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88 Days To Macau: Episode 10 - The Lost Episode

88 Days To Macau Podcast

88 Days To Macau: Episode 10 - Lost Episode

This is the Lost Episode. As previously mentioned, the audio of this recording was bunked up by interference caused by a shorting ballast in my suite at Encore. Our apologies. Hunter has managed to get the audio transcribed for those who want to skip the audio and still glean the information.

Stream the episode here, and read along below.

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The Lost Episode Transcript

John:
They were testing 'Hey Big Spender' and 'Beethoven's 5th" at The Palace today.

Hunter:
What was that like?

John:
It was weird and fun. You kind of got the sense that everybody kind of noticed it was happening and walked over and saw it, so it just had this natural gravitational thing.

Hunter:
And they didn't seem to care that you were cruising?

John:
No, they had a little tent - like an E-Z UP set up with all the people from WET just to play and everything off of Windows XP machines. There was a security guard and he was just hanging out talking to people and not shooing anyone away.

Hunter:
Sweet. 'Hey Big Spender'.

John:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Hunter:
It's interesting, I never really thought about it. I never really thought about the songs. Obviously, that's a song that's at the Bellagio.

John:
Right.

Hunter:
I wouldn't at all be surprised to see something like, ‘Luck Be a Lady’ show up.

John:
That plays here, I think.

Hunter:
Does it?

John:
Yeah.

Chuck:
Did you guys get a ... Sorry.

Hunter:
No, it's okay. Go ahead.

Chuck:
Did you guys get a departure gift yet?

John:
From them? No.

Hunter:
Nope.

John:
I got one from Crown.

Chuck:
The soap thing?

John:
Yeah, the soap thing.

Hunter:
No, no one is happy for me to depart, apparently. They want me to stay, so they're not willing to give me anything. What is that?

John:
Wow.

Hunter:
Perishable items that cannot be re-imported into the United States?

John:
This is a precious commodity now. That' kind of cool.

Hunter:
For those keeping track at home, it's a Desert Bamboo ...

John:
The old ...

Hunter:
Yeah, the old lemongrass shit they used to have.

John:
Rare commodity.

Hunter:
I'm recording this, by the way.

Chuck:
Oh, sorry I interrupted you.

Hunter:
No, that's not an interruption. How was that framed? Where did that exist?

Chuck:
It was sitting on the desk.

Hunter:
It just said, "This is a departure gift"? We just got here.

Chuck:
Yeah, well ... I saw the box on the desk and I went over and I opened it up and there was a little note on this see-through film with a wind watermark on there that says, "Thank you for staying with us. Please accept this gift as a token of our appreciation. We hope you enjoy your stay."

Hunter:
Oh. Would you call that a departure gift? That seems like an arrival gift. What's the distinction?

Chuck:
I don't know. I'm only staying 1 night, so ... Maybe it is an arrival gift. The one at Crown said, "Thank you for staying with us, and take this with you."

Hunter:
Oh, okay.

John:
It's a really nice little ceramic ...

Chuck:
Big heavy box.

John:
(laughs) ... yeah.

Chuck:
I swear, between this and the other stuff, and that thing, my bag weighs a ton.

John:
Yeah, the tea stuff is cool. I haven't gotten anything anywhere, so, that's interesting.

Chuck:
I got a stuffed turtle.

Hunter:
Oh, I guess I'm lying. I have the duck with the dice in it from the Conrad, so I do have that. I think that's it. When I checked in there was fruit and chocolate and stuff - it looks like they did a similar thing here - which was nice. I believe that's it as far as anything out of the ordinary.

Chuck:
Every room I've checked into has had fruit in it.

Hunter:
Yeah.

Chuck:
But your fruit was outrageous.

Hunter:
It was big. It had a bunch of watermelons in it.

John:
It had a knife.

Hunter:
Yeah, it did, and I didn't really eat any of it.

Chuck:
There was a ham in there too.

Hunter:
Yeah.

Chuck:
2 watermelons, a grapefruit ...

Hunter:
It was big. They sure picked the wrong guy to give a big fruit basket to. That's the last thing that I care about.

John:
I am staying over at Crown, and I noticed today when I got back they switched out the fruit in the fruit basket.

Hunter:
Oh.

John:
Yeah, completely different fruit the second day.

Chuck:
They put different fruit, or they changed it?

John:
It was the exact same fruit, but they changed it. You could tell the orange had a little different hue on it.

Chuck:
It's got a one day shelf life. They got rid of it. I appreciate the fruit, man. That whole thing in a nutshell is really why I love Macau. They really care about their guests. I've stayed in a pretty wide range of hotel rooms from basic stuff to crazy shit to the Encore suite which is kind of massive and outrageous, and the service level, the way people have been treating you, and the amenities in the rooms, the gift when you leave ... They're happy to have you. Coming from Vegas where everything is absolutely obvious that, it makes a completely different experience. I don't even know ... I know we had talked about this at some point at various times, but it kind of makes the local Vegas thing seem a little dull in comparison.

Hunter:
It definitely feels different. I don't know if it's the natural evolution of the market, IE, 20 years from now the people will be just as jaded and cynical and penny pinching their way to every last dime out of everyone's fucking ass. I don't know if that's just the natural progression of things and this place is further along on that time scale, but it does at this point at least, hear people say, "Back in the good old days when the fucking mob ran the place, the service was important." I wasn't around. I don't know if that's true. You know, the grass is always greener syndrome I find generally fairly annoying.

