Wednesday 10 August 2011

A glass act

Two connections today: at the MGM hotel (yes, another site inspection) they have a Dale Chihuly hallway lined with big pieces of his work, which also features in the lobby. I first came across him in Washington state and especially in Tacoma - and thought I had already seen some of his distinctive twirly tubes at the Galaxy earlier today (why yes, since you ask, that was a hotel inspection too). Lovely stuff, and classy, which was the aim - where all the other hotels have had us walking on (spit) marble, at the MGM the floors were jade and lapis lazuli. It's the kind of place where they employ leaf-dusters.

At the two hotels we drifted through scented corridors where it was all about hush and Zen, every detail considered - at Galaxy's associated Banyan Tree, the swirls of little bubbles in the coloured concrete panels of the walls were each applied by hand - and in the suite that was bigger than many houses, if it was Tuesday it was Ylang Ylang. Galaxy had a wave pool with a white sand beach on its second floor. MGM had a Portuguese square recreated indoors, with bored little budgies in tiny cages hanging from pergolas.

But then we got to see some proper sights: wine museum where we tasted white port, an aperitif; a Grand Prix museum where we got to sit in a real Formula 3 car (those things are like coffins - and hopelessly insubstantial); and a science museum where they had a display of da Vinci machines which included the cryptex that Dan Brown claimed he had invented, wrongly - but the da Vinci people were forced to include it by popular demand, and it's the most popular item. How sad, when there's all that other amazing stuff there that he actually invented.

And then we went to see the pandas, so I could be all "Oh, I've touched a panda before, in Adelaide, look at the close-up photo on my phone here, I can tell you all about them, what do you want to know?" I make a lot of friends that way. The two here were in the same enclosure, and moving around, which was lovely and a treat - "They do spend most of the day asleep in a ball," I informed everyone beforehand - but we were whisked away after a scant 10 minutes, which was mean.

Finally we had some free time and, having been shown the hotel's Six Senses Spa where it was all trickling water, perfume, open spaces, orchids and bamboo, I went to a dark little dive off the street where armchairs draped in towels were jammed in and Chinese men with no trousers were lolling back having their feet rubbed while they smoked and watched Brazil beat Panama in the football. I had a rather painful foot massage from a fat woman who tutted over the hard skin on my toes and simpered "Tip? Tip?" when I paid her.

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