And so it was that we found ourselves on the return flight from Beijing to Shenzhen, considerably less drunken but considerably more travel sick (me). This was compounded on the ferry trip to Macau, which resulted in a happy ten minutes retching into a paper bag by the ladies toilets alongside other miserable travellers. Rarely has there been a more glamorous arrival into Macau.
I have never been to a big gambling resort, but (unfairly) my expectations of Macau were pretty low. On arrival, the shock of the size, the gaudiness and the excess on display was a bit over-whelming. But travel isn’t just about seeing ancient wonders, but new ones as well. And that is what these are – wonders. They may not be to everyone’s taste, but you cannot deny that that these new builds hold the same command on their environment as any other greater building.
We headed past ‘new’ Macau and out to the docks to the Sofitel Macau; it was undoubtedly very lush and nice rewards after Beijing. That said, it was a bit soulless, and most people just seemed to spend all day in the casino. This I found weird and uncomfortable, but I can understand how it happens – we went to the Venetian that night, and ended up staying about 6 hours without realising. I mean part of that was in a English themed pub. Don’t judge us.
The Venetian was a strange place; a central gambling area which looked identical from all sides, meaning you were constantly disorientated. Off all sides were restaurants and shops, plus a fake indoor canal (as you do). I did get to try on a Burberry trench, which broke my heart with its beauty and terrible, hideous expense. £40 from a single spin of some wheel thing was enough for me, and the boys left slightly up.
The next day we went exploring the older quarter near our hotel, and it blew my mind. I absolutely adored it; decaying Portuguese buildings, fantastical back alleys with full of small Chinese businesses, European style piazzas and crumbled church façades, and surprisingly few tourists. The Puffin Cafe also gets a massive thumbs up, so good we went the next day as well. Cheap (for Macau) and scrumptious buffalo wings.
The afternoon was spent by the pool, the boys sunbathing, me hiding under a umbrella to protect my vampire skin. I couldn’t do it all the time, but that afternoon was a gorgeous change of pace. That evening we hit the casino in the hotel, and I won £50. Then left, because I know my weaknesses, and I could hear the siren call to place just one more bet… The boys did well, clearing a few hundred so fair play to them.
And so we hit our last day – after some souvenir shopping we went our separate ways. Remembering to take my travel sickness tablets meant that the ferry ride was a breeze, I got extra leg room on the Hong Kong to Dubai leg, and then an early arrival into Manchester. A perfect end to a pretty perfect trip.
p.s. the foot was an infection picked up from dirty water… it got better.