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World's entertainment capital very 'China' for Chinese new year

By George Bao (Xinhua)

12:57, February 09, 2013

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Las Vegas, know as the entertainment capital of the world, is very "China" as the city prepares for the Chinese New Year.

The Chinese New Year festival atmosphere was palpable as visitors drove and walked along the famous Las Vegas Blvd. where they could see a huge electronic billboard with the Chinese character showing "Gong Xi Fa Cai," which means "May you be happy and prosperous!" and another billboard which says in Chinese: "Happy Chinese New Year!"

At Bellagio, one of the top hotels in the city, the reception desk is decorated with red Chinese New Year scrolls, red lanterns and firecrackers. If not for the American receptionists, visitors would wonder whether they were in a hotel in China.

Upon entering the conservatory, visitors are greeted by an 18-feet-tall Chinese money tree, which symbolizes prosperity, good fortune and nobility.

But what attracts visitors most is a 9-feet King Cobra snake covered in 5,000 blue and yellow luminescent scales. The snake, perched atop a mound of gold coins, is believed to protect wealth and good fortune through the year as Chinese are welcoming the arrival of the Year of Snake.

Nearby, a waterfall gushes over Taihu rocks. The waterfall is believed to encourage the circulation of chi, or natural energy.

The shops nearby have also shown some features of Chinese culture. The shop selling Omega watches has a display of snake on its window to wish customers a Happy Chinese New Year.

The Jasmine Cantonese Cuisine has fortune trees on its entrance and New Year scrolls on both sides.

Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing is world known, but Bellagio has set up a simliar guesthouse to provide the most expensive and exclusive feast for the Chinese New Year in Las Vegas.

The eight-course meal in the Bellagio's Tuscany Kitchen is 500 dollars per person, and the once-in-a-lifetime experience is available for only three days.

With only nine tables, a small number of privileged guests there will be treated like a world leader and head of state. Executive chef Hao Baoli, who has led the culinary team for 30 years in China, is flying to the city to ensure that the reputation of the prestigious State House is upheld with the finest standards.

This will be only the second time in history that the Chinese chefs have traveled to America for such a culinary event.

Bellagio President Randy Morton, who hosts the Chinese culinary creme de la creme, told the press: "Food is an integral symbol of togetherness during the Chinese New Year. Joining two of the highest standards in hospitality is an honor and will make for a very special occasion."

At the Palazzo hotel, there is a unique Chinese New Year creation towering 40 feet high. It took 10 months to design, build, deliver and install.

To celebrate the Year of the Snake, the art creation includes a giant peach tree and snake produced by 77 worldwide artists from as far away as the Czech Republic. The tree is adorned with 8,800 blossom vines bearing 193,000 flowers.

The purple colored snake measures 98 feet in length, and the tree stands 38 feet tall. Additionally, there are 28 custom dancing lanterns in the display.

A ceremonial dragon dance and eye painting ceremony will officially kick off Chinese New Year on Saturday. The dragon dance will wind through The Venetian and Palazzo hotels with firecrackers, dancers and drummers in authentic costumes before winding up at the Palazzo waterfall and atrium gardens.

At the nearby Wynn hotel, the Chinese New Year display shows a dragon and a golden snake to send away the Year of Dragon and welcome the Year of Snake.

The Chinese New Year celebration has provided a good opportunity for Americans and visitors from all over the world to know more about the Chinese culture and its customs.

Las Vegas is one of the most popular places in the United States of America. This city is famous for its shopping, fine dining, casino resorts and associated entertainment.

Asians and Asian-Americans are an important and growing demographic in Las Vegas, in terms of both residential population and tourism. More than 6 percent of the 589,000 people who live in Las Vegas are Asian, according to the U.S. Census estimates.

About 3 percent of the city's 39 million annual visitors - over a million people a year - are Asian or Asian-American, according to the 2011 Las Vegas Visitor Profile Study.

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