Thursday, January 1, 2009

high rolling at mohegan sun

fate is a strange thing, to make a complete understatement. in the case of new year's, em and i originally planned on spending the 30th together going to the mohegan sun since i've never been to a casino, and then parting on the 31st to spend new year's with respective friends. i was to go to vicki's and em to her friend andrea. ironically they both live in relatively the same area outside of hartford, but we ended up taking two separate cars for the occasion.

so, on the afternoon of the 30th, emily and i hop in our two separate cars and head on 95 north towards branford, ct where we planned on having dinner. this was when i remembered how much i hated highways in connecticut. can you guess what will follow that sentence? yes? traffic, duh. what should have taken an hour to drive ended up being three hours, after two manueuvers on and off of the merritt, and back onto 95. finally we reached the (i am not making this up) u.s.s. chowder pot iii, our seafood restaurant of choice. oddly enough, this was when i kind of missed new england. it was like t.g.i. friday's, except all of the decor was nautical instead of random crap thrown up on the walls, and there really was a fisherman sitting at the bar in a moth-ridden old wool sweater, thick beard, wool cap, and swarthy expression. you could tell he had been gutting fish or something earlier that day.

dinner there was excellent and coma-inducing. afterwards we stopped at a liquor store where we purchased the very fancy cook's ™ champagne for $6, and then proceeded up to groton where we were staying at a hilton garden inn for free, thanks to my diamond member status.

after enjoying a complimentary beer, a partial episode of the office, and some time in the hot tub, we finally were ready to head out to the mohegan sun, which included its own exit ramp off the highway purposefully laid out so that visitors could admire the grandeur and glamor of the casino. em had prepped me for this, so i knew what to expect. even so, i was still floored by the number of senior citizens in house slippers punching despondently at the slot machines with expressions of complete morosity. there were several "casinos" within the entire lot, and there was a definite distinction between the one that the young and glamorous and sexy youth gambled in, and the one where your grandmother wins your birthday checks from.

all in all, it was fun to walk around in what felt like a giant amusement park, but it was also so sensorily stimulating that after awhile i felt numb to everything. the crown of the evening was that i was excited to play the penny slots because i felt that i could enjoy the experience of gambling without actually spending much money.

but it is a lie. i still plan on writing to the ceo of the casino and complaining. the penny slots and the 25¢ machines would only accept at a mininum a $5.00 bill, so you couldn't just stick a penny in and play once. you'd have to sit there for ages and keep playing, a hundred times i suppose, without any end in sight. some of the machines even made you put in at least $10.00 to play. who wants to sit there for three hours and pull a lever? and you have to keep playing until all of your money runs out, otherwise you collect your pennies and have nothing to do with them but stick them back in the machine and do it all over again.

they also had these mechanical wolves (you know, because it's native american) that would jerk their heads and tails around if you won pennies back, so that every time you lost more money, you would think "and that's going to pay for another mechanical wolf." excellent. i was also bemused by the paintings of native americans communing with nature on the walls, like they were having a profound moment with the Great Spirit while high rolling at blackjack.

i am being overly critical. em says that it's fun to go if there's a good concert, and then everything else is just a side form of entertainment rather than the main attraction, and i believe her. but i can't help still being miffed that i couldn't play my penny slots.


bx said...

My parents love that chowder pot restaurant, I remember being dragged there a lot as a kid. (I hated seafood). I spent a couple of days at Las Vegas this summer, and I totally get you on the whole sensory overload thing. I had to walk though a casino to get to my hotel room!

Agatha Wells said...

omg, that would be such a stressful experience for me...walking through a casino to get to the place where i could relax...oh my!

it's not just for the classroom!