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Tunica Mississippi Pool Trip

Posted 04-23-2014 at 04:35 AM by Nostroke
Updated 06-07-2018 at 09:14 AM by Nostroke

After three days on the road, I am nearing my destination, Tunica Mississippi, a casino town built on farm land deep in the heart of nowhere. The mandatory big billboards appear on either side of the road heralding the coming casinos, the big jackpots and whatever else they can come up with to make you drive on against your better judgment.

Now in most second rate casino areas, these signs will highlight the coming shows; Shows featuring C list performers. Coming July 27th - Fabian!!. 'August 1st Flubadub!!' ‘August 23rd The Flamingos!!’ (all dead but the group sings on). The INK SPOTS!!, Chad and Jeremy!! No sir-Not here. Dead people are afraid of this town and what’s known as the ‘Tunica Taint’. No one is appearing here.

A modernized Flubadub for your enjoyment below.

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I am not here for gambling but for a Pocket Billiards shindig-13 days long. The Hotel Casino where the event is being held has randomly been referred to as Harrah’s Tunica and Harrah’s Horseshoe Hotel. I had a funny feeling about this and tried to get it cleared up before I began my trek but to no avail. My GPS is now showing BOTH hotels -2 miles apart! One of them is very close to where you enter Tunica and I proceed with a right off the main road, 1.5 miles to go. Hoping for the best.

I pull up in the valet lane hand the guy 2 bucks and tell him I’m not parking- i just want to know if this is the place with the pool event. Good news, It is. I ask for directions to the Goldstrike-my hotel.

"Sir i have a little poem that will get you right there, do you want to hear it?"

"Sure yeah yeah go ahead"

"Three lights zend three rights"

"OK yeah cool great -three lights (mumble) three rights yea yea got it- thanks "

The Chief Poet of Tunica is obviously very proud of his work. ‘Chief Poet’? You know there should be a Title for that. Nah, silly, there is no Title for Chief Gardener is there? Anyway I can’t question him for clearer info, He worked very hard on that poem-It would break his heart. I just drive off and for 7 long yards i think i actually have it.

Then it’s ”Wait, was that three lights then three lights or three lights and three rights? What does either of them mean anyway? Do I go through the lights then take three rights? At the light? Could that have been three rights then three lights? Do I….?” I find endless possibilities to this simple little poem even without the mumble. He might as well have said “Go ahead and fart-then fall apart” Thankfully I soon find my way via adequate signage and arrive at the Goldstrike Hotel and Casino in 4-5 minutes. Turns out ‘Each light-take a right’ would have been best. I’m fairly certain that if i moved to Tunica, I would soon wear the Poet Crown. When the cows come home, i’ll make my final decision on that move.

The Goldstrike like all other Casino/Hotels in Tunica is on the water- in the gambling area where the casinos had to pretend that they were Riverboats in order to obtain a license. The Hotel part of the complexes are built on solid ground, while the Casino Parts are somehow mounted above the water on huge steel I Bars or some other apparatus. It in no way resembles a boat. When you are in the casino there is no movement of the alleged water craft at all- A seismograph would just permanently flat line. I don’t believe these Monsters could sail the Mississippi any easier than the UN Building could get up and sashay down the East River. After Katrina as i recall, they did away with the absurd ‘Riverboat’ requirement.

As way of a little background, Mississippi as many of you know, is a third world country that was mistakenly annexed to the United States under mysterious circumstances at the turn of some century. Many of the facts have been suppressed but it is widely believed among history buffs that the key elements involved in what has come to be known as the ‘DP Affair’ were an Opium Smoking Indian Chief, a bi-sexual drunken high ranking member of Congress, his wife, a Totem Pole and 6 cents in beads- connected! Over the years there have been repeated attempts to rectify this egregious blunder and return Mississippi to its rightful owners but thus far only a stalemate has ensued with the Indians continually denying ever owning it or knowing where it is.

I enter the Goldstrike Casino and I’m impressed. Shiny, marble,

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high ceilings, arches and columns, clean-not too gaudy-nice!- a lobby worthy of a small 3.5 Star Vegas Hotel. Check-In is uneventful and I proceed to the elevators. As the doors open I am hit with a 15 MPH blast of clean fresh air. They really have the air circulating and again I’m impressed but it may be for the last time.



I get off on my floor- the 27th, lugging/rolling four different things. I see the sign indicating which rooms are where and of course misread it and head off in the wrong direction. A mile or two later i realize I am never getting there and turn around. A housekeeper stifling a chuckle, assures me I am now heading in the correct direction. As i pass by the sign I am again baffled by it. This is the final realization that i have some off shoot of dyslexia. I interpret the the symbol in the sign below as comet like- a comet heading in the direction you’re supposed to go. BRMMMMMMMP!



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I always misread these things-I have some pre programmed misconception in my brain on just what constitutes the pointy end of an ‘arrow’. The single-handle faucets which purport to be an ‘arrow’ have me clueless. ”Wait, I'm holding the arrow end in my hand, not the shaft? It's pointing somewhere to the left of the bathtub?" In my brain that just cant be right.

Sinks with two faucets will throw me as well. And yes i know that ‘hot’ has been on the same side since time began-I just don’t which side that is! My brain kinda thinks it knows but if steaming water isn't flowing out within 10 seconds i will switch sides in a heartbeat, even in my own house!! Then switch again and back. This can go on way longer than you’d expect so a single handle with ambiguous pointability- just bring me a chair.

Anyway I arrive at my door with a crick in my neck, a painful shoulder and an aching back. Fortunately my key card opens the door on the first attempt- which is no guarantee anywhere by the way. Many many times i have had to go back to the lobby for ‘re-keying’. Traveling alone, the question then becomes: Can i leave my stuff here or do i drag it all back to the lobby and back here again? What about half and half? Inevitably i wind up jackassing all of it down and up. I am thankful I’m not doing that dance here.

I try to bull my way in with all four of my possessions before realizing i am courting a disaster of unknown magnitude. I make two trips and get inside without major injuries- though delaying my entry by nearly 14 seconds. Way to go Gravy-always thinking!

So at first blush my room at the Goldstrike looks alright, kinda small but i wasn't planning on doing the decathlon in there anyway. It should be fine. I am detecting an uninvited aroma in this non-smoker however. Definitely stale smoke plus another secret ingredient of yet-to-be-determined origin.

I’ll cut to the chase. There were a few immediate issues. The clock in the room was unplugged and plugging it in didnt help. I spent 5+ minutes trying to set it before seeking the aid of a housekeeper who was also unable to set it. A new working clock was delivered and set-costing me only a $5 tip.

The mystery aroma in the room turned out to be the water. It was sulphury- not as bad as i have experienced in private homes in Florida and Ithaca, but still, the lifetime worst for a hotel. Additionally I had set up my computer first thing and 90 minutes later i see a warning that my battery is down to 12%. The socket i was plugged into was dead-dead as uh something ..uh.. uh. .really really and totally in a highly enormous state of deadness.

About now, nap time, the raucous frolicking of the housekeeping staff begins. At least five of them have converged within a room or two of mine. It’s a Co-Ed staff. There is a near constant din-yelling, laughing, singing, talking, door slamming etc. At one point I open my door and just look. I make sure one of them sees i am bleary eyed and in my underwear. Things quiet down for 3 minutes-then back to the racket for a total time of an hour or so. This will be a daily occurrence and leads to the discovery that my door has never been introduced to the Goldstrike’s floor and never will be.

For Hotels, doors reaching the floor are not a concern at all. I asked the manager one time at a real nice hotel, why, for all sound purposes was i effectively sleeping in the hall due to the total fail doors. Her reply- a winning smile and “Oh that’s just the way Marriott builds them.”

I once stayed at the Mirage. The doors were at least 3/4 inches from the floor. Trying to catch a nap during the day all i heard was “Tap Tap Tap! Housekeeping” ”Tap Tap Tap! Room Service” over and over. They used a coin to tap on the door, producing a sharp noise impossible to sleep through. Would it be too difficult when building these monstrosities to find doors that fit or alternatively/additionally to put a chime system in? To be clear these taps etc were not on my door but on others’ close by. God as my witness, i checked out after 1.5 days and went over to the MOTEL 6 on Dean Martin Drive and stayed with Grade C hookers and truck drivers. The doors were great and i wasn't disturbed one time during the remaining 5-6 days of my trip. I was ecstatic i had made the move so quickly.

I wrote the Mirage a letter and just relentlessly pounded them unmercifully. They sent back a personal reply denying there were any concerns but offering me a “free upgrade” to their Heavenly Towers or some such on my next visit. Start whistling Mirage!

Oh almost forgot, Back to Mississippi -I had requested 2 queen beds for the sole purpose of avoiding the king pillows and the wrestling moves required to flip them over. I had made this clear to the reservation girl but it is more than likely that she was located in Mumbai and had never seen a queen or king bed, the Hotel, or any part of North America for that matter. I get the Queens I ordered, each equipped with 3 King Size Pillows! Great! Just great.

OK so these are not the biggest problems ever but a clear indicator that, at the very least, this hotel is weak on the little details that add up to make a stay enjoyable.

Im hungry now and head downstairs to get some grub. I have to go through the Casino floor to get to the two restaurants in this place. Remember the circulating air i spoke of earlier? It ends at the Casino entrance. I know this sounds like it cant be, but it do be. When i got within 10-15 feet of the Casino entrance the smell of smoke hit me. I walked into a cloud. No air was moving- period!

I have hung out in pool rooms for decades and nothing has ever come within 50% of being as stifling as this casino. I’m not sure if the system was broken or if there was no system. I walked as quickly as possible trying to find the well hidden restaurants. On the way I take two direct exhaled smoke hits to my face. Everyone in here is a smoker-everyone! Others simply could not operate in this environment.

I finally find the restaurants, a Steakhouse and an alternative joint adjacent to it. I know all about casino steakhouses so i go right to the less expensive alternative and pick up a menu. I get as far as the first item. Roast Beef-$35. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll pay that price a time or two on a trip but today is not that time. Back through the smoke gauntlet and this time as i break free into the lobby, I am gagging-actually stomping around retching. For the remaining 5 day stay here i never enter the casino again. To be fair the other casinos i visited had adequate ventilation, smoke eaters etc

The Mosquito is the Mississippi State Bird and they did not disappoint. The first 2 overcast days, I was bitten on average 10+ times each of 4 back and forth trips to the car. All of the bites may not have been Mosquitoes, I didn't ask for ID but many of the bites were UNDER my hat-possibly ‘No-see-ums’. I came to understand that a Mosquito cannot survive in the direct Mississippi sun. They would just dry up and drop so on overcast days they are out in mass seeking their blood fixes. Hearing of the Mosquitoes, i had mentioned to someone that i didn't much care as on me, the bites disappear in half an hour. BRMMMMMMP!! Below is a pic of two bites that i received on the 17th or 18th which finally faded away yesterday-the 10th of July. They were already a couple of days old at the time of this picture.

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These Bastards drove me so crazy that i figured i’d try the Goldstrike gift shop to see, if by chance, they had some repellent. They did- at least 15 large cans of ‘OFF’!! I brought one to the counter put a $20 bill down and told the clerk.. “Don’t say the amount, don’t say the change. Just ring it up and ill stuff the change in my pocket and walk out of here”,

This ignorance is bliss strategy works and I leave the gift shop with my ‘OFF’. A subsequent stop at Subway however, unwittingly reveals i have $7 in bills plus a dime or two in my pocket. As imbecilic as it may seem or actually BE, had i known the price, i may have just chosen to get bit. After all, for that amount, I could easily seduce any of the Tunica ladies buying one, possibly two, the best flip-flops they ever owned!

Speaking of Women- Guys, If stylish women are any part of your agenda, Tunica should not be on your radar. Avoid! Tunica is not a poor man’s Las Vegas- It is more like the destitute man’s Branson Missouri. It’s the ‘Gambling Schmecca of the South at best.

