Boston – It turned out that I hadn’t adjusted my watch yesterday, so when I awoke at 5:45am, I had more than a few hours to spare before my shift started at 8:40am. Instead of going to the gym I lay in bed reading over some of these accounts. To be honest, I’m delighted I’ve written them, as I couldn’t even remember doing half the stuff, so full is my brain of new information.
With an early start to day in the casino, I was left to stare at the slot machines as most of the candidates for a game of blackjack were still in bed at that hour. I get mesmerised by the slots so quickly without a game to distract me. They jangle away, vieing for my attention, making increasingly louder sounds, trying to drown each other out. And the lights blink and flash away until you become hypnotised by their spell. From BJ1 (Blackjack table), I can see my favourite ‘Cougarlicious’ machine replete with predatorial ladies, lipsticks and hot young thing icons!
My next favourite is the ‘Fabulous Las Vegas Slots’ (a seat on Three Card Poker 2 affords you a good view of the round carousel where they live), an addictive coin pusher type affair, like those found on the seafront at Great Yarmouth. What happens when a big wave comes, I’ve yet to find out, but my guess is all the guests on one side will get a big payout!
Pay pay pay!!
In the far corner, a bit out of sight for my liking, is a claw grabber machine, where the aim of the game is to grab one of the many wads of cash and deposit it in the large corner hole, so that you can take it out and spend it!
That would be higher up my list, only for its poorly placed location and the fact that nothing will live up to this machine I found in Palm Beach, Florida.
Come to Papa!
Yes, that’s right, this contraption involved you selecting, capturing, and attempting to drop a live lobster down a hole! If successful the bar cooked it for you for free!!! It was way harder than it looked as the weight of the creature in the water was significantly different to that of it once the claw had retracted to its full height to swing over the gaping hole. More times than not, the poor animal just went plunging back into the tank.
I'm gonna get you!!!
Sometimes it wasn’t even possible to grab a lobster at all, as they shuffled off hurriedly when they saw the jaws descending towards them. I never did win one myself, despite investing enough dollars to open my own lobster petting zoo, but I saw an experienced gentleman who won quite a few. I was very jealous of him at first, but than began wondering, not about the ethics of the whole affair, but how long they’d been in the tank and what did they eat? Did the bartenders take them out after last orders? Did they keep track of individual creatures? “Oh look Thomas got fried today, but Jeremy’s still standing after 17 weeks!” Maybe it was for the best that I didn’t manage to lasso one for my supper.
There are a few machines that I don’t like. The first one I spotted on my second day in the casino. It’s the ‘Sirens’ slot. The three girls, or ‘Sirens’ are very badly drawn in my opinion. The blue one looks like a bad effigy of Christ, and I call it the creepy Jesus machine and I resent having to look at that one for too long.
The one I really detest though is the ‘China Shores Panda’ model. This game has different optional screens, and selection icons roll round on a continuous loop when the machine is vacant; Raging Bull, Aztec Warrior, Firebreathing Dragon, Inca Tail, Striped Tiger and then the damn sneaky Panda. I can feel their beady eyes watching me at all times, silently judging me. From BJ5, there can be up to seven pious Pandas watching you at any one time. Seven! That’s 14 individual dark black eyes burning holes in my head as the stare at me unblinking, following my every move.
Your cute exterior doesn't fool me. I'm on to you, you vindictive beast.
Upon reading that back for spelling mistakes, I was a bit disturbed, as it kind of sounds like I’ve lost the plot. I’m not crazy, I just don’t do well when left with nothing to do for more than about 36 seconds. My mind starts to wander to some very strange places.
As soon as I got my 2 hour break I went straight out for a long run up on the top deck. The fresh air and exercise helped to exorcise the demon cartoon wildlife from my under stimulated brain. A few laps walking on the promenade deck, and I was fit to start the evening part of my shift.
I was a little less happy as I landed on the miss a turn square in Boston this morning. Instead of being granted shore leave, my duties were sanitising the casino as soon as the guests disembarked, and then I was placed on embarkation directional with guest concierge, escorting the VIPs to their cabins and helping with passenger orientation.
This was quite challenging for both me and the guests, as unless they wanted to stay in the cabin next door to mine and spend the week eating in the crew mess, they were likely to be disappointed, as I still don’t know my way round the upper reaches of the ship.
In fact before today, I’d only been to decks 2 (gym/uniform store), 3 (home), 4 (I95 corridor), 5 (crew mess), 6 (casino), 7 (home of my life raft and life jacket) and 13 (jogging track). All of the people I had to escort had cabins located on decks 8 – 12, so it was a bit of an adventure as I tried to deposit then in the right spot. I was given a map, but needed a compass and a GPS to go with it. It turned out that 90% of my flock had been on the Dawn at least once before, so they were able to help show me around!
You gotta know your ports from your starboards on this bad boy.
I was also excited to be able to speak French again and tried to orientate some lost guests that had joined the elevator alongside my disciples. I babbled away asking them which floor they wanted and where they were heading but they just kept looking more and more confused. I know it’s been a couple of weeks since I spoke French, but I can’t have got that bad surely?
Le Tour Eiffel
It turns out that the petrified citizens were actually Spanish, so had no clue what I was going on about. Espanol! D’accord. “Holà, como estas?” And all that.
We do have quite a few real French speaking guests in our midst from Canada. I helped two different sets of groups get to where they needed to go. It turns out that apart from the Hotel Director Alain, who’s actually French, plus a smattering of Mauritian crew, no one else speaks French on the ship. I told my new found friends to call me or come to the casino if they needed anything. I doubt I’ll actually be able to help them, but at least I can find someone who can help and then translate for them. I also met some Australians who had flown 19 hours to be here with us. Hardcore guys!!
I ended up having a lot of fun (I think my colleagues hate me because I enjoy working so much), swiping on and off the ship numerous times and walking up and down the gangway grinning like a loon, bestowing welcoming greetings at the queueing masses. The excitement of the holidaymakers is infectious and I wasn’t fussed about not being able to head into Boston itself, but for the fact I still don’t have a costume for tomorrow night’s Halloween dress up, which is looming large. I might have to see if I can befriend someone in the show and borrow some attire for the night otherwise at this rate I’ll be forced to go as Lady Godiva.