Chuck:
But you've seen a trend. In the time that you've watched it you've seen things change.

Hunter:
Yes.

Chuck:
That's obvious. Even when I'm kind of changing in the biz - in Vegas, at least - I don't want to be the "Shit was better when the mob was running the joint" nonsense. Here it is really outrageous the way they operate hotels. They really welcome you, and it's refreshing and wonderful for a hotel nerd.

John:
Yeah, like Hunter's point: I thought about it today when I was writing [inaudible 00:07:11] if you were someone who was looking to get whatever [inaudible 00:07:17]

Hunter:
Yeah, there would be no buses. I was thinking about what it would be like if that McCarran had a bus for the casino and they all came, and it'd just be totally different. [inaudible 00:07:31] and say, "Fuck you." If you're important enough in the casino ...

Chuck:
Here the government is trying to decrease the number of buses that are on the road because they think it's causing congestion, so some of the casinos are going to start partnering with each other.

Hunter:
Makes sense.

John:
Yeah, that makes sense.

Chuck:
Instead of [inaudible 00:07:51]. I tell you what, the buses have been awesome for me. They've been fantastic.

John:
Yeah, they're very nice.

Chuck:
Yesterday was the second day from Sofitel I walked to the Hotel Sintra and the City of Dreams bus was there, so it was like 2, 3, 4, or 5 blocks and then I got on the bus and I was in [inaudible 00:08:16] on the bus. Yesterday I was walking around Old Town Taipa. It was in the middle of the day. It was really fucking hot, sweating, just taking pictures and looking at shit and all of a sudden I see a Studio City bus, and I'm like, I'm getting on the fucking bus. So I just B-lined to the bus, I got on the bus, and it took me to Cotai. It's kind of awesome.

Hunter:
Yeah, it's very convenient.

Chuck:
I'd never do it in Vegas. You see the Deuce. I'll never get on the Deuce. Never. No fucking way.

Hunter:
Yeah.

John:
It's different though, right? The shuttle here is like the equivalent of a tram between Mirage and Treasure Island. It's convenient if I'm at either Mirage or [inaudible 00:09:06] or you need to go to Treasure Island or whatever it is, I'll ride it or the City Center tram or whatever it is. If it's convenient and free I'll do it, and it's convenient and free.

Chuck:
If it's convenient and not free, you won't do it?

John:
Well, if it's public transportation and, you know, I'm standing closer to my fellow human than I would probably care to, then I'm probably not going to ...

Chuck:
Who smells like pee who lives in the tunnels.

John:
Yeah.

Chuck:
You know there's tunnels under the streets in Las Vegas?

John:
I've heard that, Chuck.

Hunter:
Yeah. You know, I've heard that. I've also heard that there's no clocks in the casinos and they pump in oxygen to keep you alert.

John:
(laughs)

Chuck:
(laughs) And the carpets are designed to make you confused and not know where you are.

Hunter:
Right. The carpets and ceilings.

John:
The carpets are designed so you don't look down at it and the ceilings are boring so you look ...

Hunter:
Straight ahead only.

John:
And a Wonka machine over in the corner.

Hunter:
Yeah, straight ahead only. These are all true things I've heard.

John:
I told you guys this earlier I believe, but I found my first American-branded slot machine.

Hunter:
Yeah, I saw it too. The Flintstones at The Sands.

John:
Yeah, over in some corner of The Sands that no one would walk towards, but, Yabadabadoo.

Chuck:
Yabadabadoo.

Hunter:
Yes. It seemed to have Chinese subtitles as far as I could tell, so that's one way to solve that problem.

John:
Maybe The Flintstones are very popular in China.

Hunter:
I guess, I don't know.

Chuck:
Maybe they're universal.

Hunter:
Every other slot machine I've seen has been ... I see a lot of the same ones, but I don't know what they are.

John:
Yeah, the [Duosci 00:10:37]

Chuck:
[inaudible 00:10:39]

John:
Yeah, whatever it is.

Hunter:
A lot of that shit. I think we talked about this before, but the other thing that's very rare is video poker. They have video poker at MGM. There's like 2 game machines in the corner, but I haven't ...

Chuck:
I haven't seen any.

Hunter:
Yeah, there's one other place I saw one.

John:
I played a [beer 00:10:56] last time.

Hunter:
I haven't seen any here.

Chuck:
There's a poker room here, and here is Wynn.

Hunter:
Here is Wynn.

Chuck:
There's a poker room here and it's actually busy.

Hunter:
Yeah, it's very busy.

John:
Yeah, it's very busy.

Chuck:
It's probably actually the only poker room I've seen that actually has people in there playing.

John:
It's also about the only poker room I've seen that's not shoved in a corner with a bunch of office chairs and tables.

Chuck:
That's true.

Hunter:
I did see the PokerStars thing at City of Dreams operating with a real live table of people playing poker, so it is a thing theoretically.

Chuck:
I played craps the other night.

Hunter:
Where was that?

Chuck:
It was at City of Dreams.

Hunter:
Yeah? How'd that go?

Chuck:
No, it wasn't City of Dreams. It was at Macau Studio City.

