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Guest: Las Vegas
What's New in Las Vegas
By Steve and Caroline Lake

he newest hotel in Las Vegas is the Cosmopolitan, with wonderful surprises on each floor. Go to the second floor to get a startling perspective on the chandelier that drapes down to the first floor in gorgeous loops of fine crystal. Restaurants are scattered on different floors and the pool is on the top level.

the original Broadway cast of Memphis performing at the Smith Center for Performing Arts, Las Vegas
The original Broadway cast of Memphis, an award-winning Broadway Show.
Photo courtesy: The Smith Center

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is being built in downtown Las Vegas. Once the facility opens next year, there will be a main theatre that seats 2,050 people as well as a 200 seat studio and a 300 seat cabaret theatre. Tickets are already on sale for the touring companies of Broadway plays that include "The Color Purple," "Mary Poppins," "Million Dollar Quartet" and "Memphis." The Smith Center is scheduled to open March 10, 2012.

Celine Dion is back at Caesars Palace with a spectacular show. Her voice has matured and she sounds better than ever. Her gowns are magnificent. If you were not one of her many fans before, you will be now. She scats ala Ella Fitzgerald and does a touching tribute to Michael Jackson. They were both child stars and good friends. The highlight of the show was when she sang her rendition of "Ne Me Quitte Pas." It was enchanting

ventriloquist Terry Fator performing with one of his puppets at the Mirage, Las Vegas
Terry Fator and one of his many puppets performing on stage at the Mirage.
Photo courtesy: Puppet Box Entertainment

Terry Fator, a winner on "America's Got Talent," brings his amazing gift as a ventriloquist to the Mirage Hotel Theatre. His popularity fills the showroom nightly. With his terrific humor and puppets he imitates famous personalities. Fator sings full throttle without ever moving his lips. This is what won him the million dollar prize on "America's Got Talent" and secured his job at the Mirage. From beginning to end he delivers an unforgettable performance.

Barry Manilow performing at Paris Las Vegas
Barry Manilow performs his greatest hits at Paris Las Vegas.
Photo courtesy of Dana Holland

Barry Manilow, now playing at Paris Las Vegas, opens his show on a totally blacked out stage until an enormous sign saying "Manilow" appears. Then he walks out by himself; a very dramatic opening. He has four backup singers and a ten piece band. This is a very sophisticated show with Barry Manilow doing his stint at the piano performing his greatest hits.

Vegas the Show playing at the Saxe Theatre in Planet Hollywood's Miracle Mile, Las Vegas
Vegas the Show with singers, dancers and sexy showgirls.
Photo courtesy: David Saxe Productions

violinist Itzhak Perlman
Itzhak Perlman on the pre-eminent violinists of the 20th century will perform at UNLV February 11, 2012.
Photo courtesy: UNLV

"Vegas The Show" playing at the Saxe Theatre in Planet Hollywood's Miracle Mile is a tribute to old Las Vegas. A journey back in time when the best performers were revered. "Ernie," played by Eric Jordan Young, is the glue that holds this high energy show together. The sexy showgirls, dancers and singers are joined by Eric in almost every number. He is also the M.C. Each scene changes to the past until you start thinking you are a part of the heyday of the 60s when the Rat Pack performed at the Sands and Louis Prima and Keely Smith played the lounge at the Sahara.

The University of Nevada Las Vegas, about 10 minutes from the Strip, has a powerhouse Performing Arts Center. Renowned throughout the world, the incomparable violinist Itzhak Perlman will appear February 11, 2012. Hal Holbrook as "Mark Twain" will be presented May, 19, 2012. Mr. Holbrook tailors each of his performances to the times and town he is in. His performances are always fresh and new. Having lived in Virginia City, Nevada when it was booming, "Mark Twain" should have plenty to say about Nevada.

Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter
Ingrid Fliter acclaimed Argentinian pianist will perform with the UNLV Symphony Orchestra on November 22, 2011. Photo courtesy: UNLV

Some of the other upcoming shows at UNLV include the Utah Symphony, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, the Houston Ballet and the Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter

Las Vegas offers the most diverse entertainment in the world. Additionally there are many fine restaurants, exotic swimming pools and endless shopping, that persuade visitors to return to Las Vegas time and time again.

Related Articles:
Las Vegas: Still the Only Game in Town; Le Rêve At the Wynn Hotel, Las Vegas

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I enjoy your newsletters -and particularly Patti Nickell's article about the 'Pudding Club' in the Cotswold's. An old friend of mine is taking a holiday there this year and plans to try their Jam Roly Poly and Spotted Dick - amongst many!

--- John & Maggie - UK


The way I read this article, you stayed at the "Breeze and Waves". Do you have any pictures of the cottages, and would you recommend to some first time visitors to Caramoan?

--- Richard Simons, Stockton, CA

Hi Richard,

Breeze and Waves was still under construction when I stayed there in Feb. 2010. It should be finished by now. You can see pictures of the resort on this page. We got to stay in one of the small cottages in the picture. I'll recommend it to budget travelers but you might want to look at other options. We chose it because of its location right by the beach. You can try other resorts in the Caramoan town proper (you have to get a ride to get to the beach and the jump-off point to go island-hopping but it's a relatively short distance). There are also two higher end resorts located on a cove and very near the islands: Gota Village Resort (unfortunately there is something wrong with their website right now) and its twin resort Hunongan Cove. Caramoan is a relatively new tourism development so resorts are just now being built.

You can go to this site for a good list of choices for accommodations in Caramoan.

I should add that it might be good to go to Caramoan (and almost anywhere in the Philippines) during the dry season from December to May. June to November are the typhoon months and sometimes typhoons will still come during early December.


* * * * *

Hi, I'm planning to go to Caramoan this coming May. Would you know the number of Breeze and Waves Cottages? Thanks!

--- Ann, Manila, Philippines

Hi Ann,

Breeze and Waves' phone number is 0908-2911072. Look for Freddie. Hope you have a grand time at Caramoan!



For Nature's Playground: The South Island of New Zealand

Hi Wendy,

In winter, Heritage Heights Apts. now offers free shuttle service to and from Queenstown 24/7 to guests without cars. We own a 7-passenger 4-wd Toyota Highlander used specifically to taxi guests up and down the hill during winter months. We also run advance purchase winter promotions which include a 4-wd rental.

If any of your readers head over this direction, I will enjoy extending Heritage Heights hospitality!!


--- Ailey, Owner, Queenstown, NZ

* * * * *

New Zealand text and pix top drawer! Almost as good as making the trip. ( but one still wants to. . . ) Full of useful detail. Only trouble with the website: It's tough figuring out which feedback goes with which article, and the more there are, the tougher it gets!

--- Ken W., Camarillo CA

Thanks Ken..."álmost" is right, you really have to experience the South Island firsthand. Granted this piece is long, but still all I can think about is how much I left out! I agree abut the relevancy factor re the feedback--it can be confusing...sometimes I have a "Wait a minute...what?" moment myself.

Thanks for writing,


* * * * *

Okay Wendy, from now on whenever you book your travel, please reserve space for me. I will carry your luggage, bring you cold drinks, massage your shoulders, and change the film in your camera (oops, I guess you don't have to do that anymore). Wonderful ideas and recommendations. Can you get to New Zealand from Boston in less than a week?

--- Carl A., South Easton, MA

Ha ha ha Carl, you're quite the comedian! But you'd be surprised how short that flight feels. I suspect Qantas isn't the only airline who's figured out that 3 movies, 2 full meals, lots of snacks and a complimentary travel pack (eye mask, warm socks and neck pillow) equals a quiet, well-behaved cabin. It really isn't bad. Just fly direct--pick the shortest flight w/ no lengthy layovers and you'll be fine. Re: signing on as my Super Sherpa...why not? I think you know I seldom travel in anything less than Party mode. There's just that pesky background check...

Thanks for writing,


For Excellence Riviera Cancun:

Wendy, I truly enjoyed your info especially since we leave in a week to celebrate my 50th Birthday. Was it necessary to make reservations at the restaurants? Was there a dress code for the restaurants? What would you recommend not missing while there? Was the spa experience worth it? Did you travel away from the resort while there? Thanks,

--- Kim P. Fuquay, Varina, NC

Hi Kim.

Sorry for the delay in had heavy competition with the holidays. Reservations at Excellence restaurants are not necessary and you will not find a wait. The dress code is basically no bathing suits and flip-flops...with a decided a mix of atmospheres. Mostly the open-air beachside spots are super casual, the rest slightly more formal. Truly, as long as you are clothed, I don't think you'd be turned away anywhere, though most people seemed to enjoy dressing up at night...I suspect more for their own pleasure than any sense of decorum.

The spa experience was worth it, though my favorite part wasn't the actual massage. The precursor was a 45 min. or so rotation from sauna to a series of (kind of wild) water jets which was very different and very cool, not just for women. In its' entirety, and with the serenity of the beach/champagne/strawberries, it was memorable.

We did not travel away from the hotel this trip, but the hotel is very helpful in arranging day excursions to fit your desires and you do not have to book these until you arrive.

Have a great time!

--- Wendy


I enjoyed Nino's contribution, since we all read about the frightening terrorist attack. Having travelled somewhat through India years ago, I am continually impressed with this country and the gentle spiritual aspects of this nation. Some day I look forward to going back. Nino has encouraged me. Thank you!

--- Yoka Y., Westlake Village, CA


Dear Mr.s/counselors Brown and Koro,

Thank you for a very informed and succinct article on motorcycle accidents and the law. It inspired me to think about getting a motorcycle, but not have an accident. But, if I do I am now well informed with the basics of what to do providing I do not perish in the accident. Any tips about that too?

--- Unnamed

Dear Rush and Chuck,

I wish I had read your article before our camping trip the Friday prior to President's Day.

My wife and I were in a car accident on our way to a camp ground. We were "rear-ended" and the impact caused our car to crash into the car in front of us. The contents of the truck that we were riding scattered onto several lanes. It's a miracle our two dogs decided to stay inside the car. My wife and I were shaken up badly but despite the mess, I was still able to walk out of the car. I got the license plate of the driver in front of me but, to my surprise, after reviewing the little damage on his car, he then sped off. I didn't know you could do that! The driver who hit me from behind gave me his information and then he too left the scene without saying good 'bye. When the police arrived all I had to go by was the little information I had jotted down which I hope was truthful. What if it was bogus? What if I had written the plate number incorrectly? How would that affect my insurance? What if we were unconscious, who would have written down all that information?

I do have one suggestion if you are injured in an accident. The police asked if my wife wanted an ambulance to bring her to the hospital but we declined the offer. I remembered when I rode an ambulance years ago that it was not a comfortable ride. I was strapped to the stretcher and there were all sorts of medical equipment dangling noisily above me. As long as you are able, it is a more relaxful ride inside a car. Besides, isn't there a fee for ambulance service?

--- Dave S. of Pasadena, CA

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