I happened to land in Macau on the way to China (which I never reached *gotta save something for next time) because they don’t require tourist visas (vs. China’s $130 kick in the pants *wallet region, that is). All I knew before arriving was casinos and baccarat.
Macau is fascinating. It was historically a Portuguese colony that gained independence and is now the Vegas of Asia (gambling is illegal in China, Hong Kong, and most other countries in the region). Of the three major gambling epicenters (Vegas, Dubai, Macau) Macau is the only one with a history (beyond explosive mafia/oasis growth out of a desert), and thus an actual culture. The public signs and language are generally Mandarin or Cantonese but every once in a while you’ll get a Portuguese curveball that just makes you wonder.
I’m pretty fascinated about Portugal in general: this small country that has stood it’s ground (and valuable coastline) for centuries, while sitting next to one of the historically biggest superpowers of the developing world (Spain/Spanish Armada); and on top of that, they have a giant chunk of South America (Brazil) and had established colonies in the most random places (Macao, next to dynasties of Chinese giants). Enough history speculation…Wake up!
The layout is a combination of an old world Portuguese skeleton with a technological, bustling, and abundant oriental life-blood. It has beautiful Portuguese cobblestone squares connected by busy Asian streets (that go around, under, and under under), crowded markets, and dense residential alleyways. Fascinating really.
I was still cruising solo and spent much of my time:
• shooting hipster photos (returning the favor for all the Asian tourists w/ cameras around their neck in the US)
• trying to communicate and make jokes in a new language
• stumbling upon outdoor exercise equipment and Portuguese strongholds
• eating curry monster and drinking Milktea
• playing Futsal in someone else’s very small shoes (one mans trash…)
• jumping bungy
I just pretty much explained all my photos just now so there’s no need to look at them. Maybe next post.
P.s. Macau Tower Bungy – I did jump the largest *commercial bungy in the world. 233 meters. It was an incredible experience, the city was breathtaking at night, and the jump was also breathtaking itself; but I have mixed feelings about doing it alone. To put you in my frame of mind, I had just played 3 hours of futsal and was pretty out of energy/adrenaline. I arrived at the bungy, that I previously signed up for during the day, and they strapped me up, took some photos and said, “Ok, jump”, and I did. The anticipation was…uneventful. It was scary because I hadn’t seen anybody jump before me (unlike the Nevis), but it was mellow because I didn’t even have a companion or the time to psyche myself up or out or over or under or down. I’d do it again, but with someone, someone who had a good scream or jittery hands or a wild giggle or crazy eyes. So if you have crazy eyes, real googlie/shifty ones, lets bungy jump the Macau tower together.
P.p.s. The word of this post is “fascinating”. If you hadn’t noticed.