Hunter:
How'd that go?

Chuck:
It was great. I just wandered around and I was looking around and I wanted to a little gambling before I hit the sack and I stumbled across the craps table in the corner. The interesting thing is that craps table is the stick man. It was this wooden gate.

Hunter:
Yeah, they put you in this little cage.

Chuck:
It's this waste-high gate that puts the rail on the left, goes around them in a semicircle, and it connects to the rail on the right. They're pretty defensive about their space.

Hunter:
Yeah.

John:
Yeah.

Chuck:
If people get any kind of close, they start, "Move, move, move."

Hunter:
Yeah.

Chuck:
I was standing there watching and the box woman - which, I was surprised there was a woman being the box-person. I don't know why that surprised me, but you don't see it all that often I guess. It seemed like in control of the game, but she pointed at me over the dealer and said, "Do you wanna play?", and I said, "Yeah, I wanna play," so she got these looky-loos and shooed them away, and I got on the table. This woman rolled like eight 8s in a row.

Hunter:
Oh, you mentioned this.

Chuck:
There was a point there was 8 and I waited until the point came out before I changed my money. I didn't want to interrupt the flows of things. She hit the 8, I chip changed my cash, I put it down past line 8, boom. Odds 8. Winner. Bam. 8. Winner. 8. Winner. Then I put a come bet out and then she hit a 7. I was going to keep going, but I said, "That's enough." I made a double [inaudible 00:13:32] and I got some chips to bring home for the collection.

Hunter:
That's cool.

Chuck:
Yeah, so I cashed out and I went upstairs, but it was fun. The funny thing is, too, is it's like, when she hit these points, I'm trying to be incognito. I don't wanna mess up the vibe on the craps table. You know how that works, right? You get in an somebody fucks the shit up and ...

Hunter:
Yeah, things happen.

John:
Yup. I've seen it many times.

Chuck:
Who's the cooler? Being that I look like I just stepped in from a Norwegian heavy metal band, I try to be a little extra polite.

John:
Use a little discretion.

Chuck:
Correct. She hits the 8 [inaudible 00:14:13]. Second time she hits the 8 point, I'm like, "Yeah!!", and her husband who was next to her jumped up and looked at me like ... And then he smiled. He was a little surprised I got excited like that.

Hunter:
Yeah, I noticed they don't seem to be into the cheering too much. I noticed that when we played briefly at that craps table at the Venetian. Even my light clapping was like ... People were looking at me like, what are you doing?

John:
Why are you happy to be here?

Chuck:
They're screaming at the baccarat table.

Hunter:
At the baccarat table there is.

John:
Sometimes.

Chuck:
It's almost like a library in the casino. It's a very quiet kind of intensity that you get.

John:
It's fascinating. You guys haven't played baccarat?

Chuck:
I haven't.

Hunter:
Hmm-mm (negative). I've been playing Sic Bo, though.

John:
Sic Bo, yeah, yeah.

Hunter:
That's my jam. I love Sic Bo.

John:
At the baccarat tables, it all comes from that pent up drama of the person twisting the [inaudible 00:15:21]. I've come across a few different tables I've been at. They all have their different ways of touching the cards. When I've done it, I just peel it back and turn it over. There are certain people who just go at this thing and mutilate it and build up all this tension and this drama and you're sitting there going what's it going to be, what's it going to be, and they're doing the thing that sometimes happens in Las Vegas where they're looking at it and even the players are hamming it up because they know what they have for the rest of the able. They turn it around and they've got a natural 9 or something like that. It spreads infectiously, and all of a sudden you've got a table of people who are like, holy shit! We're all cheering to get this thing or excited when this guy reveals this.

Chuck:
It's amazing. Some other casino phenomenon which you had mentioned earlier, John, seen full effect to the MGM is the crowds.

John:
Yeah.

Chuck:
All of a sudden, this mass of 30 people stand behind a table and watch and throw bets on and scream and yell.

John:
They put bets on your bets and, yeah,

Chuck:
They cap your bets. I went up to this security guard at MGM and I said, "Could you explain this to me? I'm from Las Vegas where this doesn't happen." He said, "Well, the Chinese people, when they gamble, they're looking at the screens that are hanging above each table which basically say what the last group of hands are just like on a roulette wheel. I don't even know if they do that in Vegas for baccarat tables.

John:
That's what a lot of them do, but that's why they have the little cards. That's what you use to track it.

Chuck:
They go around the tables because they're looking for specific trends. These guys are trend hoppers, so when they see a table that has hit a ton of bankers in a row or goes banker-player-banker-player-banker-banker-banker-player, whatever, this kind of system that have, they jump on the table and they scream and yell and it becomes this big production. Then they move to another table when somebody else ... They have a runner that probably goes out.

John:
Yeah, there's a spotter

Chuck:
People at the table ...

John:
People making hand signals.

Chuck:
... Somebody rubs his knee when the count is plus 5.

John:
Yeah. It's crazy. That's happened almost everywhere. You see it in people just walking around constantly looking at all those displays, looking for all that stuff. The other thing I've noticed is there's a couple times I've tried to go up to a cage to break a bill because I needed to get some change or whatever for tipping [inaudible 00:18:29]. Each and every time, it's been this protractive sort of, "You want change? Why don't you wanna buy chips?"

