As a big part of my April 2010 Vegas trip, I did quite a bit of walking around on the second day to take some photos with my new camera. During my wanderings and meanderings, I finally made it over to the (somewhat) newly opened CityCenter. I wanted to see if I could truly appreciate the art and the area after the much-hyped and much-anticipated opening early in 2010.
I had been walking through Bellagio taking photographs when I found the signage for the tram to CityCenter located near the back of the Conservatory, so I decided I'd take that route instead of heading back out to the Strip and trying to find my way into CityCenter that way. When I got to the escalator for the tram, I discovered there was also a walkway directly from Bellagio to Vdara (the closest hotel in the CityCenter complex), and I would be able to see more of the area on foot and at my own pace than I would if I took the tram from Bellagio directly over to Aria. The walkway was not very long at all - a couple hundred yards at most, and very non-descript - and I found myself in Vdara shortly thereafter.
I took a couple of photos in the immediate vicinity before I headed out into the sunshine again. I was a bit afraid of getting lost in Vdara and didn’t want to chance it, so I didn't venture too far off the main pathway that led to the bright sunshine. There was a neat bar area near the Vdara exit that I just had to photograph, and I found the strange canoe sculpture everyone has talked about right outside the doors. It wasn’t quite as large as I thought it would be. Maybe it just looks bigger in photographs. Meh.
I followed the walkway to Aria and found that it is, indeed, extremely dark in that casino. It’s far darker than Caesars ever was before they renovated it. I continued my photo tour and marveled at the delicious-looking desserts in the Aria sweet shops, but I decided that all I really wanted to do was head over to Planet Hollywood because I was pretty much dead on my feet after several hours of almost non-stop walking and I had planned on eating there, anyway.
My plan was almost foiled when I got lost in Crystals – I encountered no fewer than five dead ends while I was trying to make my way to the Strip, and I had to re-trace my steps and attempt another route repeatedly. I could see the outside world, dang it! It was so close and yet so far. I finally gave up my attempts to get out via Crystals and headed back to Aria by retracing my steps and following along the outside of the building until I FINALLY reached the Strip. Joy!
I was later informed by my friend Claire that I could've picked up a map of Crystals at the Customer Service desk to help me navigate the shopping area. Not only would it have helped me find my way around and out of the building without getting lost (I'm still not certain of that; it is purely conjecture at this point), it would've also pointed out all the objets d'art that I had missed along the way. Apparently I was more concerned about getting OUT than admiring art.
Will I be back? Maybe I'll be back to Aria to see Viva Elvis, but other than that, I don't know. I really like my "old Vegas" stuff: the bright lights, noisy people, and the glitz and glamour that seem to be slowly disappearing. The beautiful and refined stuff is apparently way over my head, because I either A)just didn't get it, or B)really didn't like it, after all.