As promised, my account of my recent visit to the Tulalip Resort Casino:
We walk in the hotel entrance, and are stunned – from the impressive totems, to the flush-mounted fireplaces bordered by waterfalls, to the predominant red and black themed modern-yet-comfortable furniture, trees tucked here and there (fake and real – I touched and sniffed), the airy high ceilings, Native American artwork tastefully displayed – the décor was beautiful! We snuck a peak into the pool area where there is a life-sized eagle’s nest presiding over the rocky-landscaped atrium. Very cool.
Next we wander into the casino area, where we first encounter row upon row of brightly blinking noisy slot machines. Slotaleuah! (Not a made-up Lori-word, as you no doubt thought, but one I saw on one of the overhead video displays.) The sound was truly disorienting, like when the orchestra pit is warming up for a concert, each instrument tuning up independently, and you get that same excited feeling, only it doesn’t go away because the noise is continuous, and loud, each machine blipping and blooping and chiming, and I start feeling kind of scared because it feels like being over-anxious and panicky, so I grab Joe’s hand and hang on like a little kid in a Costco. (Or maybe the kids do okay in Costco, and it’s just me who does this. Those beeping truck things in there freak me out.) It’s kind of like an over-21 Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory without the candy. I keep looking around for the head guy; Oz, or Willy.
Smokers in public! I guess it’s been a while, because first the smell hits us, then we get visual confirmation. They do have decent, noticeable ventilation, with blasts of air coming up from circular vents in the floor, prompting me to walk in a meandering line following the wild erratic pattern of the colorful carpeting to avoid skirt blow-out. I’m no Marilyn. There are ashtrays all over which brought back memories from childhood when one of my household chores was to clean out and wash the ashtrays, filled with the remains of my father’s Pall Mall’s. Let’s all have a big ole heebie-jeebie shudder together, shall we?
The heart of the casino is like entering an underwater grotto, all blues and greens, shadows and fish, and I want to lie on the circular bar and be part of it. In fact I spend most of my time in the casino area with my chin in the air, mouth slack, looking up at the millions and millions of lights. So shiny, so glittery and glamorous. Magical. Joe wonders how much power they use every day, and I wonder if they care.
They have a list of upcoming entertainment at their indoor concert venue, Canoes Cabaret, with a poster of the band coming at the end of the month: Rail! Heavy metal hair solos galore! Anyone who was a teenager in the 70’s in the Northwest knows these guys, and I was not disappointed to see the lead singer wearing his trade-mark large furry white boots in the poster. During a tasty Flintstone-sized lunch with my parents in one of the many restaurants, (the fanciest ones were closed because it was Sunday afternoon during our visit), my father reveals he would like to see one of the other upcoming shows–the Doobie Brothers. (I say “reveals” because I had no idea he was listening back then. I thought it was all Abba and Neil Diamond with my parents. Besides, the words ‘doobie’ and ‘dad’ together is just wrong.)
After lunch, my mom’s ready to hit the slots. So, I gamely (heh heh) tag along and put a dollar into a machine next to one she carefully selects; The King’s Ransom or some such name. She tries to explain the basics to me, but all I’m really interested in is pushing the play button and watching what the numbers by the dollar signs do. I get up to $5.18 in the credit column and decide to push Maximum Bet (unfortunately before my mother sees what I’m doing). Apparently, the maximum bet is $5… I lose my dollar in about 2 minutes. Mom’s going strong. I realize this may be why I’ve never been into gambling — I don’t know how, and numbers terrify me like spiders terrify some people. I put another dollar in and blindly push the button some more, reminding me of how I use to play Nathan’s Nintendo 20 years ago, full throttle so that Mario without fail runs full speed off the cliff.
When it’s time to go we leave my parents standing shoulder to shoulder grinning and waving at us like they’re standing on their front porch sending us off. They’re so cute I turn back and take a fake picture with my fingers because I’m wary of the block-shouldered ex-secret service security guys in the black suits and earpieces who’ve been watching me gape and stick out of the experienced crowd (or some might say much older crowd…the promo pictures on the website show only young and beautiful people, all teeth and perfect hair, but I think they must have been in the spa while we were there…), waiting for me to pull out a camera like some cheater. We walk out into the sunshine, happy to have spent some time with my folks, and down only two dollars, minus lunch. And a nice gift certificate so they can come back for a night in the lovely hotel.