Monday, March 7, 2016

Vegas on the annual

Las Vegas. It's an annual trip at this point. And I always look forward to it because Vegas is just really unique, you know? It's always first and foremost gymnastics related but the trip was a bit different this year. The Black Jack Invitational was held in a different venue in the north end of town...the older, more historic part of downtown Vegas. So we ended up booking a hotel right near Fremont Street. And for the first time ever, we didn't even step foot on The Strip...choosing to spend any down time on or around Fremont Street. And Fremont Street is...well, interesting. I definitely enjoyed exploring this new (to me) area of Vegas and people watching and the cool light shows that play on the ceiling of the street, etc. But who would've guessed that Fremont Street would make The Strip seem classy and high end? (Brandon and Lilian were somewhat scandalized at the clothing choices, or lack of, that some of the showgirls who were out and about taking pictures with people were wearing...or not wearing, I should say.)

And the fact that we were so close to Fremont Street meant that though our hotel was extremely nice, it was also very loud. They actually leave earplugs on your pillow rather than chocolate. The bands playing down below on the street were loud enough that it wasn't just nebulous musical noise...I could tell each song they were singing and hear the lyrics well enough to sing along from in my room up on the 8th floor if I wanted. Luckily (and kind of surprisingly) we were all able to fall asleep easily both nights despite the rock concerts below. Maybe we were just really tired.

One morning we visited the Neon Boneyard...a museum dedicated to showcasing old Vegas casino signs that had been retired. We had a tour guide who took us around and told us where each sign came from and a lot of the history behind not only the signs but what was going on in Vegas during the times the specific signs were in their hey day. I found it completely fascinating. Plus, the signs were amazing!

It was Rebekah's "hump day" on her mission. Nine months down, nine months to go. So when we found this camel sign from the Sahara Casino we knew we had to take a picture and email it to Rebekah.

But gymnastics...that's what we were there for, right? We went to the Winter Cup Saturday night with the rest of the team and watched some seriously awesome gymnastics...including Olympian Sam Mikulak doing the coolest P-Bars routine I think I've ever seen. (He actually won the meet.)

The next morning early we watched Brandon and the rest of his level 9 teammates compete in their Black Jack Invitational. Black Jack is always a fun meet...even if this year it wasn't Brandon's personal best. Watching him always blows my mind...the things that kid can do! And USA Gymnastics World did take 1st place as a team and that was an exciting surprise at this big, national meet.

After the meet a group of us headed to California Pizza Kitchen for lunch...a yearly Vegas tradition, don't ask me why. And then Brandon, Lilian and I began our long drive back. Till next year, Las Vegas!

No comments: