From when I first arrived at summer camp in the USA, it was clear there was one BIG day off you had to go on, a 30 hour road trip to Atlantic City! I didn’t have a clue what or where Atlantic City was, but anywhere with casinos and a beach sounded good to me!
A 30 hour day off at my camp meant you got the night off from 6pm and didn’t have to return until midnight the following day, the perfect opportunity for a drunken blow out away from the responsibilities of looking after children. Being a Martial arts instructor meant that I would be going with the specialists group on a Wednesday which also happened to be July 4th. Apparently it’s kind of a big deal?
After two hot and sweaty weeks teaching in the 30 degrees humidity of the Pocono Mountains, the day finally came round. Between seven of us we’d rented a massive Dodge people carrier to take us on the 3-hour journey to AC! We’d all packed earlier in the day in order to make a quick getaway from camp and by half six we were finally off, first stop: the liquor store!
As a car consisting of four Englishmen, two Ozzies and a Scouser we didn’t really know the roads around Pennsylvania too well so we followed an American girl who had made the trip the previous summer! Everything was going well, the music was pumping, drinks were flowing and we were all enjoying ourselves and then SMASH! It all seemed to happen in slow motion. A woman, desperate not to miss her turning into a lay-by cut us up on the freeway. Dingo had to slam on and we skidded off the road into a packed car park. In hindsight things could have gone a lot worse, but still, all of us were in need of a change of underpants.
We got back on our way just as night was starting to fall, the rest of the journey was thankfully less eventful, and we arrived safely at our destination just before midnight at The Hotel Tropicana!!! After finding our rooms, out came the four locos and we all met in the biggest room to pre-game for an hour! We left the hotel in a squadron of taxis heading for the pool party. Once we were in the taxi somebody finally mentioned to me that a passport was needed as ID to get into this club! Mine was conveniently 150 miles away back at camp, all this way for nothing? I tried to get in using my English drivers licence but it wasn’t enough, so I had to watch, dejectedly as everybody else went inside to party the night away.
Fortunately I wasn’t the only one who hadn’t been told, so me and Sam Bell taxied it back to our hotel room along with some of the Americans who’s fake Id’s hadn’t worked. I was so gutted; I’d come all this way, dodged death in a car crash and now I couldn’t even get to the pool party! But if Atlantic City is famous for one thing its casinos and I was staying in one! When in Rome…
Sam and I decided we’d try our luck in the casino to cheer us up, after a long talk with security about how our ID’s were valid we were in business, time to play some games! Now I’m not really much of a gambler. Apart from my once a year flutter on the national (which I never win) I don’t gamble at all but after the stresses of our journey and a few Four Locos, I was feeling lucky!
We started watching a game of craps but neither of us knew how to play it, so a shady looking guy with dreadlocks and about three teeth to his name decided he’d teach us. $20 worth of chips later and we were both playing, and somehow our piles of chips were growing too! To this day I couldn’t tell you how the game is played at all but that night I played it and I played it well! Our mentor got frustrated that we were winning more than him and left leaving us to carry on solo.
Whilst we were playing the drinks were coming round free so we were feeling great, and then it was my turn to be the dice roller for the whole game! Other players started getting annoyed that I wasn’t taking ‘the roll’ seriously! Which I suppose was true, I was drunk and winning, shaking the dice round my head, throwing it under my leg, getting people to blow on it, I even nearly missed the table a few times before I decided it was time to retire! Both of us left the table over $100 better off than when we started!
A word of warning, Time seems to pass differently in the casino! By the time we left it was almost daybreak, leaving me to curl up across two chairs in someone’s hotel room for a few hours before a day spent horribly hung-over on the beach. The trip back was thankfully less uneventful, with us making it back to camp, just, in time!
All in all it was a boss day off; from pooing my pants in a car crash to thinking I was Chris Tucker in Rush Hour 2 round a craps table!
Here is a few wise words of wisdom to finish:
- Try and avoid driving on July 4th, the roads are crazy!
- Drivers licences don’t always work as ID in the states – Take your passport.
- Frappuccinos are lifesavers in 40 degree hangovers.
- Four Loco is the devil.
- Winners Win!
- Know when to quit when you’re ahead (Sam lost all his money the next day!)
- Atlantic City rules!!!!!!
A big thanks to Tommy for this post on Atlantic City, we are especially impressed by the added extra of journal drawings!