We really didn't know which hotel would be the best place to park. We just knew we wanted to be at a hotel with a monorail stop. Being that we know The Flamingo we chose to make that our starting point. It also allowed us to see the completed renovations that they were in the midst of when we stayed there a year ago this past October for our daughter's wedding. We could have done without seeing it being that the renovation was simply to add another restaurant.
Although there are many amazing hotels, I knew I wanted to see Grand Canal at The Venetian. We bought our day tickets for the monorail and rode one stop north to Harrah's. When we arrived and managed to walk through the casino to Las Vegas Boulevard, our thought was that we could've walked faster, but the trade off was that we were out of the cold and wind. The distance walked through Harrah's did nothing to save my feet and Rob's knee and hip, though.
We finally arrived at The Venetian and wandered inside to find ourselves at the beginning of a long avenue of shops. We craned our necks to study the frescoed ceilings and promptly descended a floor so I could photograph one particularly large piece that could barely fit in the frame even from the lower vantage point. We ascended again and began our walk along the avenue. I kept searching for the beginning of the interior canal, not looking too intently at the shops when Rob said, "Hey, look, a photography gallery." My head swiveled quickly and there, to my utter amazement as I had no clue whatsoever that this place existed, was the gallery of my most favorite photographer, Peter Lik. His landscapes are, to me, the most beautiful and I aspire to produce work that can even remotely compare. We entered. With my mouth agape and after several gasps, a salesman approached us. He was very kind and spent quite a bit of time discussing where certain photos were taken, the type of paper on which they were printed and the printer that was used. Rob and I both thought the photographs were on transparencies and back lit but, no, that wasn't the case. It had to do with the paper and printer, of which we hastily made a note for future reference. I pointed to the photograph that had originally caught my notice some time back and the salesman said, no, that that wasn't the one as it had only come out a few months ago. He brought over a book and showed me the print of the one he was sure I meant. It was, but both were of the same tree. I'm sure they were taken the same day. I will go there, come hell or high water, and try to replicate the shot as part of my photography education. The Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. Its now on the bucket list.
On we went to follow the canal, have some lunch, and absorb the sights and ambiance of the place. The rest was somewhat anticlimactic after Peter Lik's gallery. We wandered into The Palazzo by happenstance as it is connected to The Venetian. We found they had decorated for the Chinese New Year. It was lovely. By then we were ready to move on, however, and after making a wrong turn, finally made our way out to where we first entered. Rob needed to sit to rest his hip and knee but there were no chairs or benches. Outside, and mostly out of the wind, were some steps. Some folks had the same thought, apparently, and were sitting there. Rob said something about this being the place for old guys to rest and the fellow sitting there heartily agreed. We sat next to them and began to chat. It turns out that these folks are from Gridley, California. My grandmother grew up in Gridley. My great grandfather and grandmother Panecaldo's house (forgive me if I've misspelled), is part of the historic register. They recognized the name and as I was trying to remember the street on which the house is located, one of the women said 'Hazel." Yes, that is it! 360 Hazel Street. Why I remember the street number I don't know, but they also knew the name of the present owner, whom Rob and I met several years ago after stopping and knocking on the door, as well as the unique turn-of-the-century fountain still in the front yard.
If I had caved to my initial whim to cancel our day trip into Las Vegas, or had left it to another day, this meeting would never had taken place. I may have still seen the Peter Lik Gallery, but neither may I have had the pleasure of that particular salesman's generosity of time and information, nor the chance meeting of strangers from a place in my family's history that is near and dear to my heart. Nothing is ever coincidental. If only my dad were still alive to tell of this serendipitous occasion.
|The impressive frescoed ceiling.|
|Outside the Peter Lik Gallery.|
|Rob getting fresh with a living statue.|
|On the Grand Canal.|
|The look of Venice.|
|Celebrating the Chinese New Year at The Palazzo|