Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Vegas of the East! Elsie Gabriel

Vegas of the East!

Elsie Gabriel
Am being pampered by a singing Gondolier, beautiful water around and of course ‘am not in Venice! Guess, where am I?
Of course at the Venetian Hotel, not in Las Vegas but the one in Macau! If you ever get caught between Hong Kong and China, simply take an ocean jet ride to the island of Macau!
 One really hasn’t done anything in Macau, if one hasn’t soaked in its night life, or been to one of its casinos. Known for its biggest nocturnal attractions where gourmet and gambling is concerned, whether you love the dice or not, a visit to the Venetian Macao Hotel is an experience you must not miss out on. The resort, themed around the beautiful city of Venice, complete with replicas of famous landmarks like St. Mark’s and indoor canals, is truly remarkable.
Somebody had to revive me as the 3400 slot machines and 800 gambling tables stood reeling before me, dizzy with the electric super shining atmosphere and a magnetic ambience. I had to stay awake and watch the rake in, tumblings and twinkling of coins, it was all too much. Of course I had been to dice country Vegas, USA but this place has an eclectic mix of vibrant cultures. Peels of laughter reeling the air with every win and some good wine being passed around, well it was indulgence all the way!
The Venetian Macao is not just a hotel, it is a entire destination by itself. I will leave the rest for you to discover when you indulge.
It is why its called ‘Vegas of the East.’ Sharp in contrast to that image Macau has old fashioned cobbled streets and ancient historical churches too. The Portugese were Macau’s first colonial masters and the evidence lies everywhere, in the stone fortresses, the baroque churches,  the gardens and museums. Macau really is where East meets West - a fusion of the Oriental and the Mediterranean architecture, modern blending with traditional, the meeting point of two great cultures.
Macau became a part of China in 1999, a couple of years after the British withdrew from Hong Kong.

Macau is soaked in ancient history and culture and a visit to the Na Tcha Temple which was built in 1888 is a must. This temple is dedicated to the worship of Na Tcha. 
Another historical temple is the A-Ma Temple, which was built 400 years ago in homage to a girl who saved seamen's life. This temple has become a World Heritage in 2005. Macau Museum, a historical and cultural museum with a vast number of objects of great historical value. You could also get an educational lesson from the Macau Tower and sea stories from the guides at the  Fisherman's Wharf. In 2005, the UNESCO declared the region of the peninsula, comprising of 25 buildings and sites of historical and cultural significance, as a World Heritage Site.
The ruins of St. Pauls was my best inspirational tour while at Macau. You are simply enveloped with religious culture. Built in the 16th century by the Jesuits, the St. Paul’s cathedral was the largest church in Asia at that point of time, and was bestowed with the most generous gifts from the royalty of Europe. Not a great deal of it is left as the church was ravaged in a fire in 1835, and all that is left is a stone fa├žade and a museum. Even then, if you are a history lover, no trip to Macau can be truly complete unless you visit this cultural icon.
If you want to know more about the history, culture and the people of Macau, the best way to do so is by visiting this museum. Opened in 1998, the museum is located at the Monte fort, very close to St. Paul’s ruins.
Perched on the highest point of Macau peninsula's, the Guia Fort provides some of the most stunning views of the entire city. It also houses a chapel and one of the oldest lighthouses on the Chinese coast built in 1865. As it is a long walk to the top, visitors can go up by cable car.
In Macau, I relished the Macau-Portuguese style of cuisine especially huge whole fish steamed with hot chilly, sprinkled in herb and lemon. Since Macau was ruled by the Portuguese for over 400 years, it influenced the food culture quite deeply.
Sea food is here in abundance and tourists can enjoy both Chinese and western style food. Ask for Chinese settlement outlets where the meals and soups taste essentially the same as those served on the Chinese mainland and you are in for reasonably cheap and satisfying authentic Chinese food.
Western food in Macau is characterized by the styles of Portugal, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asian Countries. Therefore, the most representative of local food is Portuguese Cuisine and tourists in Macau should never miss it.
Famous dishes like Majie Fish, Portuguese Chicken, Green Vegetable Soup, and Portuguese-Style Custard tart were on top of my food list but the stir fired crab simply took my breath away. A tip for the planet trailer, try out local outlets rather than the expensive ones.
They say that the people here love racing. Anything that moves they race. Not only formula cars but horse racing and dog racing is also a sport, which you should definitely ask around for. Macau has earned the title of the Oriental Las Vegas not for nothing! And if you stay at the Grand Emperor said to be owned by Jackie Chan then maybe you could just Churn up some inspiration to be as agile, alert and the kungfu master that he was in Karate Kid or the Shaolin!!! Yeeeeeeowwwwweeeee!!! Lookout! Well I thought I starred opposite him in Shanghai Noon?? Nahh it was the Rush Hour I guess! Hmmm Macau calling! Maybe you may just bump into Jackie Chan!