You’ll likely find more hot babes in the cold pouring rain at a Suburban Bus Stop than you will anywhere in Tunica. Hot Vegas type babes do not do Tunica… period!! (or Bus stops) I’m sure it is well known on the circuit that coming here just once puts you in a whole new category. One you thought you’d avoid until at least your late 60’s.

In 10 days, other than a pool player’s girlfriend and another pool player or 2, who were no doubt tricked or coerced into going, not a single female even impersonating a ‘Hottie’ was seen. Zero! No pretty young things slinking around. Not one!! This was the most unbelievable factoid revealed during my stay. Stylish good looking ladies rate ‘24 Hour Ice Fishing with Blood Worms’ well above a ‘Getaway to Tunica’ on the Appeal-O-Meter. All you need to do is just look at the pudding.

If i were a bit younger and had a briefcase full of thousand dollar bills and all the women in Tunica were money hungry harlots- On departure the hinges would likely be frozen shut.

Undoubtedly I realize I wouldn't be going anywhere with a hot young thing if she were there. I’m not that delusional, but i do enjoy the scenery and watching the mating dance. I was totally deprived of that fun.

It is relevant to point out at this time that although Mississippi is only ranked second in poverty to neighboring Arkansas, it is the #1 runaway leader in obesity.

I don’t keep an eye out for handsome young guys so please don’t start that crap. I will stipulate to the fact that the men were all hideous! Ok?

Just as an aside, It is deeply ingrained in the culture of Mississippians that when you are finished with your McTriple Cheese Burgers, Yard Long Sub, Milkshakes etc simply open the door of the car and dump it all out in the first parking lot you encounter. The impatient ones simply toss the whole shebang out the window along the highway. I saw this over and over and some of the deposits were clearly from an entire family. Good example dad! I must admit the clean-up crews were first rate. If i came by a highway or parking lot dump-site, just an hour or so later, the disgusting mess was always gone.

The scenery around the hotels is pretty weak. It’s more than obvious that the entire area was nothing but farmer’s fields just 20 years ago. Actually most still is. It’s 100% flat and 98% treeless. Highway 61 is so straight and flat, if you passed out at the wheel you could easily continue on 6 or 7 miles and be entirely safe. When you did finally go off the road, there is nothing solid to hit. Chances are real good you will eventually be safely eased to a stop by a 3000 acre cornfield. This is pretty much what you will see starting no more than 3/8 of a mile from any casino-usually within yards.

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The Casino food is either horrible, terribly expensive or most of the time both. The establishment below located a few miles from the Casinos on OLD Highway 61 actually does quite well. That should tell you something.

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Even a simple franchise such as Buddtruckers* when dropped into Mississippi becomes a disaster. You know how Buddtruckers likes to display their top shelf good looking red hamburger patties out front for all to see? Get mouths watering? Not here. The ones here keep the meat somewhere in the back. All signs pointing to a cardboard box behind the refrigerator, next to the motor. Remember the old Stewart Sandwich Burgers, You know the ones sold at caddy shacks, stationery stores and other places with no facilities- made with forty percent oatmeal allowing for months of storage? That’s what they taste like and honestly, it was some of the better fare offered in Tunica.

If you can rent a car and aren't real picky, you may be able to maneuver around, pick the best of the worst at the Casinos-make a few trips 15 miles into town and you will probably survive. This assumes of course your immune system is at top strength and you are not bothered too much by parasites.

If you are a foodie however, and do not have a car, there is really only one thing I can recommend. Get yourself an efficiency room. Each hotel has a few of these for sharper travelers like yourself. Now when you get in the room, make sure the oven works. If so blow out the flame and stick your head in and keep it there! If you happen to get an electric oven, well it’s going to be painful but the advice is still the same-stay the course-keep your head in there.

(sorry no part 2 due to lack of interest)

*name changed to protect ME

Pictures may be seen at http://oddballcodger.tumblr.com/post...posts-combined

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