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Published: August 7th 2012
This blog comes to you mid way through our time in Hong Kong. We have left the city for the day to hit the bright lights of Macau. Although expensive to get to and from at 600HK$ roughly £50 it is cheaper than most air fares and adds to our stamp collection! The former Portuguese colony now bears the same title as HK as a special administrative region of china. The country is Cantonese through and through with English coming third to mandarin. The hour ferry crossing was easy enough although a little choppy, the welcoming was anything but. We must have switched queues at immigration four times, each line coming to a standstill! After 45 minutes, stamp gained, we were on our way to the worlds largest casino, The Venetian. Luckily all the thirty odd resorts want you to gamble so badly they put on free shuttles so our manoeuvres around the city was seamless and free! The Venetian is three times the size of its Vegas counterpart and this was very apparent to us! We definitely did not see it all! It also featured the grande canal complete with gondola rides and the most luxurious in fashion names. We
ate lunch at the food hall but Ben was very disappointed in his grey chicken panini, Lauren on the other hand felt the mozzarella and tomato were a day too old!
We got the shuttle back to the ferry to get another free shuttle to the next resort, you gotta play them off one another! This time we went to an original resort, the Grand Lisboa named after Portugal's capital. It was glamourous with huge overstated chandeliers and housed some interesting collections of Chinese relics all encrusted with diamonds. From here we wanted to leave the glitz and head to 'The Old Town' it was fairly easy to navigate to see old ruins from the Portuguese era. The cobbled streets and multicolour shutters in buildings were a delight and made Macau stand out as a very mixed country! They complimented each other well as they were kept quite distinctly separate yet the McDonald, 7Eleven's and Starbucks still demonstrated the new age of Asia.
We particularly enjoyed looking at the ruins of St Paul's cathedral burnt down in past centuries but the front still standing proud and tall shadowed
by the old forts remaining walls. The Portuguese had influenced religion and there are many a Catholic sight to see amongst the Chinese temples.
We headed back to the new town and took in the sights of 'The Wynn' and 'MGM Grand' very much on a smaller scale of their Vegas sisters. The influence here is that of sheer wealth determined by how much you put down on the tables. The shops were A list and only served to repeat themselves at each resort. The casinos themselves- the most heavily guarded we have ever encountered, people strip searched and almost interrogated as to why they were here. Obvious as most visitors Chinese and this is the only place gambling is legal. Watching them as usual is incredible and foolish! They have no pattern to throwing money down on twenty of the thirty six roulette squares, eager to win only a tenth to what they put down!
We led the way on the slots making 20HK$ last all but five minutes!! It was fun though and all we could afford to lose! We looked around some more and were
disappointed that the casinos did not have the same stage presence as Vegas. Their only interest was the tables and bums at seats. In Vegas it was very much a family affair, money collected from visitors in every way- dozens of eateries, and theatrics to draw in crowds and entertain. That way they have you and you don't leave. But this was serious gambling territory, no messing, kids weren't even allowed in most areas of the resorts, the pools were empty and eateries fairly non existent.
In our minds this wasn't the Vegas of the East we wanted, we liked the lions at MGM and the roller coaster at New York New York, but glad we came but ever reminded of the rudeness of the Chinese and general things we have defined as 'Asian' more to follow on that as we leave the continent for down under.
Things of note:
Expect long delays at immigration, workers have two switches- slow and very slow.
Don't bother with public transport it's not necessary at all
It's not as easy to navigate as Vegas, the resorts are split
up across two islands and not along the one strip
Things cost more here, ranging from drinks to the same McDonald's sandwich meal.
The ferries run every thirty minutes from Hong Kong island and every single one is full both ways!
Macau is home to the tower the tenth largest free standing tower in the world, you can tandem dive off this, walk around the top with a harness or do the world's largest Bungy but as prices started at £120 we gave it a miss!
What would we do differently:
Have some more money to bet and win back some of our expenses from the trip so far. But the house will always win and you can only bet what you can afford to lose!
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