Friday, December 19, 2008

The Red Hawk Has Landed

"Ooooooo..." cooed the crowd as the Red-tailed Hawk swooped onto the scene and landed on the glove of its handler.  Thus began the opening ceremony of the first Indian Casino in El Dorado County.

My husband snagged a ticket for the VIP opening of the long-faught against casino.  All seems to be mended by the looks of the anxious, gathered throng, which included many county officials and business folks.  We shuffled our way through the front entrance, lined on each side by uniformed employees grinning and greeting ear-to-ear, and met the twirling Mercedes above the encircling slot machines ready to tempt the visitor to try their luck at winning the fine automobile.

We wondered around the immense gaming floor making sure we saw all there was to see.  Slot machines ranged from a penny to $1000 per pull and there were many black jack tables scattered throughout--something for everyone.  We passed by a small performing stage, where two shirtless male performers demonstrated their strength and agility to the gawking viewers, and came upon a seafood restaurant where a wall of water invited the hungry to dine.

Retracing our steps, we took the escalator down to the lower level where a vast buffet and two more restaurants were located along with a non-smoking gaming area.  On the trip down the escalator we were awed by the perfectly framed bucolic scene outside; a huge wall of windows provided a view of stately oaks displayed against the pastoral countryside beyond.  I almost bumped into the bronze statue at the bottom of the escalator just as "it" curtsied to the shock of those surrounding "it."  OK so it wasn't a statue after all...

Riding up the escalator back to the main floor, we settled in front of a $1 slot machine that was calling to us.  Being total neophytes when it comes to gambling, we view the act of putting money into a slot machine as pure entertainment.  In other words, you pay to play.  That in mind, we fed two $1 bills into the machine whereupon it quickly rejected one of the bills.  OK...with no more $1 bills, we try a $5 bill.  Works.  We press Double Play and the wheels spin and land on double bars all the way across (gasp) showing $31 in the credit display.  Wow.  "What now?" queried my husband.  "Press this," I responded quickly while pointing at the Cash Out button.  I like the quit while you're ahead technique.

With that we proceeded toward the parking garage elevators by way of one of the many ATM, Make Change, Cash Out machines and inserted our winning ticket.  Put $31 in to our pockets and felt proud to have made $25 on our $6 investment in the new Red Hawk Casino.  First stop...Starbucks to put some of our winnings back into the economy.

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