The Leekly Review: Travel Edition – Macau

Yesvember ahoy you negative nellys!

So myself and a few noble chums are experimenting this week with trying to put a podcast together. No mean feat, as we all reside in different countries and one among us is a solid 8 hours off our timezone. I deserve literally zero credit for this sudden burst of ambition but in honour of the impending further infliction of me on the internet I will this month be reviewing some of the many travel destinations I have ticked off in my 28 years of sweet sweet life.

This week, I have opted for the island quasi-nation of Macau.

Macau, like Hong Kong and Taiwan is one of those bits of China that is to some degree or another, less than 100% just-more-poxy-China. For those other areas they have a long, complexand even fraught political history with Beijing. But Macau has… gambling!

Not classy. Classay…

Macau was to Portugal as Hong Kong was to Blighty and even today a lot of the savory meals come with weirdly generous amounts of fruit and everything is plastered with unnecessarily (albeit pleasantly) ornate and colourful ceramics. Portugal being quite keen on such things. However over the past 15 years or so, it has transformed itself from weird Portugese colonial oddity into offshore Vegas of the East.

All the major Vegas casinos have pitched their tent here and revved up their money hoovers to the “obscene Friday night private(s)-time” suction level and gobbled up the new wealth of the new Chinese elite. But the people going to Macau are not the happy idiots you see in Vegas, “Woo”-ing at inanimate objects and poisoning themselves with huge cheap shellfish. These guys are serious gamblers.

  I would say, too serious.

I was there with Gridzer (my dear mother’s preferred nomenclature) and we decided we would do the gambling thing though it didn’t appeal massively to either of us. The whole time we were there, all one could hear were was Chinese men shrieking angrily at the staff in between raspy and guttural coughing fits. After realising we were not in the kind of happy-go-lucky atmosphere we had hoped for, we both broke slightly less than even and agreed  gambling was simply something other people did.

Bar on sensible things like random numbers coming out of a bucket on TV. Or on horses running. Or thin dogs running. Or the Eurovision. Anyway, it was shit. We then walked out to wait out our final hour before taking the ferry back to Hong Kong (an immeasurably better place to spend ones time). As we waited, I walked to the edge of the pier looking at first outwards, then down into the salty depths.

A second or two passed and a snake emerged from the sea making a beeline for me rasping cusswords at me from the surface.

That frigging place. The pineapple chicken thing I had was alright though.

The Toner of Leek

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