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September 08, 2008

Casino-a-go-go. And singing Camels.

Macau's main attraction, and main source of revenue, is gambling. We visited a few of the casinos whilst we were there. Not to spend big bucks you understand - we are past masters at making $20HKD (about €2) last half-hour on a fruit machine.

We had a fun evening at the Grand Lisboa. This is a distinctive building shaped like a lotus flower that you can see from virtually every vantage point on Macau. Up close it appears to be covered with shimmering flashing lights, but from a distance this in fact form a giant building-sized video screen which shows cartoon clips of gambling chips and fruit machine reels.


We got to see some of the "entertainment" as well. Every ten minutes or so, the bar in the middle of the casino floor filled up with men, and onto the stage emerged a troupe of girls for the most unenthusiastic and  least sexy cabaret 'exotic' dancing I have ever witnessed. The nadir was a routine to Europe's "The Final Countdown" with the girls dressed in tail-equipped cat suits, with fake lion roars over-dubbed onto the music.

We were in a cocktail bar on the mezzanine floor, which had its own cabaret duo who were pretty special. When he was crooning "Careless Whisper", he was so off key that we were wincing in advance of the high notes, because you knew how painfully off pitch they were going to be.

We also paid a brief visit to the MGM Grand casino. One thing that was interesting for us is that if you were going to set up a casino to attract Brits, then obviously one of the key revenue streams would be to ply the punters with booze. Not so in China. The MGM Grand only had one bar area - and we couldn't get in because we didn't meet the dress code!

On Taipa Island, rather than the Macau mainland, we visited the Crown Casino. This was much more old-fashioned than the new Vegas-style casinos. It was mostly card and dic games, not fruit machines, and instead of having one big open floor, the games were each in their own small rooms.

The fourth casino we tried out was the Wynn.


We actually preferred this over all of them. The decoration was rather more tasteful, and we found a great little bar - the Cinnebar.



You got to sit outside by a small pond equipped with turtle fountains, it was really comfy and beautifully lit. They also did a mean mojito - plus a special guava mojito which we didn't attempt, but which sounded intriguing.


One of the images you often see in Macau tour guides is of two statues of camels who appear to be singing or gargling. We never knew where they were, but it turned out they were in the Cinnebar courtyard within Wynn, so as well as sipping some of the best mojitos we'd had in a long while, we got to see a landmark too!


Another "special" feature of the Wynn is the water display. Every 15 minutes the water feature outside the hotel erupts into a fountain of lights, water and fire, and loud music pumps out of concealed speakers.



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the amount of energy those obscene buildings suck up and the amount of CO2 they pump out is beyond belief

This looks like an amazing trip. I'm green with travel-envy!

And this just cracked me up: "...the nadir was a routine to Europe's "The Final Countdown"..." Can't help but think of Arrested Development, and laugh even more.

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