Since Macau is only a short ferry ride away from Hong Kong, we decided to head over there for a day. My friend Shawn knew someone who lives there so we promised to have dinner with him in the evening. In the meantime, we killed time walking around the area.
Macau is a small island known for its vast amount of casinos. Casinos are merely a block or so away from one another and if you can’t walk to one, odds are you can take a free shuttle bus to one. I can’t really compare it to Las Vegas since I have never been there but I feel like they would share a lot of similarities. There are a variety of small to humongous casinos, like the Venetian. The Venetian was our first stop and is known to be the biggest casino in the world. Not only is there a giant casino, but there is also a huge mall area too. Like you would expect from the name, the mall area mimics Venice by having canals and rowboats that you are able to ride. The wall and ceiling are painted in a sky blue with clouds and the shops are designed to look like old buildings. It was really bizarre, I took a few pictures of it:
Here’s what the Venetian looks like from the outside:
On our way out we spotted an egg tart stand. Egg tarts are a Macau delicacy so we decided to try some. They were really good, I could’ve probably eaten a half dozen of these.
We continued our tour of casinos by taking shuttle buses and walking. Here are some pictures of several of them:
After awhile, we headed away from the casinos and towards the main city. The city has a mixture of brand new buildings and rotting ones, it was interesting to see them side by side. Macau also had a lot of nice parks. The architecture of the area really reminded me of Peru which made since, since the area was Portuguese influenced.
We had a light lunch while we waited for Shawn’s friend to pick us up. It had been raining all day so we didn’t really want to head out until we needed to. Finally, his friend came by with his nice BMW. This is where the day got really fun.
Our new travel companion Stanton showed us a nice restaurant where the portions were huge and the prices were cheap. For some reason, I was super clumsy with my chopsticks that day and two pairs of them fell on the floor. The lady was nice enough to replace them right away.
After dinner, Stanton decided to give us a personal tour of the island. Walking around can only get you so far in Macau so now that we had a (nice) car, we were able to go anywhere in little time. Stanton pointed out random facts that only a native would know, such as “This restaurant used to be owned by Kim Jong Un’s uncle. However, once they tried to assassinate him, he abandoned it” or “This villa is owned by a casino mogul’s second wife. It’s right next to a restaurant I was looking for. I went to the villa instead and almost got my ass kicked by some bodyguards.” Fun anecdotes like this were very amusing to hear. We went everywhere, the beaches, quiet streets full of empty rich houses, a nice park with the original egg tart stand, and even his apartment. I’ll admit, visiting casinos was fun for about an hour or two. If we didn’t meet Stanton, the Macau trip would have been a little disappointing. Now it was one of the most fun days of our visit.
Stanton also had very funny quips throughout his tour that he kept repeating. Anytime we talked about how nice Macau is, he’d always counter with “Well, it’s so small.” For example:
“Wow, you can do a lot of things here, can’t you?”
“Yeah well, it’s because it’s so small.”
“Feel free to come back to visit anytime! Even if it’s so small.”
For some reason, he really hated whenever a certain casino’s colors would change to yellow. He would say “It’s totally disgusting. Disgusting.” Then there was his classic “That’s so mainland” (referring to China) when it came to describing the casino’s architectures and lighting. He said something about how the mainland tends to have flashier designs and more lights than their Macaun counterpart. “The electricity. Such a waste!” Just the way he delivered these lines made them so great to listen to.
After thanking Stanton for a great tour, we caught a late ferry home and got back to our hostel rather late. We only had one more full day of traveling left but I already knew that today was going to be my favorite day of the trip. Those in the area should check out Macau. Even if you’re not a big fan of casinos, it’s a nice change of pace compared to Hong Kong. Having a car made the visit a lot more convenient.