It’s very bright in here. The place is choked with smoke. I feel like lighting a cigarette just to breathe through a filter. Chinese women with straight hair and vacant eyes hover at either end of the table, like Gog and Magog. I don’t know if they’re prostitutes, but what else are they doing here? They’re not gambling. But I’m not gambling either. So, uh. Gog has starch orange hair and painted eyebrows. Magog looks a bit more humanoid. She catches a chill and puts on a hideous red knit throw. It is cold in here. There’s unlimited food, booze and whatever, with an ATM at the bottom of the stairs. Bally’s Casino, 1AM.
Locals such as myself are ostensibly not allowed in these casinos, but I’m with some friends from out of town. And they actually do gamble. I just look around. The carpet is a kaleidoscope of bad. This woman’s dress looks like someone ate a Jackson Pollack and threw up in Walmart. An auntie patrols back and forth in a blazer patterned with scenes from a Grecian urn. She’s carrying a lime green purse. It’s not a good look. Everyone is Chinese. All the men are obese and the women are hacked. Everyone is smoking.
The official employees hover in oversized jackets or shirt-sleeves. At the table the dealers keep changing but I never notice. The face changes but the shirt and bow tie stay the same. It’s almost eerie, the way the human beings are shuffled. I try to catch the switch but I never do. The Australian girl I was chatting to is gone and I begin to feel sleepy. We finished our tea long ago. There is seemingly endless food and drink here, but I don’t want any. This odd Indic man orders “fruit, and cigarettes also”. Someone is having a Diet Coke, dudes are dipping tumbler fulls of scotch. Constant cigarettes. My head is rarely more than two feet from a tailpipe. I begin to feel naush and walk around.
This Lankan expat got up from the blackjack table and walked away. He grunted at one of the women at the end of the table and she walks with him. I go check them out at the roulette table. They’re sitting, unsmiling. I don’t get roulette. It’s just a bunch of empty faces and an empty table full of numbers. It’s like sitting in front of a metaphor. I honestly don’t get anything here. I walk around some more. A woman in short shorts and a teenage top walks up the stairs, to the buffet. I follow her vacantly with my eyes. When she descends I can see her face. She’s tired. Just tired. Looks like she’s at work. Another is wearing horizontal sarongy stripes on pants and a patterned top, which doesn’t work. She has a bandaged cut below her right eye. A lady is wearing khaki capris with racing stripes. Another is wearing tie-dyed jeans that fade from purple to green. Nothing works. It’s way too bright in here.
I’m not drinking. This is weird but not weird enough to be awesome. My friends from India cash out and leave. One at least has made some money. OK OK. Brave four checkpoints to the Ceylon Continental Hotel, in the real downtown. Apparently Bally’s is moving here soon.