I have been to Macau before, but never experienced the casino-culture. Macau is an old Portuguese port–close to 500 years old. So an old section of town has been maintained–primarily for tourists. Today, the Portuguese population is about 10,000 out of a population of 500,000. There is also a small Macanese population (Chinese-Portuguese).
The economy of Macau is gambling. This is the main employer. Most of the people come from around Asia.
So we went to Macau and stayed 2 nights at the Venetian–yes the same as Las Vegas.
The trip started with a ferry ride from Kowloon to Macau–a 60 minute ride. We caught the hotel shuttle to the hotel.
Dorothy was our expert in gambling–so she was the one to experience that aspect of Macau. Dorothy proceeded to double her money at the casino. Well, let me say–doubled her $100 HK to $200HK so she made about $12 US. The exchange rate was something of a challenge for her in terms of keeping track of her winnings. She came back to the room a bit disturbed by the people who invaded her personal space. She had a personal stalker. She also concluded that in comparison to Las Vegas, people in Macau play at the tables rather than the penny machines. This fits with some figures I’ve seen that show that more money comes in through gambling in Macau than Las Vegas, but fewer people go to Macau. People who go to Macau spend more money. Dorothy stayed with the machines. We never could get Dorothy to explain what coins she used.
The first night we also went to a big show–Dancing Waters. We figured out how to take one hotel bus to another hotel to go to the show–this is a free public transportation system in Macau. It was pretty much over the top in terms of special effects and the physical gymnastics and diving. And then totally out of context, motorcycle daredevils entertained us.
The highlight of the day for Dorothy was finding the food court in the Venetian. Out of the 23 restaurants, there were 3 western–Fatburger, pizza, and fruit smoothy place. The rest were asian varieties. Dorothy had a fatburger and coke. In fact Dorothy is very talented at communicating her needs related to coke in almost any language. Getting ice into the coke or the lemon slice out are totally different issues…
The next day we took a open air tour bus and got off at the old part of town. Macau has beautiful old architecture with black and white tile plazas and old churches. After walking up to the ruins of St. Paul’s and eating egg tarts, we went to a Starbucks for coffee. Dorothy went across the street and picked up a coke at McDonalds and slinked in to sit with us. An Australian proceeded to chat with us for a very long time. We think he might have been lonely.
We then went to catch the tour bus again and ended up chatting with an Australian couple who is pretty much traveling around the world. They were also very friendly.
After we came back we again went to the food court to our special area–near the 3 western booths. Also we had pancakes at McDonalds every morning–all in the Venetian.
Dorothy went to the casino again and in the end was out $9 US in the end (she thinks). But came back to the room early because of invasions of her personal space once again.
We could not bring ourselves to take a gondola ride in the channel–they were vacuuming things up along the canal in the morning, it smelled like chlorine and it just looked silly. The street signs showed the way to the bathrooms and food court.
I think I don’t need to go to Macau again.