Monday, April 9, 2012

Snapshots of Macau

I've been to Macau twice now. It's a Special Administrative Region of China (like Hong Kong) but was colonized by the Portuguese. It's basically a city-state that China sort of controls. It is relatively small- you can get to one side of the country to another within half an hour. Interesting to note: Macau has the world's second highest life expectancy in the world.

The growth of it's economy is highly dependent on it's tourism from Mainland China (just a short ferry ride away) and the constantly developing casinos. In fact, Macau brings in more revenue from gambling than Las Vegas.

A view of some of the casinos. Macau is much more open than the Vegas strip.
Some of the same casinos from Vegas can be found in Macau. The casinos are primarily owned between two groups. Stanley Ho and his family and Steven Wynn.

Casino Lisboa

Casino Lisboa (behind us) is one of the first casinos established by Stanley Ho. Prostitution is not legal in Macau, however, there's a hallway in this casino where beautiful Mainland Chinese girls literally parade back and forth for 8 hour shifts, trying to get the attention of the men watching. The hotel gets a cut of what the girls make in the hotel rooms upstairs.

My favorite casino is The Galaxy. It's truly a sensory experience. You walk in and it's colorful, textural, and smells like heaven. Seriously, I don't know what they put in the air but it's lightly perfumed throughout all the halls.

An Amazing Cirque-de-Soliel type show in the casino, City of Dreams. It's a water show with creative stage production (the stage becomes a 12 foot deep pool or a series of ledges for motorbikes or a water fountain show). This is a shot of the epic high dive. Three of the performers are hanging off a cage that the princess is trapped in!
I gambled for the first time in Macau - even though I had already visited Vegas (see here for details) - of course, I lost some money. Many of the players are old Chinese grandpa and grandmas. There isn't the "party party party" vibe that Vegas elicits.

If you're not a gambler, Macau is still a great place to visit. It is interesting to see the Portuguese influence in a Chinese country. There are beautiful buildings and pretty tiled roads.

These pastel colors are common in the historic districts of Macau.

Pretty tiled pathways.

The "Ruins". Just the facade is left standing.

A residential section of Macau. You can see China across the river.
Macau has been a great place to visit for the day. It's only an hour ferry ride away and it's a great retreat from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. It's a pretty place to stretch out your arms and legs and lose a little money.
My teammates enjoying the fresh air.

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