Almost Christmas – yea! I like this time of year, people seem to be more pleasant in stores, not as many complaints or nastiness and a lot of happy music playing in the stores. Unfortunately some stores have been repeating the same music since early September so I’m about done in on the Little Drummer Boy, but only a week more and we’ll be back to old Moody Blues on the Musak. Here in town all of the casinos have holiday displays – some more than others, and quite a few Chanukah menorahs around as well. I’m trying to get photos of the bigger ones, have to post soon.
Most casinos do more fancy stuff for Chinese New Year than Christmas, as that holiday brings over more big money gamblers than the December holidays, which are more family oriented. The only event during December that brings in the crowds is the National Finals Rodeo and associated Cowboy Christmas events. There have been a lot of fancy boots and big hats around town the past few weeks, but that’s over and all the horses have gone home.
We did have quite a crowd in town just for the marathon, but not as large a gambling partying group as the cowboys. Our Rock and Roll Marathon was run on Sunday December 2nd this year, it started in late afternoon into the dark early evening, with runners getting to go up and down Las Vegas Boulevard past all of the fancy resorts and enjoy the lights. As usual, this event is more of a big party than a dedicated sporting exercise. There were professional runners going after prize money and reputation, but most participants were here to have fun, enjoy the sights and the bands, and have a good time. There were quite a lot of runners dressed as Elvis – for some reason he is more popular now than when he was alive, with quite a few other costumes, superheros and appearances as well. We had a run through wedding chapel where thirty couples were married during the race. Over 7,000 runners did the full marathon and more than 25,000 doing the half. Winning time was a runner from Kenya with a time of 2:32, a lot faster than I could ever do it. A few years ago the course was different, mainly running through neighborhoods instead of the current commercial areas, and starting early in the morning. It passed closed to our house, and we would walk down the street to cheer people on and help out at the water stations. If you are a runner consider coming out next year and joining in.
We’ve spent a few Christmas Eves staying in the fancy hotels. Occupancy rates for that night are usually under 20%, so the rates are pretty cheap. You can get quite a fancy suite for under $100, which raises up to around $1000 the next week for New Years Eve. NYE is usually sold out way in advance, with the Strip closed down for a giant party and fireworks from most casino rooftops. That night we stay home.