Macau's Three Legged Scotch Viking Pope
Today was spent taking care of last minute preparations for the trip, gathering up final pieces of information, running a couple of errands and a side trip to the Cineramadome to see "3:10 To Yuma" (B+) with my lovely wife (A+).
This evening I took care of some clerical issues, including making a spreadsheet to keep track of all the joints I need to visit and ensuring that I cover as many 'info-bases' as possible. Additionally, I booked my first nights hotel room in Hong Kong. I had planned to stay near the airport just to keep things simple, but there is truly nothing near it and the attached hotel is US$300+/night. No thanks.
After a bunch of looking around I had narrowed the search down to two hotels - the Cosmopolitan (wink wink) which is on the Causeway east of the Bank of China building and the Holiday Inn Golden Mile in Kowloon. I decided to go with the Cosmo and booked it through Orbitz. After realizing that there is also not a lot of stuff to do in that area and getting to it from the Airport is a pain in the ass, I cancelled the reservation and booked the Holiday Inn instead. Right now, the only hotel reservation left to make is for the last night of the trip (Hong Kong). I'm going to deal with booking that when I'm in Macau.
The First Leg
Is there any way possible to enjoy an 18 hour flight? Yes... and it's a lovely concoction I like to call the "Scotch Viking". Due to the lousy restroom conditions and altitude dehydration, it's always smart to keep the booze intake to a minimum - go for the hard stuff. A "Scotch Viking" has two ingredients - Scotch (any flavor will due, but if the airplane has Chivas, take it - a double) and Vicodin. It's all about timing... I start to get my drink on about 4 hours into the flight, then pop the vike when the tingle sets in about 10 minutes after the booze makes my body temperature go up. Next time the Flight Attendant comes by, I'll order a club soda and a 'nuther scotch for long term maintenance. About an hour later, I'm usually feeling great enough to stomach whatever Ben Stiller movie or Culture Club mix they've got piping in on the small big screen. Three hours from then, I usually get another scotch to ease my way into snoresville. I don't advise anyone to do this, mixing pharms and booze can be dangerous if you don't keep your dosages of both low. One vike only.
I've been through the HK airport twice - right after the SARS and Bird Flu epidemic. Airport security was scanning passengers with thermometer guns to help contain the disease. Spooky, particularly since I had caught a cold in Thailand only days before.
The Second and Third Legs
The Hong Kong airport is quite far away from the city. It's a 40 minute cab ride (US$40) to Central Hong Kong. There is also a train and a shuttle. I'm still undecided about which to take. I'll probably do some more research on it tomorrow then decide when I hit the ground in HK.
My flight arrives at 10:30pm on Wednesday 9/12 - yeah, you lose a day when flying west back east. The caveat is, you gain a day going the other way... my flight out of HK leaves at 8am and arrives in Los Angeles at 9:20am... spiffy! After the flight lands, I'm going to bee-line straight for the Holiday Inn, possibly grab some food and walk around Kowloon a little bit, take some photos and inquire at the hotel about reservations for the Macau ferry the following day. The ShunTak Ferry Terminal is in central Hong Kong, just over the bay from Kowloon. I imagine it's a 10 minute cab ride at best... I'm probably going to poke around Kowloon a little bit more then head to the Ferry terminal for a lunch time jaunt to Macau.
The Ferry to Macau is actually a high speed yacht boat thingy that zips to Macau in about 40 minutes. The Venetian just bought their own fleet of hydrofoils for use by high rollers. I'm hoping to take one of these on the way back, since I will be checking out of the Venetian on the last day. Apparently, the ride to Macau is a rough one due to the speed and bounce of the boats. I've read numerous accounts of this trip including people being tossed about in their seats and tons of folks barfing over the side of the boat. On the way back to HK, the boats are filled with gamblers who've wagered (and lost) nearly every penny they have - broke to the point of weeping and outrageous fits. If I have any luck at all in Macau, it will be witnessing seasickness and destitute gamblers freaking out.
Once the ferry arrives in Macau, I'm going to get out and kiss the ground. Doesn't the pope do shit like this? Depending on the time, I may head straight to Galaxy Star World to check in or just stroll down Avenue de Amizade and take it all in.
Or I might hail the first cab to Wynn and kiss the floral tile inlays on the floor. All I know is that for a week and change, I'm gonna be Pimp Pope of Macau.