Chuck:
Yeah.

John:
I know that used to be a thing in Las Vegas. People would go up to the cashier and buy chips.

Chuck:
Yeah, you can't buy chips at the cashier. You have to get them at the table ... Can you get them at the cashier? I tried it last time and they said go to the table.

John:
Here or Las Vegas?

Chuck:
Here. The last time I was here at Macau.

John:
Oh, really?

Chuck:
I tried to buy chips at the cage to bring home and they said, "Go to the table."

John:
Every time ... I've only tried to break bills, so I've passed them a ...

Hunter:
You use the machine to break my bills.

John:
Yeah, but you can't break ... I was trying to break a 100 just because I wanted, needed to give it to a valet or whatever it is, but it only breaks 500s or 1,000s into 100s.

Hunter:
I think it probably depends on the machine.

John:
Could be.

Hunter:
Because one of the machines I was looking at would break a 100 into 20s.

John:
Oh, would it?

Hunter:
Yeah.

John:
Yeah, so every time I've gone up to the cashier, they're like, "You wanna buy chips" kind of things. That must be new then.

Chuck:
Surprising.

John:
The dual chip tray thing is kind of cool. The chips walk by and they lift up a thing with a whole other full sets of chips underneath it ready to go.

Hunter:
That's smart.

John:
Yeah.

Hunter:
I hadn't seen that in action, but since you mentioned it, I paid closer attention. You can tell there's an assembly thing there that has it underneath. That's interesting.

Chuck:
One load. One load of chips.

Hunter:
Yeah.

Chuck:
It makes perfect sense.

Hunter:
Last time we left people, you guys were dropping stuff off the top of Altira.

Chuck:
John dropped his jacket.

John:
Hey, I got my jacket back.

Chuck:
You melted.

Hunter:
I just left. I was like, I'm fucking done here. That was a while ago. A lot has happened since then.

Chuck:
What day was that?

Hunter:
That was like 3 days ago.

John:
Was it?

Hunter:
That was before I checked in here, before I was at the Hyatt, that was before Lino. That was a long time ago. That was 3 nights ago.

Chuck:
Yeah. Wow.

John:
Time flies

Chuck:
Where were we?

Hunter:
I was at Shanghai Hilton Central, Beijing Hilton.

Chuck:
Okay, because this was before Studio City.

John:
You and I were at Studio City that night.

Chuck:
Okay.

John:
We went to the restaurant there.

Hunter:
Yes, that's right. We went to the restaurant; the Italian place. And then we went to Altira.

Chuck:
Okay.

Hunter:
You guys were at Studio City?

Chuck:
Yeah, Studio City, I really liked that place. I think it's cool. It's got a great little vibe. It's probably [inaudible 00:21:31]. I went back for a second time the other day, and I went out to the outside deck in-between the towers.

Hunter:
Oh, uh-huh (affirmative).

Chuck:
I wanted to go on the Ferris wheel thing, the Golden Reels thing, but it was closed. I stuck around a while hoping it would open again, but I went outside on the deck and I laid down on the AstroTurf because @Vajohna was saying that he really wanted to do it, so I wanted to do it. [inaudible 00:22:07], just sort of hang out. The fun thing about a lot of this stuff at Macau is just that it's so new that they haven't figured out fully how to keep people out of a couple places.

Hunter:
Right, sure.

Chuck:
There's all these little holes in the wall and these nooks and these places you can ...

Hunter:
Right. No one else has abused the system yet, so ...

Chuck:
Yeah, so I ended up next to the circuit breaker that will turn off all of the exterior lights.

Hunter:
No!

Chuck:
Yeah, and it's labeled 'exterior lights', and there's an on/off switch. We could go down there right now and turn the lights off, should we wish. It was fun going out there. I really wanted to go on the Golden Wheels thing, but after I went outside and laid on the AstroTurf, I hear them clanging with hammers up there. I'm like, okay, I'm not getting on that. The scale of the place - we see this about everywhere - is really huge. The rooms there are very smart. I really like the way they're designed. Big open concept, [inaudible 00:23:20], mass market rooms, but they have touches of luxury. There's a lot of the same stuff that's in the Crown that's in there. You can see where they cut some corners to make it more affordable, but it seems like it's a good value for folks to go there. The service is fantastic. I walked all around the mall, they've got these odd-ball displays of things that float.

Hunter:
Yeah, the mall was a little weird, but they're not alone in that distinction.

Chuck:
All the malls are kind of strange here. I dug Studio City.

John:
It's fun. It's a fun joint. I really enjoyed Galaxy.

Hunter:
Yeah, we should talk about that. That night, you guys stayed at Studio City, I stayed at the Beijing Hilton again, and then the next night we all moved around, and we were supposed to all be at Galaxy. That was the plan, because that morning the Apple Store grand opening, we were going to do that, and so I actually did end up waiting in line. John did also. We got our medium-sized t-shirts that we can't wear, but that was fun. I was sort of surprised how many people were there and how enthusiastic they were. These people were shouting, "Apple, Apple." It was kind of cult-like and scary.

Chuck:
Why does that surprise you, Hunter? You're a part of this cult.

Hunter:
They were on a whole other level. They were so enthusiastic.

Chuck:
Were they millennials?

