Christmas Vacation…Vegas Style (Day 3)

“Christmas 2010…ruined!” I cried.

I was a touch pouty about someone (not me) being wrong in his declaration that there would be no trouble getting tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s “O” at the Bellagio the morning of the show. Even if that morning is the morning of Christmas Eve. In my defense, it was after 10 a.m. (stayed up late, slept in late) and I hadn’t had coffee yet. Or food. Thus the drama.

The very nice ticket agent told me they had a few single seats available. Not sit together? At “O”? At almost $200 a pop? On Christmas Eve? I think not, thanks. We should have known better…Vegas was a dead zone on Wednesday evening, but it was getting busier by the hour as the holiday approached.

We hotfooted it out of the Bellagio and headed for City Center while we tried to come up with a Plan B to save Christmas. Once we had delicious but freakishly expensive cups of coffee in our hands, we had two ideas.

One, I would force Jeff to take me to see “Black Swan.” (When you hardly ever see movies in theaters, seeing one in Vegas is not as strange as you might think…we saw “Bourne Ultimatum” in Vegas a few years ago, and that ROCKED!)

Two, we would see one of the other Cirque shows (there’s what, like 5 trillion to choose from now). We headed to a Half Price Tickets outpost and found tickets for “Zumanity,” the other Cirque show that I have wanted to see forever. We paid for our vouchers and zipped across the strip to New York, New York to trade them for real tickets. We got awesome seats!

“Christmas 2010…saved!”

Elated and caffeinated, we were ready to gamble! We trotted further down the strip to Excalibur, where I would never sleep in a million years but where I am happy to gamble, especially during the day. We hit the craps table, and I crapped out on the second roll (what happened to beginners luck), but Jeff got on about a 10-minute roll and we walked away with a nice return on our investment. We hit a $5 blackjack table and did even better. Whoo-hoo. Worked up an appetite, too.

We had 10 p.m. dinner reservations, so a late lunch was called for. We’d snacked on fruit and a granola bar earlier, sticking to our 2-meals-a-day Vegas standard. We decided to try the brunch buffet at Aria, and while it wasn’t spectacular, I wasn’t disappointed. First of all, the interior was nice and light and sophisticated, with huge windows. To sweeten the deal, they had fantastic coffee…

…and good champagne.

I started with a huge green salad with a little cheese and some sushi rolls, fresh fruit, and a yogurt parfait. Color me happy.

I went back for more fruit and took some Eggs Benedict and an apple crepe, which I only sampled…because I was getting full and the desserts looked really good.

Jeff and I grabbed four to share. As good as they were, I couldn’t eat much because I was stuffed. But stuffed full of fruit and veg (and…cough…champagne), which doesn’t feel anything like being stuffed full of heavy, calorie-dense food. It made me want to take a nice, brisk walk. So I dragged Jeff all the way down the strip to the Fashion Show Mall. We had to hustle, too, if we were going to have time to browse a bit before walking back to Bally’s to get ready for the evening.

Speaking of Bally’s, this was the scene in the elevator:

Woman 1: “I haven’t walked this far in four years.”

Woman 2: “It’s a good thing I brought my blood pressure medication with me.”

[Exit elevator]

Me (to Jeff): “Gee, I haven’t walked this far in a week….and this is why we DO walk, so we won’t be on vacation talking about blood pressure medication.”

Zumanity was amazing. Amazing! Afterwards, we had plenty of time to walk back to Paris for our dinner reservations at Mon Ami Gabi (again, I’m speedy in heels). Had a little time to kill, so we lost some money at video poker and enjoyed some indoor scenery:

Then dinner. We weren’t starving, so we split a steak and frites, along with a Caesar salad and a slew of veggie sides: Green beans, pureed cauliflower and spinach with garlic.

A glass of Bordeaux for Jeff, Cotes du Rhone for me.

We shared a chocolate mousse (whoops, no photo!) lingering, until poof, it was Christmas! Christmas in Vegas! Such a pretty place to be. I’ll leave you with Exhibit A: