We landed in Nice yesterday a bit late as a result of hanging out on the runway at JFK for unknown reasons. We will spend two nights in Monte Carlo. Last night was in a hotel, and tonight will be on our ship, the Silver Muse. So when we got here yesterday morning and finally got into our room after lunch, we found the Silver Muse waiting for us across the street, so to speak. Sally, as only she can do, extended her run of free upgrades and we found ourselves in a large room with a view.
Monte Carlo and Monaco are a little funny. It’s a tiny country, only a couple of square miles. Yet the city feels like a big city. It’s very crowded and has lots of big buildings. It’s loaded with expensive stores, expensive cars, and expensive yachts. It’s also built into the side of the hills which surround it, so the streets are all inclined. There are stairways everywhere.
Monte Carlo is famous for its casino, of course. They charge €10 just to get in, which we didn’t have to pay because of our hotel. We went over last night and Sally blew through €15 in an hour at the slot machines (fortunately, I’m good for it). I really don’t get slots. At least in the old days, you pulled a mechanical lever and could kid yourself that the way you pulled it had something to do with winning or not. Today’s electronic machines don’t even make you do that – you feed currency in, select the amount of your bet, then repeatedly press a button to make the bet. Occasionally it pays off. Of course, there is nothing random whatsoever about the spin; the machine is a computer carefully programmed to provide intermittent reinforcement to the customer so as the maximize how long they will stay and feed it money.
The main gaming rooms are nothing special. Ten tables for roulette, blackjack and baccarat. Several dozen slot machines. There are so-call “private rooms” in the back for high rollers and James Bond types that we didn’t enter. I can’t show you a picture of the gaming room. I can’t even show you a picture of the sign saying “no pictures”. So here’s a snippet of the outside. It’s a nicely ornate building.