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Published: August 30th 2010
Macau was originally a Portuguese colony as well as the first and last colony in the far east. It was handed back to China in 1999 but still remains autonomous in most ways. It's economy relies on tourism and in fact it's gambling sector now generates more money than Las Vegas. It is through and through a city built for entertainment with an interesting blend of Chinese and Colonial elements. Portuguese is an official language and is still found on all signs. Most residents can only speak Cantonese though and I had some trouble with even finding English speakers in some areas. I also found out it has the highest life expectancy in the world.
The wheels landed down in the evening, it was my first time on a plane in over eight months (not counting sky diving). I flew out of Narita Airport in Tokyo and had a several hour layover in Beijing getting reacquainted with good 'ol China. From there I grabbed my connecting flight to Macau. Aboard they distributed some amazing in-flight reading; a newspaper with a plane crash as it's headline. I found it amusing. I'm sure other's did not. I took a bus to the
main island. I walked around the Rua de Felicidades area and was having a hell of a time finding a place to stay. Macau is quite pricey in terms of this, after all it is a tourist town. I was about to consign myself to sleeping in an alley way when a local about my age named Gloomy came up and asked me if I needed help. I explained that I was trying to find a budget room to crash and we walked around. He was really helpful and eventually we found something acceptable and in a good location from the main spots.
Next day I walked about and got to see the interesting fusion of Portuguese and far east elements. It was pretty neat, some of it reminded me of the Philippines actually. Crowded alleyways, cheap eats, this place was also very similar to Hong Kong, of course the later being only a few km eastward. I first headed towards the Macau tower which at 338m is one of the highest around. One can take a record breaking plunge with the bungee but I wasn't feeling that (call me a pussy it's ok), instead I really wanted to
do the mast climb and climb to the very top of the tower. Unfortunately I was told it took a week's booking. Dejectedly I looked at the list and just went on the skywalk, which was quite tame compared to some other stuff. Still was cool and gave me a nice view of the city and I did some stuff like hang off the ledge and kung fu kicks as I fly along with the harness. Still next time that mast climb will be mine!
Following this I proceeded to the main strip. I really felt like I was back in Vegas. Major casinos were about like the MGM grand, Venetian, City Of Dreams, Grand Lisboa, Starworld, you get the idea. Not nearly as awe inspiring as the Vegas strip though. Inside countless individuals were busy throwing they're money away. The casinos only accepted Hong Kong currency.
I went up Guia Hill where a fortress and old Portuguese tower and church rested and walked all around, then descended and went towards the Fisherman's Wharf on the eastern side of the city. This was super tacky and all the buildings seemed so fake so I got the hell out
During the next day I went to St. Paul's Cathedral Ruins, it was more impressive than I'd expected but too many people. Surrounding it was lots more Portuguese architecture making me feel like I was in Europe if it wasn't for so many Asians surrounding me. There was some parks and a nearby Protestant cemetery around as well.
I also called Continental airlines about my way home and fumed when I was told my ticket had expired. One of they're agents had given me the wrong info saying it was an open ticket all the way until October and now it's gonna cost me a shit ton more cash to get back home. Fuck airlines. They suck ass. But I will be filing a claim with them when I do eventually get home and hopefully something positive will come out of it. But probably not because airlines suck.
Walking near my area in the evening I ran into Gloomy again. His girlfriend had kicked him out and he was walking home wearily. I walked on to the Casino strip to see them by night. Very lit up as to be expected, and I went into
the MGM and played about a buck fifty worth of slots and then got frustrated and left. I found this really Chinese street side restaurant serving all they can put on your plate and cost practically nothing. It was my restaurant of choice here in Macau.
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