Friday, February 11, 2011

Las Vegas on Film: The Bellagio Hotel & Casino

"Ocean's Elven" (2001) (image: Warner Bros.)
The Bellagio hotel and casino is featured in several feature films. One iconic moment was the end of the "Ocean's Eleven" remake where the troupe of partners in crime watch the hotel's iconic fountains. Other films include its destruction in the ultimate disaster flick "2012". The hotel collapses as a plane of survivors jets from Las Vegas while the city crumbles below it. "The Hangover" and "21" are other movies to feature the luxury hotel.

Read the previous post about the fountains of Bellagio.

Stills from the film "2012"; top, a plane of survivors approach the
crumbling Bellagio resort; bottom, a test image of the special effects.
(image: Columbia)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Vegas Wonder of the Fountains of Bellagio

If there was a list of wonders of the Las Vegas strip, the fountains at the Bellagio hotel would be one of them. Going through some photos of Vegas from a 2008 visit, I came across the two pics above of the hotel's lake and fountain. I've learned that the inspiration for the Bellagio's theme is a municipality in Italy of the same name located along on Lake Como.

The Bellagio of Italy is called the "The Pearl of the Lake" and located along the country's northern border with views of the Alps. Lake Como is one of the largest lakes in Italy and one of the deepest in Europe. Long regarded as one of the most beautiful lakes in the country, it is a popular tourist attraction with villas and palaces dotted along it perimeter.

Very few do not pause to view the free show of the choreographed fountain shows set to light and music at the Bellagio hotel which opened in 1998. As soon as the fountain nozzles break the surface the lights illuminating the hotel change color as signs another show is set to begin. The fountains are set in a 9-acre manmade lake that fronts the resort. The $40 million fountains is made of a network of 1,200 nozzles and more than 4,500 lights. The music accompanying the fountain display includes a list of thirty songs. The best to capture the theme of the hotel is "Con Te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye)" performed by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman. The exprerience is a complimentary diversion full of awe and fascination.

Read the next post about the Bellagio hotel in the movies.

Lake Como and the municipality of Bellagio
(above three image credits: The London Plan, Traveljournals.netVillas Holiday Rentals)
More info at Showtimes Mon-Fri 3pm-8pm every half hour; 8pm-12am every fifteen minutes. Sat, Sun & Holidays 12pm-8pm every half hour and 8pm-12am every 15 minutes. Schedules can vary and shows subject to cancellation due to high winds. For more info about the fountain designers and their other creations, visit the WET Design website.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Are You Armed With Peanut Butter?: Surprising Things That Trigger the Airport Security Alarms

(image: Atlanta Herald)
Budget Travel reports that some surprising things can trigger airport security alarms and what to do about it. These items are harmless but they put security officers on high alert.

Aluminum Foil Wrappers
Caught by the metal detector. Manufacturers of gum, candy and cigarettes have made the transition from metallic to paper but hold-outs can single you out at airport checkpoints.
What to do: Empty your pockets of all foil before walking through the metal detector.

Retractable keys
Some can look like small knives in an X-ray image when extended.
What to do: Retract the keys before placing them on the X-ray conveyor belt.

Caught by the metal detector. Metal constitutes the frame of many headbands.
What to do: Send this hair accessory through the X-ray with your carry-on bags.

Snow Globes
The liquid contents of most crystal balls surpass the 3.4-ounce limit and not allowed.
What to do: Pack it carefully in your checked bag.

Aerosol products appears to violate the rules regarding liquids, gels and aerosols. But because these objects are required for medical reasons, they are exempt from restriction.
What to do: To avoid unwanted questioning, inform the officers in advance. It will speed things up if medications are properly labeled.

Jars of Peanut Butter
Caught by screeners. Is it a gel? It can't be a liquid? But if it conforms to the shape of a container like toothpaste, the item will be flagged.
What to do: Check it or make a peanut butter sandwich instead.
(image: Minamoto Kitchoan)
Other objects listed in the report include underwire bras (the article's author says to check it and sport a comfortable model for the flight) and small alcohol bottles. I'm going to add one to this list: Cake. In a recent trip I purchased a small box containing slices of a Japanese cake. It was prepackaged so it was not something that was just bought from the bakery. The security officer scrutinized it short of opening it. But from the squeezing of the box by the officer, I'm surprised it made it out of security undamaged.

The jars of peanut butter would have sounded unusual but when visiting New York I usually bring back a bottle of Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams sold in their shop and select retailers. Available across the mainland USA, it is currently unavailable in my home state of Hawaii.
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