Hunter:
It was a range. Most of them were probably in that age range, yeah. They were very enthused. That was fine. I had a hotel malfunction. Which is not interesting, but I will never use Agoda ever again. I did not end up at Galaxy.

Chuck:
Explain your hotel malfunction.

Hunter:
I don't exactly know what happened, but ...

Chuck:
You get on line, you go to check in, you get to the front of the line ...

Hunter:
Yes. I have a rule that I always book with the hotel directly. I don't use other sites to do bookings generally, and for reasons I'm not even completely sure why.

Chuck:
Because I told you there was a deal on the app.

Hunter:
Maybe. I don't know. We talked about it, and I'm not sure. I used Agoda to book this and everything seemed fine, but I got to the hotel and they had never heard of me. After a discussion with them, they were completely sold out and the hotel staff were very apologetic and just said, "There's really nothing we can do here. We don't have anything to give you. You didn't book with us. We don't really know what happened, it's just wrong." I ended up calling the Agoda folks who ... They did answer the phone right away, which was nice ... They didn't really explain what had happened, but there was some sort of clerical error. It sounds like my reservation just never made it to the hotel and because at that point there were no more rooms available, there was no recourse that they could or would do. They processed a refund, but that was all they were able to do, so that sucked.

Chuck:
So you were out in Macau, and you don't have a place to stay.

Hunter:
Yeah, unfortunately this is a Saturday night, and Macau - as we talked about - doesn't have a lot of hotel rooms compared to what we were visiting with, so what I discovered is certain nights of the week it's actually hard to get a hotel room. It's like Atlantic City in that way. If you're trying to get a hotel room on a Saturday night, you're kind of screwed if you don't have one. I ended up at the Grand Hyatt which is part of The City of Dreams - a hotel I never would have booked for any other reason just because, you know, why would you book a Grand Hyatt. It was fine. The reason I chose it out of my options is because it's directly across from Wynn Palace, and I thought, well maybe I'll get lucky and I can get a room overlooking the construction site and I can use it to take some photos and it'll be cool. That didn't work out either. It just wasn't available in the time period that I needed it. The room itself was fine. It sort of reminded me of a well-appointed Japanese hostel - very zen, bed very low to the floor, very sparse. Cool bathroom, but other than that unremarkable and not a highlight of the adventure. It was fine.

I went to the Apple Store thing, so I was at Galaxy and John and I walked around a little bit. The pool deck, which was really cool. I think I would have enjoyed staying there. I'm really curious to hear more about it from you guys because it seemed like an interesting spot - a little bit different. Tell me, what's Galaxy like?

John:
We should probably say, Galaxy's a few different hotels, right?

Chuck:
Yeah, it is.

John:
There are 6 different properties there? The regular Galaxy, Hotel Okura, J. W. Marriott, Banyan Tree, and the Ritz-Carlton. 5 properties spread across 2 different towers ...

Chuck:
3.

John:
Sorry, 3 different towers. I was at the J. W. Marriott, you were at ...

Chuck:
I did 1 night in the Galaxy Hotel and 1 night in the Banyan Tree.

John:
J. W. Marriott was nice. The room was well designed. I think you had kind of experienced this too, Chuck ... 1 thing that was weird and a little frustrating and certainly out of the norm from kind of what I've experienced so far in Macau is when I checked in - granted, I checked in very early in the day because I got there around 9:00 to go over and see the new Apple Store - they didn't really say that I was going to have to wait, but they said, "Oh, your room's not ready yet. Come and check back," and they handed me this card that said 'come and check back at 3:00.' I was like oh, I don't think it will be until 3:00, why would it be until 3:00? Until I went back an hour and a half later and they said, "Oh, no, it's going to be until 3:00 until your room is ready," and so you sit back and you go, "Ok, what am I supposed to do with the rest of my afternoon - find a way to kill the day.

Once I did get my room, it was nice, it was well portioned. Lots of families apparently stay at the hotel - I think it's the same at Galaxy. It's very family-friendly I guess, with the pool deck and everything, but nice. Nothing that I would really write home about. It was comfortable, but I think with other options in the city, I think I would have been better served trying Banyan Tree or Okura or something like that.

Chuck:
The Galaxy at Macau, the totality of [inaudible 00:30:34] I keep saying I'm a broken record, because it is a broken record, but the size of this thing is huge, but they've done some things to make the massiveness make quite a bit of sense in a simple way. The casino is like a big strip down the middle, and then on either sides of that, there's 2 promenades of shopping and it suddenly goes up on the sidewalk [inaudible 00:31:05]. There's also restaurants on both levels around that, and then in the hotel towers - the south and east and west sides - there are restaurants up in the top parts of those towers. It's probably best described as an 'everybody resort'. It's for human beings. There's tons of - just like you mentioned, there's families - there's high rollers, there's [inaudible 00:31:40], there's mass market, and there's a lot of it.

The Galaxy Hotel check-in was chaos in its most distilled form. The line took forever. When I arrived there, I was early too. I wasn't that early, it was maybe 11:30 when I finally popped over there to get into the room, and there was a wild line. This is after staying at Crown and all these other places where you walk in and there's 5 people on line because they've got their shit together and they say give you please and thank yous. At Galaxy, the employees were really nice, but it's not a high-end hotel experience on any level. It was chaos. Check-out at 11, check-in at 3. If you show up before that, tough shit. Good luck.

