By no means am I a casino gambler, nor do I pretend to be. For some odd reason, Macao had always been on my list of places to visit. Curiosity got the best of me and I spent the better part of April there.
I am familiar with Las Vegas like so many other Westerners. Las Vegas is the go-to place for excitement, entertainment and for some, letting yourself go. Macao is very much the Las Vegas of Asia except the casinos are massive in Macao and gamblers queue up to play the games. It is also safe to say the people in Macao are far more civilised than those in Las Vegas.
I was entirely blown away by the size of Macao’s casinos and I watched the gamblers with intense fascination. The sounds of the casinos were the same, though the games and slot machines made no sense to me. Many of the casino/resort names are the same: Hard Rock, Caesar’s Palace, The Venetian and The Wynn. The Macao counterparts make Las Vegas look miniature.
The Macao Fountain is a good example of the familiar and mimics the grand fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Songs we know are beamed through a sound system and timed to spouting water from the lake. The watching crowds are fewer in Macao probably because they are all inside waiting to gamble their money away. The entertainment value of the fountains lived up to all expectations.
Away from the casinos, Macao is a real living city. By simply walking a street or two over, a more genuine way of life takes place. Local shops catering to residents, homes and a life seemingly untouched by the glitz and neon. I find this bit far more interesting.
Interestingly enough, Macao remains in my mind and nears the top of places to re-visit.
Consider these interesting facts about Macao::
:: Macau is the only place in China where you can gamble legally.
:: Fifty percent of Macau’s revenue comes from gambling, and 20% of its population is employed by the casinos.
:: Macau is the last Asian country to remain a European colony. The last Portuguese governor left it in 1999.
:: It was also the first Asian country ever to be colonized when the Portuguese came in the 16th century.
:: Macau once served as the trafficking point for Chinese slaves being brought to Portugal to be sold.
:: Cycle rickshaws, locally called trishaw, were once the primary transport method in Macau. Now, tourists and foreigners use them for exploring.
:: Macau’s thriving tourism industry called for the construction of new hotel rooms at a rate of 16.4 a day until the year 2009.
:: If you would piece together the land masses Macau has added to its territory since 1998, it would approximately be equal to the size of 700 football arenas.
:: Although Macau is now in China, it still maintains its own currency and border controls.
:: Flights from mainland China to Macau are still treated as international flights.
Map Showing the Location of Wynn Macao and the Fountains