Day Five: The Heat And The Humidity And The South China Sea
Friday, 7th September 2012. Macau.
we leave Hong Kong at 2.30 PM. I’ve misunderstood our agreement and travel underground from Tsim Hsa Tsui to the Macau Ferry Terminal at the end of the Central Line an hour earlier than we’d agreed to meet up. I sit alone at Starbucks for over an hour and wait for my travel companions without a working phone and no real chance of reaching them. all I can do is stay put and wait. they arrive at two o’clock, and tell me that was the deal all the time. they were right, and I was wrong.
the fast boat across the Pearl River Delta takes us from Hong Kong to Macau in an hour. the sky is iron grey.
Macau was a Portuguese colony for 300 years, and is a small city compared to Hong Kong. only 600 000 people live here, and most of them rely on the only real business, gambling and casinos, for their outcome. the big Las Vegas gaming houses have set up shop, and attract large crowds of gambling mad mainland Chinese, as well as people from the rest of Asia. big rollers are flown in from the mainland on private jets operated by the casinos just like in Vegas, but the mood on the casino floors is different. no children under 18 are allowed, and there is less drinking and less sexualized behaviour, at least at the Venetian where we are staying.
at night we go for dinner at La Paloma, which specializes in Portuguese and Spanish cooking. you have to cross through the old city walls to enter the restaurant. the Portuguese built solid walls to defend their city against pirate attacks. the air is so humid dew settles on all the windows, but the food is excellent.
a couple lingers at the bottom of the stairs inside the fortress walls. it’s almost impossible for them to get a taxi in the old town at night. the taxis are all across the river where the casinos are. that’s where the real money is on friday night.
the Portuguese built solid walls to protect themselves from the heat and the humidity and the pirates of the South China Sea.