April 2007 - China

With another day of rain we were running out of time to do siteseeing so we decided that today we would head for Macau and hope for the best. I forgot to mention that on my first day in Hong Kong I was walking out of the Hotel and into the shopping centre I bumped into a very familiar face, Antoine Chahwan, former Hotel Manager of FS Sydney. He is now the newly appointed GM of Four Seasons Macau and is currently living in Hong Kong as that is where the pre-opening offices are for the Hotel. For all you Four Seasons people who remember him, he said to say hi.

Macau is only about an hour’s TurboJet ride from Hong Kong and from beginning to end the weather did not look good at all. Once we made it to Macau it was quite obvious that there had never been the money that Hong Kong had and now has. A lot of old buildings mixed in with construction sites for new casinos and of course a couple of new casinos.

It wasn’t raining much when we went into the Sands casino. Through the many baccarat tables we eventually found a roulette table, didn’t win one round, packed up and moved on. There were people all over the casino and most of them were playing Baccarat, I guess with the weather outside there was little else to do. We had lunch at a McDonalds inside, they didn’t sell small meals and they didn’t sell cheeseburger meals, only doubles so I was left with a Medium Big Mac Meal… Too much!

We walked outside the casino a little later to find the rain hadn’t cleared, it was considerably worse, so we stood in the driveway for a while wondering what to do. All the sites of the city were not covered as many were ruins. We jumped in a cab in the hope that by the time we made it to the centre of Macau the weather would have cleared up, and it did… mostly.

So we went to the ruins of St. Paul’s Church and the up to the Fortress which has a pretty good view of the city, walked down a very touristy street to the main square and then stopped off at the Grand Lisboa Casino, which was only opened in February, so almost brand spanking new and it was covered in people gambling away their life savings (or a fair portion of it). Very gaucky inside and out, especially outside since it look like a golden turban with feathers sticking out the top (still under construction).

I was hoping to see the site of the new Four Seasons Macau but as we found out it is not on the main island of Macau, it’s on an island called Taipa that is linked by a bridge to Macau. In other words we ran out of time and the weather didn’t motivate us to go exploring so we headed back to Hong Kong.

To continue our gambling adventures and on the advice of a friend living in Hong Kong we went to Happy Valley race course. I have never been that close to the races, so close that after a race the winning jockey rode by on his horse high fiving everyone with their hand up. We had a great time although our luck (or lack there of) continue across two races until we respectfully went home, a little lighter in the pocket. It’s definitely not like the races here, people don’t dress up, if you wear a hat you’ve gone too far (and believe me a couple of girls had). The race course itself is surrounded by high rise buildings that must have an awesome view of the track and it is great going out to night races.

We finished off the evening in the Blue Bar of the Hotel. Shame it’s on the ground floor, you can still see a little of Kowloon, but any higher and it would be amazing. My favourite part is a circular column that has glass tiles that are done in a mosaic style. I loved this feature so much it is now the wallpaper on my computer. I finally had a drink that tasted like what I ordered, a Caprihna that clearly had sugar in it, YAY!