And so it begins...
A journey into the vast unknown of Macau, the former Portuguese colony that was handed over to China in 1999. Casino gambling has been a (legal) part of Macau for 150 years, however it wasn't until Macau's casino concessions were opened to international gaming companies in 2000 that the rest of the world stood up and took notice of Asia's Las Vegas. Shortly thereafter, The MGM's, Sands' and Wynns of the world began circling Macau looking for prime parcels of land on which the would build out their Asian gambling palaces.
Macau is made up of three islands - Macau, Taipa and Coloane. The sea between the southern most island of Coloane and its neighbor Taipa has been "reclaimed" as land (serious!) and has been given the name Cotai. It is in this fertile area between the mountains of Taipa and Coloane that the famed "Cotai Strip" is currently under construction.
But back to the issue at hand. The bean counters here have decided that they want to send me over to Macau in September 2007. Obviously they want me to visit the damn place and bring back as many photos, reviews, tips, details and other info nuggets as I can fit in my laptop and/or brain and dump it all out onto MacauTripping.com. Additionally it would probably be extremely beneficial to have a mondo-mundo trip report that encompasses the entire Macau trip experience. From conception to planning to execution to return, all documented as transparently as possible - in "real time." Hence this semi-hastily constructed blog on the extremely unfinished MacauTripping.com web site. I believe the saying goes "Mind our Dust... We're Working on Bringing You A Brand New MacauDonalds." Or something like that.
This Macau trip was sprung on me on Friday July 13, 2007, with a tentative trip date of mid-September 2007. I'll probably be in Macau for about 9 days and might go to Hong Kong for a day to visit a friend if I get sick of being in casinos 24-7.
My initial thought was to visit and review 5-7 casinos/hotels while in Macau - yeah... hotel hopping. The list? Wynn Macau, Sands Macau, Galaxy StarWorld, Grand Lisboa, Venetian Macao (which is opening in August), Crown Macau (which just opened), Grand Emperor (opened in 2006) and the good old Holiday Inn/Diamond Casino. In between all the hotel hopping, I'll probably visit some of the "under construction" sites such as Oceanus, Ponte 16, MGM Grand in Macau then head over to Cotai to scope out Macau Studio City and a bunch of the other holes in the ground.
I've been to Hong Kong twice - for a grand total of three hours stuck in the airport. I speak no Chinese or Portuguese. I'm a lousy Baccarat player - as if strategy mattered anyways. I have no idea what the conversion rate for the dollar is. I'm clueless as to what the weather is going to be like.
I know nothing.
Let's go trip Macau together.