I thought I'd start this forum off with my Asia trek from this past February:
For more, click here....Macau is absolutely mind boggling. People call it the Las Vegas of the East, and this is no joke - it's growing hand over fist. There are already a number of large casinos, but there are construction sites that are birthing a number of others. But don't get me wrong here, even though it may seem a bit like Vegas, Chinese gambling and casinos are way different from their western counterparts.
We checked into the Wynn Hotel. That's right - the Wynn. The hotel is a near carbon copy of the Vegas version, at least entering the lobby it seemed to be so. And our room was exactly like my room in Vegas from last year. Huge room, huge flat TV screen, huge bathroom, but downstairs was a different story altogether.
Those of you who have been in the Wynn in Vegas should be familiar with the layout. You walk into the hotel and the casino is situated somewhat in the middle. It's encircled by restaurants, bars and hallways that lead off into malls, exhibition halls, restaurants and shows. It's immense. The Wynn in Macau is a horse of a different color though. There are few restaurants, and there is one bar (the Tryst). The casino is nowhere in sight. One must walk down a hallway and enter through a doorway guarded by security personnel waiving metal detectors. Purses and bags are searched.
Entering the casino is a wake-up call that screams "this ain't Vegas, baby!" No grannies churning out the slots. No whooping and hollerin' cowboys at the crap tables. No cocktail waitresses taking orders for your "free" drinks. This was a totally completely different environment.
The place was dominated by table games and Chinese men. These were serious games with serious faces where the men were intending to beat the house. The casino layout was different than in Vegas. There were huge pillars that lined the walkway, and these pillars rose up to a low ceiling. The room seemed brighter than the one in Vegas. I didn't notice any peculiar scent that Vegas casinos use - and the tables seemed intimidating. I had no intention on joining one.
Thirsty? There were bottles of water available, or one could choose tea. Yeah, let's party!
Ted and I mosied to the Slot Machines, and there were just a handful - none that I recognized. I watched Ted feed a machine 20 dollars which it sucked like a Hoover Vaacuum cleaning. This in full few of my wife who promptly laid down the law for me: no slots. And in retrospect, that was probably a good thing.
The Food Court in the casino consisted of a Starbucks - that was it. We were hungry. That was one of the primary reasons that I was visiting Macau, Hong Kong, and the Philippines - to eat.
We went out that night with several Playtech executives and other interesting folk, and sat down for a meal that was a combination of Portuguese and Chinese food. Macau belonged to Portugal until the 1960s. The food was brilliant, but the service a bit lazy. You almost had to beg for a beer or for more Sangria.
The Chinese aren't too much into partying - at least not on the surface. It doesn't seem to be integrated into their culture as a common trait - partiness. But maybe this is a good thing as well.
After dinner, Ted, my wife and I decided to check out some of the other casinos. We ventured to the StarWorld Casino which is huge. Again, the main casino floor was dominated by table games. This casino actually had entertainment, and man - what a difference from Vegas. There was a group of six women on stage, each wearing (what could be considered by a westerner) a traditional Chinese dress. In the center was the singer who had a "big hair" hair-do straight out of the early seventies. They danced a very conservative choreographed dance with turns and dips while the big haired singer (the main center of attraction) lip synched to some Chinese pop song. This was light years away from the girlie dancers/cocktail waitresses at the Rio in Vegas.
We meandered past the trays of bottled water and headed upstairs to the slots. Lo and behold, we found Gems, a game developed by LED Gaming and distributed by IGT (which you can play for free here). This is a Vegas favorite which we were really stunned to find. Unfortunately it was dominated by two women who were spinning one coin at a penny a spin. It took forever for them to vacate the machine - which proved its "Hooverness" within minutes.
We finally left to get rested up for the next day - which was to prove itself to be amazing.