Asian Vegas

First of all, thank you to Paul for publishing this post for me. I’m now in China, where they don’t like my SIM card, Facebook, Twitter or Blogger. For the next few weeks I’ll be writing this blog and then having to email it to the Netherlands to be published!

But rewind to Macau for now.

Macau is a funny old place. To those who have even heard of it, it’s a poor-man’s Hong Kong, a place that has had a similar history but never got quite off the ground.

When you visit Macau, you do agree, it is a funny old place. First of all, when you get off the ferry, after weirdly enough going through immigration, there is a total lack of public transportation to take you anywhere. That doesn’t mean there isn’t transportation at all – there’s plenty. The 40+ casinos in town all operate free shuttle buses, indirectly creating a pretty handy public transportation network if you’re able to use it creatively enough.

Last time, Amy and I only spent about four or five hours in Macau, getting completely lost in the Old Town, quickly checking out the Casino Lisboa and Wynn Casino before almost melting in the oppressive heat and heading back to Hong Kong toot sweet.

But this time, we headed for the big guns; the granddaddy of casinos, the Venetian. This one is three times the size of its Vegas cousin and the biggest in the world. It was simply amazing – terribly cheesy but it sucked me on big time. So much so that ninety percent of my photos of Macau are actually of sights such as the Grand Canal, St Mark’s Square and gondolas.

We checked out a few other casinos, like the MGM Grand before realizing that we couldn’t really leave before seeing some of Macau itself. We took in the obligatory sights – the ruins of St Paul’s Church and the town square, the latter of which wasn’t nearly as impressive this time around, still full of temporary fencing more than a year on yet nothing seems to have changed.

Meanwhile, less than a kilometre down the road a new casino seemingly opens its doors every month and construction sites are a common sight. While everyone’s watching the boom cities of Dubai, Shanghai and Doha, nobody is watching Macau. Who knows, another year down the track and all of our photos of Macau may be of St Mark’s Basilica and none to show of the ruins of St Paul’s.

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