Miccosukee Resort and Gaming

During a recent Saturday-night drive down Krome Avenue, lightning struck, briefly illuminating the dark two-lane highway. A scary trip to a scary destination it was. Like a haunted casino, Miccosukee Resort and Gaming (500 SW 177th Ave., Miami; 305-925-2555) beckoned with bright lights and a flashing marquee, the only things glittering along that road to nowhere. But no traditional specters lurked inside; they were ghosts of a different kind. On the expansive game floor, red-eyed, pale faces seemed doomed to spend the rest of their days in a gambling limbo, free to leave yet unable to escape the pull of the slot machine — prisoners to their vices.

And what haunted resort would be complete without the obligatory time warp? The Cypress Lounge is Miccosukee's version of this, where patrons are seemingly transported to Fifties Little Havana. The scene here was not quite as frightening as the rest of the casino, but there was still something to fear: the mullet, according to a message on one character's shirt. The guy seemed out of place, sporting a golden mop top and biker façade, until he proudly proclaimed, "I from Cuba."

A live band played salsa with a genuine energy that belied the redundancy of the task — performing the same music for the same crowd day in and day out. Everyone danced, even a much older silver-haired man who sashayed with female partners half his age. One of the women was a blond in tight black spandex. A leaf-shape sweat stain formed on the small of her back as she grooved.

The upstairs bar was significantly calmer. It was the setting for South Dade Senior High's 20-year reunion. Perhaps it was the quietness of the party, or the multicolor neon carpet, or the ominous pictures of sneering Native Americans, but an eerie intensity still permeated the air.

Next time I'll go to Seminole. Alexandra Quiñones

 
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