Belated New Year celebrations

I am sorry, I guess my mind was somewhere else, that I didn’t describe our New Year’s celebration in St. George. First of all – we do it every year. Since we figured out that it is so much fun. Maybe it was the fourth year we participated in the First Night – that’s how they call it. I consider it to be an incorrect name – because the celebrations go from 7 pm on the 31st of December till 12 am. Which makes it the Last Night. But maybe it would sound too gloomy, like “the last night of your life” :-), almost reminds Halloween, so they named it optimistically.

No pictures from St. George, sorry. It was dark already, lots of trees diligently wrapped with red and blue lights and several very tall pine trees all decorated with colorful lights to the very tops. I bet they did a lot of work there. The celebrations were held in the Ancestor square – newly arranged square in the place where old library was demolished. There were stages with rock music going, vintage car show, painted kokopellies and food booths, but the main thing for us was in the Arts center – they were showing short movies non-stop from 7 pm till 11:45 pm. The movies that had won prizes in Red Rock Film festival. On the top floor of that building there is a fantastic newly remodeled hall for dancing. With a small orchestra playing swings and foxtrots. So our evening looked like this: first figuring out what where the movies worth watching and then running up and down the building – to see some movies, to dance, then again to watch, etc. The only time we sneaked out of the building during the evening – was when we literally ran to a school on the other side of the square to watch a magic show by Max the local Magician. Which was entertaining and good. The room was over packed, everyone laughed and happy so that that the good mood spread around. I think people who live around could even feel it. Why not to be happy – no traffic jams, no problems to park the car, all the events going on close around, just relax, consume and enjoy.

At 12 am people gathered from dances, movies and shows and saw a 15 min firework show which was fantastic! I mean fantastic for a small city like St. George, because maybe a good 10 years ago I happened to see the Independence Day fireworks in Washington DC – they were similarly good. And that is it – no more activities, you just find your car and head home. Oh, one more detail – no alcohol in this celebration, it is run by Mormons. Who else would desire to sacrifice their New Year’s night and volunteer…except for the saints. Therefore I doubt other cities with non Mormon population can have such a First Night. And the last detail – all this costs $5 a person, totally, food not included. Except for some cookies with hot chocolate in the dance hall. They were included :-).

Meanwhile we managed to visit Bellagio in Las Vegas and here is what they had for Christmas and for the Chinese New Year which started on January 24th:

Those snowmen are all made of white carnations. They smelled good!

Based on the Chinese calendar this is the Brown Cow year. Some call it Ox year. Whatever – but this bull is standing on a platform covered with real mandarin oranges…

My mom came to visit us, so here we are after we picked her from the airport.

With another version of cow in the background…

This is how she enjoyed the fountain show by Bellagio. They start at 3 pm, so we had to wait for some time and then they start it with American Anthem. Another song follows after – it means we were lucky – we got two shows! for the price of one (the price was our waiting time).

And that is it from Las Vegas.

Happy New Year, Happy Brown Cow year!

Floral Expo in Bellagio, Las Vegas

We don’t go to Las Vegas very often (it is 2.5h from us). Maybe twice a year. And only once to see some shows and wander around. But either that or on the way to the airport we always visit the Bellagio Floral exposition. I agree, Bellagio has the most beautiful singing fountain show every 15 minutes. But for me – nothing beats the Flower show. I read in their flyer that they change the flowers and themes 7 times a year but never had a chance to check it for myself. We somehow happen to see the fall decorations almost every year and I have to say that they are very different each time. They may have some big pumpkins and mums and watermill, but there are always different creatures covered with natural things like moss or flower petals, and they also have some featured trees, which are usually exotic in one sense or another. This time they were singing and raining trees:

And some trees-faces, as if they were taken from fairy tales. One of them even moved his eyes and opened his mouth to say something. If only have I had an opportunity to see such a live tree when I was a child – that would have been a huge impression…

The other tree-face was not moving but still very cute:

And as usual some humongous pumpkins:

And here are some “creatures” as I call them -maybe some grasshopper or other kind of bugs:

To get to that expo you just follow through the big entrance hall to the very end. The hall has the outstanding Chihulli glass flower ceilings:

It is a matter of taste, I prefer live flowers…

And then there is Las Vegas, with its Blue Man Group and other decorations:

This time we visited Dr. Scott’s hypnosis show in Riviera – it was really fun I didn’t expect. Those several people (not all of all the volunteers) were so well hypnotized that they talked and behaved rather funny, we laughed out bellies off! The other show was a show I never heard before: Raw Talent Live -Fuego. I liked the word Fuego, but the first part of the name is not enticing therefore not good in my opinion. If it wasn’t for pre-shows on the TV screens by ticket offices – I wouldn’t have chosen it. It was kind of a musical with some contents about a laptop how it gets into the hands of Evil then Good forces and how they learn about the world cultures and problems from the laptop and realize what happiness truly is. The singers were good, the dancers were especially good, and the clothes were fantastic. Lots of Latino rhythms. The decorations were mainly projected with lights onto transparent screens, very creatively, and on the whole it was quite a show in big speed. I liked it a lot with the exception of the last dance. The last dance was about becoming regular again and dancing the dance of happiness, which didn’t feel. The clothes were too simple, the music too loud and noisy… But everything else was really worth seeing and I highly recommend to everyone. They don’t let you take pictures on the show, so no illustrations, sorry :-).

Bellagio in Las Vegas

Well, there is a Bellagio in Italy, so I had to specify. I like it. Not the hotel for I haven’t stayed there, but the greenhouse or orangerie – where they always have the most beautiful flower displays themed by the time of the year. Here is last year’s (2007) Christmas display:



The only positive outcome of my late arrival from Lithuania this year (the flight was stopped in Denver for 4 hours because of crazy reasons) was that at 5 am Utah time there is noone in Bellagio “decorated hall”. So we could fully enjoy the Chinese New year theme. Usually the crowds are very dense, it is hard to take a proper picture.


And it is Rat’s year!


This rat is grown as a topiary of some special moss. They try to make most of the decorations of natural resourses.


Those are real rocks, I have no idea where they brought them from, but they look like a small replica of those famous mountains in China. A variety of orchids are blooming from crevices.