They checked me in, just like John, they gave me a card with a receipt and a number on it and it said "come back at 3." I talked to a bellman who took my bags and he said come back at 2:30 because if you come at 3, everybody else is going to be here. Even though I got there at quarter after 2, it was still a crush of humanity. That line in the lobby made check-in even worse for all the people that were just showing up at 3, so they kind of cause their own problems by enforcing these rules. It would be smart for them to instill a little bit more of a bell curve and let some of the traffic go a little earlier, otherwise you're building up pressure in the hose and you're going to cause yourself and your employees a ton of heartache trying to process all these people.

When I went back, it said "pick up your keys here", so there was another line that went to the concierge desk which was to pick your keys up, so you stand in that line and there's 2 bellmen and some other guy trying to process people giving their receipt to them and they give them their keys. People from the VIP section and all the other check-in desks and whatnot were - if they had a spare moment - [inaudible 00:34:14] they would run over, grab people from line, and then go check them in. It's almost like a triage mode there, but it's self-inflicted. Eventually I did get the keys and I went up to the room. The hotel is really clean, it's very nice. Another kind of open-concept with glass walls in the bathroom separated by shades so you can kind of do peekaboo poo-poo time. The bed was quite a bit harder there compared to the other places I stayed. It was this green wind kind of thing. The furnishings were not all that great. It looked okay. The room was serviced, but it wasn't as compelling for the hotel nerd. It was still good and it did its job. Housekeeping was for the most part fine. What else happened there?

Hunter:
Do we want to talk about our evening? We had a great evening.

Chuck:
Yes. You want me to go? I've been talking for like 20 minutes.

Hunter:
No, it's fine. That night, we had planned to see a friend - somebody that we had "met" virtually through Instagram initially, Lino who worked at Casino Adjacent here in Macau and also does a bunch of aerial photography that's happened [inaudible 00:36:03] these crazy photos of construction sites here. We've been friendly over the last year, 18 months, whatever it's been, and when he discovered that we were coming to Macau, he encouraged us to reach out, and so we did. He said, "Great, let's meet up. I'm going to take you guys to get some food, and I'm going to show you some great stuff." I said, "Cool, let's do it."

We went over to The Broadway - it's connected to Galaxy via a walkway - and there's a bar there, Roadhouse Bar, and so we cruised in there, and that's where we met Lino. We had a few beers there which was a lot of fun to shoot the shit a little bit about how things are going, get to know each other a little more personally which was fun, and then we hopped in the car and he drives us around a bit and ...

Chuck:
[inaudible 00:37:04]

Hunter:
Immaculately taken care of ... He's like, "What? I wash it." I'm like, "Come on, you don't wash your car?"

Chuck:
We get in the car and he's the nicest guy you ever wanna meet. He's incredibly smart, he knows everything about the biz, he knows everything about casinos, he's just as into this shit as we all are. We're all speaking a common language. It was like immediately we were like old pals talking about stuff. We got to the parking garage, we hop in his car, and away we fucking go. He takes us on this barnstorming, photo-bonanza safari. We go up to Taipa and down to Coloane, and then back to the peninsula, up and over and back around the marina, and then back down and over and back and around and we drive onto the parcel of fucking Wynn Palace.

He drives us basically right up into the back, like all the way around the hotel, and I had my camera out the window the whole time shooting photo after photo after photo of old construction shit that you're not going to see if you walk. It's not done, so you can see how far behind they are, even though they've announced today that they're opening August 22. So we're driving in there and [inaudible 00:38:36] are starting to come after us, and he's like, "We're on the street, don't worry about it. This is public property." We do that, we drive around the Lisboa Palace, we see something interesting and we'll turn around and take us back to look at it. He went above and beyond to show us because he knows what complete casino construction nerds we are. He showed us everything - the Louis XIII thing, the Roosevelt, MGM Cotai, Wynn Palace, Grand Lisboa Palace ...

John:
He took us up to the top of Coloane and ...

Chuck:
Right. We went up to the temple way up at the top of Coloane, and then ...

John:
It had this drop dead gorgeous view of the city below it at sunset.

Chuck:
Right. We found all these great views and vantage points and stuff, and he made me run up the hill. He brought us to a very strange bathroom in the middle of a park.

John:
With cemented in sinks.

Chuck:
Yeah. Just great views, and then we went to dinner.

Hunter:
Yes, Portuguese food. This is part of what he had promised. He was like, "I'm going to take you guys to a real spot." If you do any recon on Macau, of course you quickly discover that it was originally a Portuguese colony and there's Portuguese influence and if you read about a restaurant Fernando’s, which is a famous example of what the Portuguese have left behind. He basically said, "Yeah, Fernando's meh. This is the real spot." He took us to a place called Miramar and it was amazing. We cruise in, and the place is jam-packed. It's super full. It's very popular, you can tell. We had a table sitting there with our name on it, we sit down, and start thumbing through the menu, and he starts rattling off the stuff that he thinks is good, and basically we look at each other and we're like, "Why don't you just order. You know what you're doing," so he ordered for the table.

Chuck:
You take me to a Portuguese restaurant and I'll order a hamburger.

Hunter:
Right, so he basically ordered for the table, and we ended up with this amazing food. We got these clams in this sauce that was like, all of us I think were saying, "Can we drink this?"

