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Reisverslag Macau over the weekend
4 juni 2014
Macau over the weekend
With the dragon boat festival on Monday we had ourselves a long weekend in Taiwan. Although I would’ve loved to see the dragon boat race since it’s just around the corner from where I live, it is in fact on the same river I run alongside twice a week. Despite desires I had to face facts and acknowledge that it was once again time for a visa run. After having previously seen Hong Kong I opted for Macau this time round. Whilst living in Bangkok I had spent much time gazing at the Air Asia promotion posters to destinations such as Macau. Spend enough time looking at any exotic destination and you will end up becoming a little curious about that destination.
Macau is situated only a mere 60 odd kilometres from Hong Kong to the west, I even flew over Hong Kong just before landing in Macau. The airport is almost directly next to the larger than life casinos and while taxiing to the gate you could already make out some of these famous casinos behind the airport. The airport itself is small and when you go through the exit it becomes very clear that this place is all about gambling. There are busses and taxis to take you where you need to go, or you can take any of the dozen or so free shuttle busses to take you to the casino advertised on that bus. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these casinos had up to 50 or more of these shuttle busses and I call them shuttle busses but some of them had a capacity of 50+ people.
After a short and cheap bus ride with a normal bus I got off and looked around for accommodation and was surprised by a heat not unlike the heat in Bangkok during April and May. Accommodation was found in a rustic monumental building which means it was old as f*** and had none of the modern commodities that you would like, but it seemed like the cheapest one around and I really didn’t want to spent any more time walking outside in the unbearable heat with my luggage.
A quick shower had freshened me up and I was ready to attack the city. I should tell you that on my bus ride of only 15 minutes I had already rode passed the Venetian and got off in front of the Lisboa casino which were 2 of the sights I had wanted to see and on my walk to the guesthouse I walked past Senado square. So really I had only one highlight left to see to tick off all my must sees for this weekend.
Macau felt as a very pleasant city to walk around in, it’s super compact (all of Macau isn’t much bigger than average city) and it felt distinctly Mediterranean. All the signs are in Cantonese Chinese, Portuguese and in small English print at the bottom. The old city centre was littered with old ruins, churches, cathedrals and other religious buildings. There were also many souvenir shops specializing in meat jerkies and egg tarts and pork sandwiches, all of which tasted great by the way. I wondered aimlessly through the centre enjoyed it thoroughly, sometimes I had to find shelter from the heat but some museums along the way made sure that I could still soak up the culture as I lowered my body temperature again.
Had a lovely first day and got to see all the sights, including the ruins of the church of St. Paul, which was the picture I saw on those Air Asia posters so many times. Also had a good time taking pictures with my new phone which has now replaced my old camera, which started to be a big of annoyance when it yet again failed to take a decent shot.
At night time I walked around some of the casinos on the peninsular part of Macau and saw how the city turned into a well lit up miniature version of Vegas.
Since day one had been all about historic culture, day two would be spent about the more modern day Macanese culture. For those of you who don’t know this Macau is called Las Vegas of the east for a reason. After a change in the laws gambling became legal and a more recent change allowed foreign businesses to set up casinos in Macau as well. This didn’t go unnoticed by the big name Vegas casinos and soon they all came here to start building their new gigantic casinos. Today you can find the following casinos in Macau; The Sands, MGM, Wynn, The Venetian, Crown and the Rio to name a few. Not having been to Vegas myself I can’t really compare but I imagine that some of the casinos could rival with the ones in Vegas for size and stature.
I like to be impressed by old or well-designed buildings that inspire or have been significant in history, which I guess I was a bit by the ruins of St. Paul but I was in awe with these modern day manmade marvels. It wasn't necessarily my favoured taste, but you had to appreciate the sheer magnitude of it and the attention to detail. The entire day was spent hopping for one casino to the next and sometimes hopping on a shuttle bus to take me to another part of Macau to see was gigantic casinos they had there. I didn’t really feel like gambling my money away but I couldn’t resist sitting down at the tables if for no other reason that one cannot go to the gambling capital of the east and not place a single bet.
On my final day I chose to get some visit historical stuff and just enjoy walking around in this one of a kind place. All in all it was a very nice weekend break and in interesting place to visit. However where I immediately felt in Hong Kong that I could live there, it was almost as quick for me to realise that I would never want to live in Macau. So if you want to go visit here, by all means go do it, but I think 2 days is perfect, spent one day to visit the old stuff and one day to visit the glitzy hedonistic stuff. One thing I really missed though was the travel vibe I didn’t get a chance to talk to any other travellers while I was there, but if you want to meet degenerate gamblers you’re golden.