Arriving in Macau, I had high hopes. I have heard that this place is Las Vegas of the Orient and in some ways that it even surpasses Vegas. I was very sceptical as Las Vegas is my favourite place to unwind and have some fun. I have been to Vegas 16 times and I will be back there to in about a month to unwind after this expedition. You could call me a Vegas expert, so I think I am qualified to make a good comparison.
Immediately, I noticed that Macau is very different. First and most important is the lack of smoking regulation, anywhere! The Chinese love their cigarettes, probably because in China, smoking is cheaper than breathing. A package of Marlboros cost about $1.10 USD and a package of Chinese cigarettes can be as little as $0.50 USD. The Chinese see that smoking is a right, but they forget to notice that breathing clean air is also a right. It was very annoying and hard for me to look over. I sat down to play some no limit Texas Hold’em poker and I was the only on at the table that was not smoking. I could not wait to lose my chips so I could get up and leave.
Aside from the smoking, the look of the casinos was very similar, with one major difference. They are HUGE! The canals of Venetian are built on the third floor above the casino floor and they seem to go on for miles. No expense was spared in building these monster resorts, but the town is so spread out with large distances between the casinos, so it lacks the “Vegas Strip” feel. You can’t walk anywhere. You need to take free shuttle busses to a central hub and then on to various other casinos. To conclude, this place, as nice as it is, will never touch Las Vegas.
Now that I have cleared up that this place is in fact not Las Vegas, there are some very nice things here that Vegas does not have. There is a rich Portuguese history, with many colonial style buildings. Also, the areas surrounding the casinos have a very European feel. As I walked down the hill from my hotel, I felt like I was walking through the streets of Spain.
My favourite thing about Macau was the food. Out of all of the fabulous restaurants and markets that I have eaten at in the world, my favourite meal is still just a simple American Classic, Fatburger. I was informed that there was a Fatburger in Venetian’s food court. They actually import the beef from the United States. As much as I am enjoying the exotic and flavourful food on this expedition, it was nice to have a taste from home!