A Fancy Spot, and Hitting the Slots

Saturday, July 13th.

I awake from a strange dream (about being in the Canadian North with a film crew, for a DSC00617story I don’t remember, in the middle of summer when the sun’s out almost 24 hours a day, which does my head in!) to a very chilled, relaxed morning.

In fact, most of the day is pretty quiet and uneventful. Christine and Jen claim their regular spots at the beach. I don’t join them until well into the afternoon.

Around 7 p.m. we go indoors to make ourselves pretty. Tonight, we’re headed over to the monstrously huge Atlantis resort – specifically, the section called The Cove, where the Bahamian location of Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill is located.

Security calls us a taxi and we’re soon on our way. We get a lovely (and, I think, entertaining) driver, who tells us about his kids – some of whom are in the U.S., doing quite well for themselves, thank you very much.

From what I can understand, he used to run tours, but was let go and has been driving a taxi for the past six years or so.

He talks about everything from his family, to the corruption in his country’s politics, switching between the sacred to the profane in his speech. But he’s been the best driver so far, by far.

DSC00613From the front entrance to The Cove, we walk to the restaurant, just marvelling at the elaborate lobby, with its ponds and little waterfalls on either side.

Mesa Grill is enormous; the southwestern American influence is evident in the decor.

We start off with some crumbly cornbread and a goat cheese “queso fundido” with blue tortilla chips, garnished with red and green bell peppers.

Jen orders a zesty margarita with jalapeño peppers. Christine and I split a bottle of reisling.

For our entrées, Christine gets a ribeye steak, Jen tucks into some mahi-mahi, and I tackle three pork tenderloin medallions.

It’s delicious (if, admittedly, a bit pricey for what we get. But, hey – it’s Bobby Flay at the Atlantis).

DSC00614After dinner, I take a chance on my expanding belly and order my first dessert of the trip – sticky toffee pudding  with tres leches ice cream.

The caramel (which I think had been flavoured with some salt) went so well with the pudding and the ice cream – everything just melted together in my mouth.

After dropping some serious coin on dinner, we thought we’d visit the casino and perhaps win some of it back.

It’s only a five-minute walk from the restaurant. But to get to the casino, we pass through this enormous complex in which the casino’s housed.

DSC00623The place is filled with shops and ornate mouldings. On the floor below us, there’s a fish aquarium that is so humongous, it’s unbelieveable.

The casino itself is massive, loud, and dotted with bars that require a $20 cover to enter. (We take a pass.)

After some hesitation, we decide to try our luck with some of the slot machines closest to the cashiers’ counters. It takes about 10 minutes or so of fiddling before we figure out how it works.

I’m not terribly interested in the nickel slots as – in my limited casino-going experience (translation: that one time at the Caesar’s in Windsor) – these are guaranteed money-snatchers.

We shuffle around from row to row of machines … and then I see them. The “Wheel of Fortune” slot machines. Also remembered from my limited casino-going experience: these made me a tiny sum. But there are bums parked in every available seat. And just a couple of moments later, we hear a couple of small cheers, which I am convinced are coming from that general vicinity.

I am determined to get MY bum into one of those seats before we leave.

We wander around aimlessly a bit more, and stumble upon more “Wheel of Fortune” machines. I stick in a $20 bill and come up empty. I hesitate, then feed another $20 bill into the machine. This time? I cash out with $55. We wander around some more. I hit another slot machine and turn my $55 into $70. I try a nickel slot machine, gaining, then losing, 50 cents.

As we move from machine to machine, we’re hit with cigarette smoke. Having long since adjusted to smoke-free environments, the stench is, obviously, disgusting.

But I’m willing to tolerate it a bit longer, as I double-back to the bank of “Wheel of Fortune” machines from earlier. The seats are being occupied by a young couple who aren’t even playing, and claim they’re saving them for someone else.

Again, we wander around, then circle back to see if they’ve finally taken their backsides elsewhere. Vacant. So I try again, and by the time we leave, I’ve turned my $55 into $300. Good enough for me. I cash out, glad this is a one-time visit. It’s easy to see how flirting with chance can morph into a gambling addiction.

We’re home by 1:30 a.m. and turn in by about 2 a.m., looking forward for a nice, lazy Sunday.

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