MacauTripping Chapter 4 - Majesty
"Owwwwww! Ow ow ow ow oweeee." Deep breaths deep breaths deep breaths. Relaaaaax. An epic cramp in my right calf has woken me from a deep deep sleep. I sometimes get these the morning after spending extended time on my feet, particularly after long band rehearsals where I'm balancing on one leg while manipulating guitar effects pedals with the other.
No amount of relaxation is helping, the cramp has now contracted the muscles in my right calf, ankle foot, thigh and ham string. I'm writing in pain in bed. Breathe breathe breathe. No dice. Pain pain pain. My left leg then begins to contort and all the muscles in my thigh go into spasm and eventually the knee, calf and foot.
Here I am... lying in bed at the Sofitel Ponte 16, both legs suddenly sent into a full spasm. I tried to get up and slid half way onto the floor, pulling the covers off the bed. Ow OW OOOOOOOOOW. Is this going to be the day of my demise? What will they tell my wife? "Ms. Monster, your husband died of an acute combination of dehydration and sight seeing." I grab one of the casino water bottles I've been stashing in the wings of my messenger bag and alternate sips and deep breaths. Slowly, the muscles relax and the pain subsides.
I hobble to the toilet and draw a bath. When stepping on the tiles in the bathroom, they whistle like I'm stepping on a teeny tiny squeaky toy. Naturally, I do a little barefoot dance and turn the floor into a high pitched mini-accordion. I draw a bath, grab more water bottles and climb in for a good soak. Aaaaaaaaah.
After the tub, I dry off and climb back in bed for a few more hours of shut eye.
Not dead yet.
I wake up at about 4am local time, get out the laptop and write. I'm optimistically hoping that I'll write about the previous days' exploits the following morning while everything is still fresh in the mind. We'll see how long that works out (It didn't). My wife pings from stateside and we chat about everything, including the aforementioned cramp episode. She tells me that I need to drink more water. I follow her direction and drink two quarts of water from a bottle I bought and have been refilling from the tap. Some hotel water tastes like horrible.
In addition to hydrating, I've been nourishing myself this morning with an entire bag of Haribo gummy bears, sugar-coated gummy orange slices, plus three small boxes of raisins, a half-bag of Swedish Fish and the crushed up leftover crumbs from a bag crunchy Cheetos I've been pecking at for a few days. Room service is one button away, but I'm so focused on writing that I keep putting it off until the past possible moment. That moment is 9:40am. I call down to room service and order some food - a hamburger with fries. This is what I want to eat.
Simultaneously, I begin disassembling my battery charging set up, import data from camera SD cards, clean camera lenses and pack up my go bag and my suit case.
The room service is here, and the porter suggests we set the food up by the window so I can dine with a view. He's absolutely right. I tip him with cash and he gasps.
The burger was great. Oh shit, I gotta leave. I quickly grab the GoPro and do a room walkthrough. I normally do these with an iPhone using 4k software, but something is wrong in the settings and I can't figure it out now. After doing a quick video, I run through the shower, grab my bags and split.
Today, I'm heading to Crown hotel inside of City of Dreams on Cotai. I've put on my custom made ālon shirt to mark the occasion, since there will be a Crown tower inside of the forthcoming property. I'm somewhat averse to taking cabs. I really want to walk and wander and use the network of casino shuttles to get places. Every hotel has a shuttle that goes to the various transit hubs - airport, Macau or Taipa ferry terminals and the Macau or Cotai of the border gates. It is easy to use these hubs as bus junctions. I ponder taking the Sofitel bus to the north border gate and then hopping a shuttle to City of Dreams. When I get on the line for the Sofitel bus, the attendant waves me out of the line and points me towards the hotel lobby so I can check in. Language barrier.
My plan B was to walk back towards peninsula casino center and catch a City of Dreams shuttle that picks guests up outside of the Mocha Club at Hotel Sintra which is operated by the same company. Studio City and Altira are also part of this mini-transit network. There are a half dozen small Mocha Clubs dotting the neighborhoods of Macau, these are smaller operations which cater more to locals who want to gamble.
I actually feel great today. The jet lag is weird, but I don't feel fatigued any more. I take my time strolling towards Hotel Sintra, exploring a few side streets and eventually Senado Square. I'm amused to find group sitting under a tent blasting recordings of a chanting protest.
Some of you won't believe what the sign says:
Macau Federation of Family Reunion
The lotus are in bloom.
And so are the casinos. Left to right: Grand Lisboa (two greenish gold buildings), Hotel Lisboa (white), Wynn Macau (chocolate), MGM Macau (tri-color).
I arrived at Hotel Sintra just as a City of Dreams shuttle departs. A Studio City bus boarding now. I wait. Knowing what I know now, I would've hopped the Studio City bus and the hopped the shuttle that goes to CoD from Studio City.
The shuttle went out by the Macau tower, then over the Sai Van Bridge towards Taipa and eventually Cotai. I'm transfixed out the window. The weather we're having is certifiably incredible - gorgeous, deep, clear blue skies with no haze and no pollution. I've looked at hundreds of thousands of Macau photos and this type of weather is a real rarity.
The bus makes its way through Sai Van pointe and towards Cotai, passing the Macau Jockey Club, the under-construction Roosevelt Hotel project when.... bwaaaaa. The majestic and massive Cotai skyline comes into view.
Wow. This is the only word that can accurately describe it.
The bus arrives at City of Dreams, upon entry I'm waved into the cloak room and relieved of my luggage. No bags are allowed in the casino, and the only way to get to Crown from here is via the casino or the shopping promenade upstairs. I'm usually a DIY'er, I prefer to manage my own bags, find my own way and figure things out on my own. Here, I have no choice.
Once through the metal detectors, the casino exudes an excitement that I haven't felt in the peninsula. The tables are a bit more crowded, the lights are brighter, the scale is massive and tables extend to infinity. CoD's casino is upscale, approachable luxury. Nothing here is finicky or preciously designed, it is bright, exuberant and fun. Unfortunately the Chinese Government forbids photography inside of the casino. I have seen security guards and casino pit bosses shut down photo people snapping photos loudly and forcefully on a number of occasions this week. They mean it... no photos.
I arrived at Crown and stepped into the lobby. Whoa.
Check in was a breeze and service throughout was impeccable. I headed up the the 21st floor and opened the door. The rooms are well designed, luxuriously appointed and cozy.
The view of Cotai is a jaw dropper. Panorama L-R: Sands Cotai Central - St. Regis (creme), Sands Cotai Central - Conrad/Holiday Inn, Studio City (opposite side of street), Parisian (with the Eiffel Tower under construction), The Plaza (lower rise brown building), Four Seasons Macao (the tall, rounded corner building), the massive Venetian Macao, Hotel Okura/Banyan Tree tower at Galaxy and then the Galaxy Hotel tower.
After photographing the room, I ordered room service, screwed my head on straight and headed downstairs to meet up with Hunter and John at the Flair Bar at Hard Rock. They've been sitting at the bar drinking fruity tropical drinks from pineapple, tikihead and Magnum P.I. shaped cocktail glasses for an hour waiting for me to get settled.
This is the first time the three of us have been together here in Macau. We drink, laugh and tell stories. Eventually, we go back to Crown so the guys can see it and my room briefly. While in the room, we make a plan to head to Sands Cotai Central and head up to Hunter's suite at Conrad to record Episode 8.
Every day in Macau contains about five days' worth of adventures, and we're just about half way through today. I've got a lot more stories to tell but I've got to head out now. More soon. Leave some comments!