Chuck:
It was like a garlic veloute. We wanted to just pour it over ourselves.

Hunter:
It was so good, and some really good Portuguese fried rice and a codfish thing that was really good, and this bean stew ... All the food was amazing.

Chuck:
And there's a lot of it.

Hunter:
Way more than we could finish, but we got to sit there and eat this amazing food. There was so much flavor. It was great. I would recommend this place to anyone who comes here.

Chuck:
The vibe was fantastic because Coloane is on the south part of what's now the type of [inaudible 00:41:52] island and there's these little LED lights that they've attached to these trees that wrap around and [inaudible 00:42:03] and there's Brazilian samba music playing in the restaurant. It's totally homemade food. They have a massive dessert case and these are like cakes that your mom would make. They're just fantastic. They look rustic and beautiful and tasty and the staff was so busy, they're a little bit journey which was great. They were like, "Do you wanna order now? We're busy! You guys want water? Ugh!" It's the opposite of the service model, but it's kind of great and wonderful. It was a fantastic meal.

Hunter:
Yeah, they weren't just being jerks, they were literally so busy they were running from table to table ...

Chuck:
And the heat.

Hunter:
Yeah, right, and the heat. It was the kind of thing that if you don't order fast enough, they move along. They leave. You had to make sure you had your shit together. It was a fantastic meal. We were so grateful that he had been willing to spend so much time with us and show us around, we thought the least we could do would be to buy us dinner. He went out of his way to show us a good time, and so we attempted to do that. I went inside and I actually did get the bill, but ...

Chuck:
We hatched a plan beforehand. We were like, "We're going to stand strong ..."

Hunter:
Yeah, we talked about it ahead of time.

Chuck:
There's no way he's paying for dinner, right?

Hunter:
Yeah, that's what we said. I went in and I paid the check, and I thought all was well. I was like, "Hey, we're good to go, we paid the check, thank you so much," and he just kind of mumbled something and walked away. It turns out he went inside and he got them to void our payment and basically he told them that if they didn't do what he said, then he would never come back. He was joking around, but he basically wouldn't take no for an answer. On top of being so incredibly generous with his time and being such a good guy and driving us around, he literally wouldn't let us pay for dinner. He forced it. it was so generous.

Chuck:
Mi casa es su casa.

John:
He did say that.

Chuck:
He was like, "You are my guest here." What a guy.

Hunter:
Yeah. Such a great time. Afterwards we did a little bit more driving around and then we ended up back at the hotel, but it was great. It was a lot of fun.

Chuck:
I think we mentioned on the show previously that we were going to meet him and looking forward to it and it seems like everything on this trip has exceeded my thoughts of what it possibly could be, and that was definitely one of them, just hanging out with [inaudible 00:44:56]. Fantastic evening.

Hunter:
Yeah, definitely a highlight for me.

Chuck:
I have another highlight I wanna tack in here.

Hunter:
Sure.

Chuck:
I think we can all talk about the Ritz-Carlton at Galaxy.

Hunter:
Yeah.

Chuck:
It is I think pretty in terms of hotels in the Macau, what they're doing and what they're doing with the room rates. We had seen some photos of the interiors of the lobby and a few other things shared with us by Bajablast on MacauTripping, and I was eager to go check this out in person and I went and wandered around. The second I went in, there's employees every 10 feet. They're dressed like nurses, and people are just so happy to see you, but this is a completely different level of that happiness. They wanna do anything to make your experience there really [inaudible 00:46:04].

Hunter:
I didn't even really know what to expect. John and I were looking around trying to find a good type of beer and were striking out. We struck out there too, but we went up to the top thinking that they must have a bar in their lobby, and they do, but it wasn't open, and I was just knocked out by the view. It's one of those joints where the lobby area's on the very top floor, so it's just very nice. Plus, very accommodating people. The décor and stuff is beautiful. I was pretty impressed.

John:
I went up there after you and I went up there after I saw you (Chuck). I ate at the café, and I had a very good burger.

Chuck:
That thing looked delicious.

John:
It was very tasty.

Chuck:
I almost went back and ordered it. I thought about it twice.

John:
It was really really good.

Chuck:
I might hop in a cab and go get it now.

John:
There you go. It's right across the bay. The bar was open, and I thought, "Oh, I'll have drink." The bartender was super courteous. One thing I've noticed, and I'm sure you guys have, is that in those situations, someone always asks, " How can I address you?" You go, "My names John?" I haven't quite figured out ...

Chuck:
Mr. John.

John:
Yeah, it's Mr. John. Then I said, "Oh, it's Mr. Hall," and he says [inaudible 00:47:43] ... finished the drink and was getting ready to walk out, and the bartender followed me. She was like, [inaudible 00:47:53], what are you doing tonight? Do you have any questions, any place you wanna go? [inaudible 00:47:58] ... walked me over and then called the elevator for me and waited with me until the elevator arrived and then you know, I went down to the lobby.

Hunter:
You didn't find any of that high-touch stuff to be too high-touch? I don't know about you, but my general demeanor is like, leave me alone, and sometimes I appreciate that they're trying to help you, but i'm like, "I don't wanna talk to you. Just give me my things and ... Pish posh."

