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City of Dreams


Macao, May 27, 2013

After landing in Hongkong, I proceed to the Macao Ferry ticket counter. A friend has told me that it’s easy enough to get ferry tickets at Hongkong airport, so I did not bother to check for online ticket reservation. After all, a bit of the un-known always makes a trip more exciting. I have learned to embrace new experiences as I travel the world instead of being the old control freak me.

Like everyone else, I stand in line waiting for my turn. “One way to Macau, please!” I say it out loud. One can never go wrong if one knows the destination for sure. “Taipa or Macau city?”, asks the ticket agent. “Oh….,” I find myself taken aback. “Macau city I guess…” Definitely sounds safer and easier making a city choice I think to myself. Besides, I have absolutely no idea where Taipa is. I have not done my homework. Such a small island. Who needs a map? That’s a lesson learned today. You don’t know what you don’t know….

4:30 and it’s boarding time. Should be piece of cake now boarding the ferry across. There is one ferry heading to Macau and I can’t miss it. After a short shuttle train ride and a long elevator ride up, I reach the ferry terminal. All of a sudden, there are 6 gates with people lining up in front. Oops! Which gate is it? I walk back looking for the announcement board. Another lesson learned. Don’t take anything for granted!

I found my gate any way, number 5 to Macau city. I’ve bought the super class ticket as it sounds better and the price difference is not that huge. I learn as I board that super class means upper deck. Not sure if it makes any difference. The guy behind complains to his wife “More than 300 HK dollars for this?”.

Macao, the casino of Asia, appears as we approach the terminal. It’s an easy one-hour boat ride. The overall feeling is dark and tired…. Don’t ask me why! As I walk out of the ferry terminal, my first experiences of Macau blossom. Lines and lines of hotel and casino representatives are waiting outside, pointing you to their shuttle buse locations at the exit. Having not reserved hotel pick-up, I still want to try my luck. There it is! The Venetian Macao Hotel & Resorts. The girl spots me as I look at the board and before I open my mouth, she already directs me down the stairs towards the bus terminal. I probably walk past 20 hotel/casino boards before reaching one that says Venetian. On I board and the bus fills up pretty quickly. Within 5 minutes we leave the terminal. As an island, Macao is surrounded with water and water is to me the calming agent. I can live here! But then again, apart from water, what else can you find apart from massive casino hotels? Flashing signboards strike the eyes as the message is in your face “City of Dreams”. I wonder how many people have bought in this dream and how many have been knocked out by the lack of it….

It is an easy ride and I get to the hotel without any drama. As I enter the casino hotel, however, I immediately got overwhelmed by the happenings of this place. Loads of people walk in all directions, young couples, old couples, families with kids, solo gamblers by the look of their eyes….. Shops, poker machines, show ticket counters line up…. After struggling a while to find the hotel lobby, I get checked in. South Wing, level 14 and a series of instructions on what is where and for that I could not locate which way to get to the room. Man! For the first time in my life, I am totally lost. One has to be lost in that maze, lost in the constant movements in every direction of the people there, lost amongst the lights and the noises, lost in the bold merchandising of the casinos…. Wonder if anyone has found their dreams while I am getting lost….

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