Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Bellagio's idea of a botanical garden is nothing like one would expect. Its themed, and though they advertise 7,000 plants and trees, they may only have about 50 different varieties. Not that it matters, the beauty of this garden is because of its themed "props", which, by the way, change over the seasons and years. You enter facing this colossal Chinese emperor or Mandarin surrounded by the gardens and the sails of a Chinese junk in the background.
 It has much of what you would see in an imperial garden and many themed items you wouldn't see in a Chinese garden, such as these wonderful bunnies cavorting around under the giant mother bunny actually alive with plant life.
 The Chinese Junk sits in a koi pond.
Shallow water allows you to gaze with fascination at the colorful fish swimming in view.
In china, gardens like these were built for the wealthy with much consideration for balance and beauty and longevity. Women, with their bound feet, were often confined from the rest of the world and only had their gardens to walk in and enjoy. Thus the views were varied as much as possible.
The props included some credible likenesses of the famous clay soldiers discovered in modern times. When I visited China I learned that each clay soldier was modeled after a living man, thus all the faces are different. An incredible, wondrous feat. When in Vegas, don't miss the Bellagio.
The lobby and entrance to the hotel continues the Chinese theme. Behind the check-in counter are these larger than life "boys".
Central to the lobby stands a glittering, mirror tiled Chinese horse under a spectacular Dale Chihuly art glass, lighted dome ceiling.
We sat in an opulent lounge, and enjoyed a drink while waiting for the Bellagio water fountain display to start outside of the hotel entrance. The entrance has two Chinese lions.

When in China I learned that the now famous pug faced lions were drawn and sculpted by Chinese artists from a description brought to China by explorers. They had no idea what a real lion looked like. They incorporated the fierce beast into their own culture though there are no lions native to China.
A lovely lake in front of the hotel entrance gives a beautiful view of the surrounding casinos. The water begins, to music, with lights, in gentle spurts.
Soon a fusillade of water commands the view...
reaching incredible heights.
Then it whimpers away, making its own rainbow in the afternoon light. Its worth seeing in the daylight and, again, at night with the lights. Such beauty.

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