Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Road to Vieques...starts in Delaware?

Let the Puerto Rico blogging begin!

And of course, all blogs about trips to small Caribbean islands naturally start off discussing casinos and Delaware, and this blog is no exception. Today’s entry will have absolutely nothing to say about Vieques. Get over it.

You may have heard via beautifully crafted Facebook or Twitter entries that Vieques is an island with only one ATM, so going with a wad of cash is a necessity. (Damn, I did end up mentioning Vieques today!) The day before our crack-of-dawn flight, my mother and I met my sister at her home in Delaware so we could all leave together the next morning. Three women, each with a stuffed wallet, two miles from Delaware Park racetrack and casino. Can you see where this blog entry is going? I bet you can. I bet $5 you can.

First, let me say that if you’re feeling down about being in your early 40s, you MUST visit a casino mid-week and mid-day. You will feel like a freaking teenager among a sea of bluehairs and liver-spotted men toting oxgen tanks and pockets full of nickels (God I hope those were pockets full of nickels). I kept thinking of a friend of mine who’s completely fixated on “coots.” She would have suffered an OD seizure at this place. And for the gambling geriatrics of lesser means who can’t part with a nickel, there were plenty of penny slots. Yes, penny slots. I didn’t know they even made them. You’d see the a women hit a “jackpot” and get so excited she’d knock over her walker. Of course the “jackpot” on a penny slot was $2.87.

After losing the $20 I had allowed myself at the poker slots (after all this wasn’t even the official start of my vacation!) and downing two of the strongest Jack Daniels and soda I’ve ever been served, my sister and I decided to head outside to check out the race track. It was teeming rain, but one of us wanted a cigarette. (OK, I was on vacation. I wanted a cigarette. My kids don’t read this blog, I’m safe). As I stood there in the blowing mist looking at the beautifully landscaped track with fountains and hedges galore, I couldn’t help but feel bad for the horses. Sure, they’re bred for the racing. That’s not what I felt bad about. I couldn’t help but wonder if they knew they weren't in the Kentucky Derby, but rather were running their hearts out for a bunch of bored suburban housewives and bus loads of folks who soak their teeth at night and gamble copper coins. Next time I go, I’m going to wear a giant feathered hat. Let the ponies think they’re at the Royal Ascot. It’s the least I can do.

Tomorrow: “The Flight from Hell.” Or: “How sure are you of your atheism in a lightning storm at 50,000-feet?

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