Saturday, June 26, 2010

Macau: High rollin'... for a moment

Macau's MGM Casino

While in Hong Kong, we took a day trip to Macau, which is kind of like the Las Vegas of the East. Macau, like Hong Kong, is a special administrative region of China and essentially functions as its own country. It was a Portuguese colony up until it was handed back to China in 1999 under an agreement that it would remain autonomous for the next 50 years.

Now Macau's bread and butter is gambling. I've never been to Las Vegas, or stepped foot in a casino, so this was a first for me. After a one-hour ferry ride from Hong Kong, we got off the boat and directly onto a shuttle bus that took us right to the heart of the casino area, where there were all sorts of glitzy looking buildings.

Is that a Rolls Royce?

We walked around a couple of these places and the opulence blew me away. Chandeliers, flowers, water fountains, shiny everything. It all oozed money, money, MUH-NAY!

Joe and I agreed that he could play with $100 at the blackjack tables. Once it was gone though, he had to walk away. He chose to take his chances at the Wynn casino, seen here during one of its mesmerizing water fountain displays.

I just about choked when I saw the minimum bets at the blackjack tables. There were one or two tables with a minimum $10 bet, but no one was budging from those tables, so after waiting around for a while Joe finally took a seat at a table with a $20 minimum.

Five minutes later, the money was gone. He got up and walked away. Neither of us was really upset — I assumed we'd never see that money again, and I think he did too — though I felt a little stunned about how suddenly it evaporated. A hundred bucks. That'd've been a helluva nice dinner. Of course it was tempting to plunk down some more bills and play a little longer, but you know the next $100 would probably disappear just as quickly as the first.

Ah well. It was a nice experience anyway.

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