What I Did On My Summer Vacation
I just wanted to take a minute to share with y'all the long-form diary of the recent trip to Macau that I shared with Hunter and JohnH. I started typing this story out on my iPhone during the outbound flight 38 days ago, publishing chapters as quickly as I could during the trip. Jetlag be damned, I've spent nearly all of the last three weeks writing up the rest, posting the last chapter on Tuesday morning.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this trip is how Macau, in 15 years, has designed and built a bigger, brighter and in many many ways better version of Las Vegas. It's only 70% complete... in the next six weeks, two more megaresorts are opening - Wynn Palace and The Parisian. Three more are expected to open in the next 12 months - MGM Cotai, The XIII and Grand Lisboa Palace, with second and third phases of these and other resorts coming online shortly thereafter.
With the world getting smaller - via social networking, low fuel prices and cheap international airline tickets - Macau is a lot closer than one might think, in distance and expense.
Flights to Hong Kong for fall 2016 and early 2017 are ~$600USD round trip. Smart shoppers can find tons of non-stop flights from West Coast of the U.S.. Luxurious standard rooms in brand new hotels can be had for ~$150USD/night, with no resort fees. A full breakfast delivered via room service will cost $20USD. Blackjack pays 3:2, there is full odds on Craps, you'll fall in love with Sic Bo, enjoy the mystery of Baccarat and be fascinated by Fan Tan, the Chinese count-the-buttons casino game. Table game minimums range from $15USD/bet ($100HKD) on the low end to a more standard $50USD ($300HKD).
Whereas the Las Vegas Strip is controlled by two large corporations, racing to the bottom to institute anti-customer policies, defer maintenance (and pride), engage in fees and value gouging, Macau's gaming monopoly was broken by giving five other companies gaming concession licenses, and fostering their competition with oversight by active and empowered regulators. These six companies are racing to the top by providing guests with exceptional service, outrageous retail options, competitive casino games and dazzling resort amenities. All of this is set in a competitive skyline of buildings, designed at truly amazing scope and scale.
Beyond the casinos, Macau is a truly fascinating place, an bizarre and yummy intersection of Chinese and Portuguese cultures created over the 400 years that Macau was a colony of Portugal. The people of Macau are sweet, thoughtful, generous and kind. Just steps away from Macau peninsula casinos are UNESCO World Heritage ruins, ancient temples, the most breathtaking array of pawn shops and the best pork jerky you've ever eaten. The heat and humidity, while oppressive, gives Macau the feel of a urban, tropical, south east Asian paradise... chock full of true grit and enough grime to keep things honest.
I'm fully aware that - in these days of mobile phones, TL;dr and multi-screen-multi-tasking - it is nearly impossible to concentrate on anything for extended periods of time, particularly reading. I often check my phone while I'm in the middle of checking my phone. My MacauTripping diary definitely is a long read - 15 chapters - full of stories, travel tips, Macau observations, interesting people and lots of drama. Also, there are tons of high resolution photos.
I'm really proud of this collection of essays - a monster trip report, if you will - on Macau, and want to share it with all of you.
Chapter 1: Be Prepared
Chapter 2: Delirium Sets In
Chapter 3 - The Dawn
Chapter 4 - Majesty
Chapter 5 - In The Center of It All
Chapter 6 - Look Up Here, I'm In Heaven
Chapter 7 - I'm So High It Makes My Brain Whirl
Chapter 8 - I Can't Give Everything Away
Chapter 9 - Heroes
Chapter 10 - Sitting In The Chestnut Tree
Chapter 11 - Eagles In My Daydreams, Diamonds In My Eyes
Chapter 12 - Something Happened On The Day
Chapter 13 - Take Your Passport And Your Shoes
Chapter 14 - This Way Or No Way
Chapter 15 - You Know I'll Be Free
The Latest:Geography For Idiots: Sahara
The Douchebag In Daylight
The Peppermill is Kewwwl
The Future of Mirage?
The Latest Blackjack Travesty
The D Doubles Down
VegasEats: Lotus of Siam
The Cosmopolitan In Preview
Chase Hates Camp Vegas
The MGM Park Unveiled
» Complete Archive