to realise just how many good quality entertainers are scattered around this city. The gondola was cool, although Jacob was a bit worried about us tipping over, a feeling not helped by the fact that we were asked to put seatbelts on.
Still, he managed to take a good photo of Glenda and I (and Angel for some reason).
A nice shot of the kids with the Venetian facade in the background
We’d promised the kids at dinner that when we got home we could go for a night swim. By the time we hit home – around 10pm, Glenda was, quite simply, dead on her feet, but because I believe in carrying through with a promise unless absolutely unable to do it, I donned swimmers and joined the kids in the pool. The temperature was still in the high 20s (maybe even low 30s but who can tell here!), and the water wasn’t cold in the slightest – just a cool refreshment as I’d hoped. We swam and waded around for a while, while Glenda soothed her feet by soaking them in the water. I love night swimming! Then back to the room and straight to bed.