Kate and I just celebrated the anniversary of our 7th year together in beautiful (if totally out of character for us) Atlantic City, New Jersey. “Really? Kate and Paco going to a casino resort?!” I know. It seems strange but it was kind of perfect and we never would have thought we’d have had such a good time. Two weeks ago we were at home deciding what dates would work for this mini-vacation, looking on the internet for some ideas for the big getaway. The only other time we took a similar trip was many years ago: a camping trip to Lake George. In a tent. Outside. We were young and reckless then and decided that this time we would be staying at a hotel that had at least three stars, a pool, and a view of the ocean. We just didn’t know where we were going to go. We looked at Vermont and the Poconos and then saw a package deal for AC.
Neither of us had ever been there or heard anything about it really, but the spirit of the moment overtook us and we giddily signed up for two nights just off of the world-famous boardwalk, hot tub(s!), indoor pool, gym, arcade, balcony and all of the one dollar slots you could ever want. And, it turns out, we had a pretty awesome time. There were some bumps along the way, most involving staring into the face of humanity writ large while walking through the casinos, but overall it was a really wonderful experience.
We took the first night to absorb all the glitz and glamour and then took the second day to relax and really experience the luxury of a new place. We ate at a bunch of awesome restaurants, walked along the beach, went rollerblading (in full protective gear—sexy!), and even took in a free showing of 42nd Street at the Tropicana. The concierge at our hotel had a bunch of comps to it and it seemed like a very vacation-y thing to do. (The irony of having to leave NYC in order to be able to afford a Broadway show was not lost on us.) So we took the tickets and made an evening of it—along the way having the best garlic mojo sauce we’ve ever had with our tostones at Cuba Libre.
During our time there, walking (in a daze at times) through the various casino floors, Kate said she had this ominous line in her head— “Atlantic City: Where Love Goes to Die.” It just seemed like drama and hardship could easily be found around the corner. We toasted each other when we left though, relieved we had made it out intact. Relieved that Caesar’s, The Taj Mahal, and Bally’s could not defeat our joi de vivre or our feelings for each other. But then again, the negative forces had no chance. Not when you consider that we got to spend “Adult Swim: 8-9pm” alone in an outdoor hot tub overlooking the Atlantic Ocean… And tried kissing on the boardwalk while going 8 mph on rollerblades… And made each other laugh after our now-famous verbal mélee with an 80 year-old misanthrope… Nope, I don’t think so. We were going to win out on that score anyway.