Chuck:
Yeah, I was thinking about that. I wonder if when you get beyond the [inaudible 00:48:37] ... and I don't want anybody to talk to me. Just put it in the middle of the room. I don't wanna talk to you. Sometimes you don't wanna talk. They should acquiesce to any request.

John:
Yeah.

Chuck:
I did the same thing as you guys. I went up there just to go look around. I was invited to go up because I was walking around the lobby taking pictures of the massive lobby - which is just jaw-dropping - and the woman said, "Oh, how can I help you? Oh, you're taking photos? Would you like to go upstairs?". And she called the elevator and put me on the elevator, and then when I got off the elevator there was 2 other people, "oh, Hello, Hello. How can we address you?", and then they talked to me and they walked me down the hallways and eventually they let me go and I wandered about taking pictures and looking out the window and all this stuff. As I was walking by, somebody else came up and said, "Is there anything else we can do for you?", and I said, "Well, is there any way I can see the inside of your hotel rooms?", and she said, "Yes, absolutely. Let me go talk to somebody and how about you come here and wait." She brought me over to a little lobby there with all the candy and ...

John:
The Starbursts.

Chuck:
The Starbursts ... A couple trays of Starbursts and an incredible view. She said, "Why don't you have a seat. Can I get you some water? Can I get you a drink? Would you like some tea or some coffee or whatever while you're waiting?" She's making me feel comfortable and hospitable while I'm waiting for her to do something that I just asked her to do. She has no reason to do any of it. So, she goes away and I'm just sitting there taking photos, looking out the window, doing my thing, and she comes back and she says, "Mr. Charles ...", and she's got 3 people with her - 3 of the servers or attendants or whatever, in the nurses outfits. The 3 of them escort me to the hotel elevator. There was another one already in the elevator holding the door. I walk in, and the one holding the door is like, "Please come in," and then she gets out and the other 2 leave, and then I'm in the elevator with just 1 of them. They take me up or down - I don't even know what direction I went - to the room.

We walked down the hallway and she's asking me questions and talking about the hotel room, and I ask, "Can I take photos?" She said, "Please, take as many photos a you'd like. Take as long as you'd like to look around the room," and she talks about little different pieces and, "What are you doing here? Is it your first time I Macau?" You know, the typical small talk things. I walked into the toilet, the Toto washlet seat went up, and you go past a certain line, and lights go on, and all sorts of stuff. It's very automated in the room. You can look at the photos of this. I took tons, you can look at whatever on Oyster, or whatnot, and you'll see, the room has got this slate pink kind of blue French meets ...

John:
[inaudible 00:52:14]

Chuck:
Yeah, kind of 'Hello Kitty' vibe to it, and it's gorgeous. I didn't really want to overdue my stay, but she then offered to bring me back up to the lounge and gave me more tea and coffee and Starbursts, but I said, "No thank you, I've taken enough of your time," and she brought me down to the ground floor and walked me out of the Ritz-Carlton to the precipice of the rest of the property and kept talking and said Hello and Goodbye ... Very lovely woman who was born and raised in Macau, so she's local. Really great.

Go to the Delano in Las Vegas, walk in there, go to the front desk, go, "Hey, can I look at the hotel rooms?", or go to Wynn and do it ...

Hunter:
It's probably not going to happen.

Chuck:
Yeah. I was shocked. It was kind of awesome - another piece of amazingness in this trip of people going bananas about simple requests you'd expect they're going to say no.

John:
I had a little moment kind of similar to that last night. I checked into Crown and had to go out and grab dinner, and so I walked out. I walked into the hallway and there was a housekeeping woman doing turn down service, and saw that I was walking out and walking towards the elevator. She stopped everything she was doing mid action, ran to the elevator lobby ahead of me, called the car in the elevator - hit the button and everything. By the time I had gotten there, the door was open. She was like, "Its' the second one on the right for you.

Chuck:
Amazing.

John:
Where else does that happen?

Chuck:
Circus Circus [inaudible 00:54:11]

John:
Is that in the manor rooms?

Chuck:
Yeah. The elevator's broken.

John:
So they direct you right to the staircase with hand gestures.

Hunter:
That catches us up to a few days ago. There's still more that we haven't covered. I'm wondering though, if we should break and leave it or when we should break and leave it. I'm getting tired, and you guys are yawning as well.

John:
I'm getting a little tired.

Hunter:
We've been going for a while. We don't wanna shoot all [inaudible 00:54:45] - pardon the expression. What do you guys think?

John:
There's always tomorrow.

Hunter:
Is this a good place to pause?

Chuck:
Yeah.

Hunter:
All right. We'll tease for what's coming next. For those tuning in to the net episode, you get to hear about Hunter checking into the MGM - Grand, not so Grand? We'll see.

Chuck:
It was Grand. They de-Granded it. Except on one side.

Hunter:
It used to be the MGM Grand, and I still call it that, so I am catching myself. We get to hear about the Banyan Tree and what it's like to have your own pool. We get to hear about this Encore suite that we're sitting in right now, and we get to hear more about Crown via John, and maybe we'll hear about Hong Kong a little bit.

Chuck:
Yeah.

John:
Yeah.

Hunter:
More to come in a theater near you. Say goodbye, guys.

John:
Goodbye, guys.

Chuck:
Goodbye, guys.

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