Sunday, December 18, 2011

week 65_Weekend in Macau!

As many of you may know, my husband has the pleasure of a December birthday... very near the Christmas holiday... so I like to differentiate between birthday and Christmas to be sure he gets to enjoy both holidays each year!

Look ~ It's the birthday boy! Here's to You Babe :)
[Margaritas at the Wynn Macau]
Dragon & light show in one of the (many) Wynn lobbies.
[28 foot dragon rises out of the floor in coordination with lights & music]

This year, for the BIG 3-0, we decided to take a mini-vacation for the weekend and checkout one of the nearby tourist traps: Macau! The flight from Taipei to Macau is approximately 1 1/2 hours and very affordable, so it was an easy destination for a 2 1/2 day trip. No visa or paperwork required, so we could just show up ready to have a great time! For those of you not familiar with Macau, it is a Special Administrative Region of China, which means it has been under Portuguese rule for the past few hundred years, until finally being handed back over to China in 1999 [similar to Hong Kong]. In particular, Macau is a tourist town and sometimes known as the Las Vegas of the East. That being said, it was the perfect location for a birthday celebration ~~~ and we tried not to gamble too much money away....!

The Venetian Macau

We stayed on the northern island of Macau at a 4-star hotel named Casa Real [there are 3 islands connected by bridges and reclaimed land], but also ventured to the lower islands of Taipa and Coloane to visit some of the other casinos ~ and to see the permanent ZAIA Cirque du Soleil show at the Venetian. Jason & I had seen Cirque du Soleil once before [in Vegas] and we are fans for life! The show was as amazing as anticipated, and we also thoroughly enjoyed seeing another side of the city. I even forced the husband to take his photo with some Playboy bunnies at the Bellini Lounge [poor boy], since we were at the Venetian and they were at the Venetian this month...

30's not so terrible, right? ;)
[He also had to go on stage so the band could sing Happy Birthday for him...]

When we weren't drinking, gambling, and carrying on the weekend long celebrations, we were out touring the town taking in some of the historic sites of Macau [and taking on the crowds]! Macau's population is around 600,000 but the streets are crammed full of tourists and tour groups. Because the Portuguese have been so present in Macau all signage and government documents are in both Chinese and Portuguese... but more importantly, there is some great European architecture [something Taipei is definitely lacking]! Walking along the alleys filled with shops and restaurants but also hills and sidewalk cafes and New Orleans reminiscent balconies and shutters had a very refreshing feel.

Busy tourist pedestrian area ~ we were sure to pick up a few trip souvenirs of our own!
Butcher on a back alley

The markets and shopping were colorful and entertaining - much like any Asian city - but the European architecture was a real treat. In our short weekend trip we squeezed in a few sightseeing side trips, but with more time, there were many more churches and temples to see.

The ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral
Inside another Cathedral [not St. Paul's, as the facade is all that remains after 3 fires]

All in all I think our weekend was the perfect balance of play and sightseeing. We didn't win crazy amounts of cash, but I think we didn't lose too much either... and seeing Macau for the first time together was a memorable experience for a memorable birthday.

Of course, I have a particular fondness for casino interior design because they can be so creative! Jason can tell you, I was just melting over the perfection of the Wynn... and the elaborate details of the many ritzy casino hotels!

L'Arc lobby, Christmas decor
[Me standing next to the longest drapes I've every seen!]

Wynn lobby, decorative table
Oh beautiful Wynn... I will come back to you! [Well, I wish anyways!]
Until next time...

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