You don’t get a real feeling for its scope until you start walking around inside. Every inch is covered in marble or renaissance artwork, and it’s very easy to feel a little disoriented. It’s like walking into the enormous palace of a middle-eastern oil baron.
Or so I would imagine.
There are 3400 slot machines in the Venetian. In South Australia, the most profitable machines can make AU$100,000 profit per year for the owners. So when you do the math, you get an idea of the kind of money that’s going through this place.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that food should be cheaper with so much gambling revenue floating around. But food for the common folk in Macau is around the same price as Hong Kong, but generally not as good. It’s all edible, but there just seemed to be a lack of creativity and passion in the dishes. I normally get excited by buffets, but this one was a bit of a non-event. Boiled sausages are not really a dish in their own right.
In between wandering the casino halls, we did try to get out and see more of regular Macau. The suburbs are nice enough and the public buses are fairly easy to use. Interestingly, they use an honour system of payment, where you get on the bus and drop the bus fare into a large box. The bus driver is never watching how much you are paying.
Best to enjoy one’s youthful metabolism while it lasts.
These are apartment blocks of workers in Macau. The city employs thousands of migrant workers, normally from South East Asia, to build the casinos and attend to the guests. From what I’ve heard, the working conditions for many of the workers are not that good. What they need here is some kind of modern day Robin Hood.
It’s on my to-do list.
The large glass ball behind Heather is an advertisement for the ‘Bubble Show’, which occurs every thirty minutes inside the complex. You need to go to the second floor to get a ticket, but its completely free.
There was a loose storyline about a jade dragon deep beneath the ocean. And the dragon had a bubble that did something. And a whole bunch of epic things happened right where the casino was later built. So that’s why this particular casino is more exciting than the other ones, where no such epic dragon battles occurred.
Parts of Macau are like a fantasy land. It’s hard not to be awestruck by the sheer scale of everything, but I did sense undertones of greed and exploitation lurking behind the velvet carpets and marble walls. It’s a nice place to visit, but somehow I wish things were a little different here.
Anyway, now we have one more Macau post to go, and then we’re off to good old Adelaide!