Posted by: Sam Olsen | April 11, 2012

Macau Madness

What a weekend! Happy Easter everyone. We’re partied out here after having double newlywed visits from the Calverts and the Dennisons. Friday night saw us out on the junk in rather damp and dreary weather, followed by vaguely traditional chinese food at Under Bridge Spicy Crab. Saturday we headed to Macau on the ferry. It’s an easy if time-consuming process, because the immigration queues at Macau stretch for a long way. But once through, we hopped aboard the Venetian’s courtesy bus and were ferried the ten minute ride to the hotel. 

Macau isn’t dissimilar from Vegas, there are lots of big hotels everywhere and not much taste. The Venetian is the largest, and it is the size of a small town. Decked out with gold trim everywhere you look and fake frescos on the ceiling, we had to trek through the smoke-filled casino area to get to our rooms. There were row upon row of fruit machines with chinese folks concentrating hard. On the positive side, I saw far more people actually gambling at tables compared to Vegas which I found a real let down in that regard when I visited many years ago. 

The bedroom was at least half the size of our flat, but we didn’t linger, as we had plans to visit Fernandos for some traditional Portuguese/Macau food. Yum; garlic prawns, stodgy beef stew, fresh salads and sangria. No wonder there was an hour wait for a table! Back at the hotel we explored some more and us ladies arranged to meet up later and surprise Richard with a birthday gondola ride.  Afterwards the bar was fun but trashy, prostitutes hanging around the westerners who come each weekend to escape their jobs in mainland China.  The band was fun, although each time they took a break there was a pair of dancing girls who came on stage in their undies and writhed about. We complained to the waitress that there wasn’t any male totty to ogle and she reported she’d been asking for this for years! 

We heard from our gondolia that the Venetian Macau makes as much in one month as Venetian Vegas does in a year. I can see why; room charge of GBP 250 or thereabouts, no free drinks except the odd coffee for the gamblers, shops are all designer high end, and minimum gamble of around GBP40 on most of the tables. There are few bars in the hotel, the pool takes fifteen minutes to find, and the food is pretty grotty. It’s not built for westerners or non-gamblers; simple formula and it works!  The other trick they play, as with many casinos, is pumping oxygen into the atmosphere (partly to diffuse the foul smoke here), but it sure keeps one awake; by 2 am I was still bouncing around on the dancefloor and the boys had all headed off to gamble some more. 

Anyway, we made it back safely, had a delicious roast on Sunday and a flying visit from Becks. Monday off to Po Toi island which is off the south of Stanley and made a relaxing change from commercialism and craziness. Now, the last of our visitors has gone, for this week, roll on next Thursday, and so here we are, in front of the TV watching five-year-old episodes of Spooks. Domestic bliss! 

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