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Kia Ora From New Zealand
Kia Ora From Sky Tower
By Audrey

Anyhow, Sky City Casino is quite a swell place to hangout, especially on a Friday night. Live band performances are usually held every night and one will even be able to catch the sounds of an aspiring Mariah Carey or Celine Dion crooning out the latest hits over the karaoke system. Furthermore, Sky City Casino probably offers the cheapest tea, coffee and Coke in town. Each mug or glass costs only NZ$1 (well… this was in 1998 and I'm not sure if there's a price increase since then). Of course, no refills are allowed. Still, if you plan to stay the night there, coffee would be a great companion along with the 'sometimes out-of-tune' karaoke singers and the 'much-better' live bands.

If you've run out of money, it is still a good place to spend the evening. The antics of its patrons are equally interesting subjects. Watch the ladies squeal with excitement when they hit the jackpot or win a round of Blackjacks. Watch the elderly people sitting faithfully in front of the Slot Machines where each round costs as low as 5 cents. Listen to the curses, sighs, and joy of each individual there.

The place is usually very crowded on Friday nights and weekends. There are also many Asians who frequent the place. This proves that Asians, especially Chinese, are gamblers at heart. Their favorite would probably be "Tai Sai', and mind you, this is only for the real risk-takers. I wonder how they felt when they lost big on any round. I felt heartsick for them, although they looked immune to it.

If you visit Sky City Casino long enough, you would notice the same faces after a while -the veterans of the Casino. Some of them probably make this "hobby" their full-time job. I guess my biggest lost at any one time would write-off as a small amount to them. I believe I don't even need to make a guess; I'm pretty sure of that statistic.

On a big bulletin board placed right next to the Cashiers, I would often stop to look at the pictures of various people who have won BIG at the casino. The prizes can include luxury cars on top of cold hard cash of as much as NZ$50,000. Wow… Watch me drool! I suppose the pictures are placed there for a purpose. Perhaps it was meant to spur me into cashing OUT more money than necessary. Who knows?

My favorite game would be the Video Poker (did I just call it a game? …It was supposed to be a "money-eating" machine). I could sit in front of that machine for hours on end continuously feeding it with dough. Can you believe that I was there from 7 p.m. on a Friday night till 8 a.m. the next day? Yes, enter the casino during nightfall and leave when the sun is up. I can be such a sinful creature. When I sometimes look back on my past lifestyle, I do feel rather stupid. I can now envision myself sitting there, jabbing at the screen with my index finger till it hurts. My eyes would take over a glazed look after a while, fixed on one particular spot of the screen, which would be the incoming money spot. After some time, someone would take over the seat next to mine. And that person would leave. And another would take over. And that person would leave too. And this would go on and on and I'd still be there rooted to the same spot for hours, with no toilet breaks or whatsoever, and with that same glazed look that would make my eyes water for lack of blinking. Sigh!

This is not such a flattering article after all, is it? But I wouldn't give Sky Tower bad publicity because of my impressions. It is a good tourist spot and I've had some pretty fond memories of the place. There is a spectacular view waiting for you at the viewing gallery, which is located at the peak of Sky Tower. Anyhow, do go for the experience or for the fun, but never go with the intention of making a living out of it.

The Moral of the Story : Empty your pockets of cash, credit cards and ATM cards. Don't leave home with it!

P/S: Oh swell, the drrr…drrr…stopped! Yee-haa!

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