A lady that likes to flutter, in Macau!

This was our first day trip of the week, and the first time I had left Hong Kong proper since my arrival to Asia seven weeks ago (wow I can’t believe it is that long already).  The boys were really keen to take in the delights of the casino and I was intrigued, I have NEVER been to a casino.  Not even a shitty Regency or Stanley Casino in COV (don’t even mention the Ricoh). 

My first biggest worry was what to wear, I wanted to look like a Bond girl with three men on my arm (ha) but that could never happen because a) I am only provided for by one man b) I know those boys would want to walk everywhere so heels and slinky dress were out, and finally c) related to b, but the weather was awful.  So I plunked for a three quarter length skirt, blouse, ankle boots and a lot of make up – to make up for it!

We took the ferry over to Macau which made me very seasick and wasn’t at all glam.  There was a man behind us being sick, luckily I zoned it out with my catnap – well alcohol induced hangover from the night before pass out.  It only takes an hour to get there but let me tell you flying ferry + bad weather = very bloody scary.  I’m not great at flying, and I can tell you from the return journey I’m also not good at being on a boat in stormy weather.  I don’t think I can get on one of those boats ever again at 2am in the pitch black.  But anyway, back to the middle.

When we first arrived we decided to explore the old town, as suggested by the good old Lonely Planet.  I don’t know what I was expecting, I guess a mini Vegas with nothing of historical note, but the old town was beautiful.  Macau is an old Portuguese colony so there are lots of wonderful neo-classical buildings.  Some are in tact, others are in decay but it is really atmospheric.  What makes it all the more quaint is that they are all mixed in with the local Chinese culture; I guess people say Hong Kong has this blend of cultures too with the British but there isn’t a specific area here that has the same presence.  Sure there are some beautiful old colonial buildings but not buildings that are still homes to local people.  We visited the façade of St Paul’s Cathedral (the rest of the building was burnt down in the 1800s) and then climbed to the fort on the mount where we were treated to an amazing night view of the old town.

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After grabbing some food and beverages at a great little Portuguese Bar, we headed off for what we saw as the main event – to win BIG!  There were so many Casinos to choose from, in the old town I easily counted fifteen, and those were the ones that were so huge you couldn’t miss them!  The Grand Lisboa is ginormous.  You can see it from anywhere, with its loud flashing lights it grabs all the attention from the others surrounding it “look at me!” it screams.  So obviously, we had to check it out.  Now considering this was the first time I’d been to a casino and all the bling that surrounded these great buildings here in Macau, I was a little disappointed.  Yes, inside it was huge (three floors of people betting) but the décor was a bit sedate and boring.  There was no buzz, and worse everyone was just casual as, no sexy Jessica rabbit styles at the side of the betting tables, or James Bond.  In fact I’d say we were the sexiest people there, those of you that know me know I do not say that lightly!!  Rats.  My dream was dashed.

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So, we decided that the only way to get over this disappointment was go big, huge – enormous.  There was only one thing for it, head for the biggest, grandest and most grotesquely decorated one, The Venetian.  Oh The Venetian, with your huge lights, I spotted you from miles away in the cab.  On the outside you were just like a large, disneyfied version of Venetian Gothic architecture.  And on the inside? Just like a caramel cream dream, you were scrumptious. 

Yes it was over the top, and maybe having a replica of the Venetian waterways where you could take a gondola ride was a tad braggy and over romanticized but I fell for this place, just like a magpie taken in by shiny, pretty things.  The betting area again was huge, but this time there was a buzz.  I wanted to play but I was too scared to approach the card tables alone, and instead I plugged for a bit of roulette (won about twenty quid) and the electric wheel of fortune machine (big, loud but not very profitable).  And to make my night even better, I have to let you all know that I was asked for ID, twice.  Despite being with the three old men!  I was slightly disappointed there was no bar, free drinks or food for that matter (I’m sure it must have been a mistake).  The boys won big at Blackjack, so my resolve is to practice that game and on my return give that a go.  Although I’m not sure how I’m going to return after the previously mentioned boat trip from hell.

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So Macau, I was pleasantly surprised and had a lot of fun.  So I will be returning, and next time I want to visit the villages we didn’t get chance to see. And whilst I’m there, I’m going to eat a hell of a lot more culinary delights.  Paid for with all the money I make from blackjack for sure, and this time I’m going to the princess palace looking casino below.

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I’ll bet my money on the bobtail nag, somebody bet on the bay!

Well there weren’t any bobtail nags* at The Happy Valley Racecourse but there were a lot of beautiful horses, betting, cheering and large jugs of beer!  I have been so excited about going to the races, it is a big thing to do here in HK and my first time did not disappoint.

There were so many people there, although it wasn’t so crowded that you couldn’t see what was happening.  It is a pretty amazing people watching spot too.  I really loved seeing all the different types of people that had turned up to have some Wednesday fun. 

It only cost $10 to get into the stadium, and you can bet as little $10 on a race which was perfect for a gambling virgin (well I have had a flutter on the Grand National but doesn’t everyone?!), okay a gambling virgin in HK.  I am pleased to report that I did get a few wins and I thought it might be handy for you all for me to share my insider tips and words of wisdom, ready?

  1. Make sure you have a pint of larger.
  2. Attend with a large group of fun people.
  3. Choose one horse to win, every race. 
  4. Chose 1-3 horses to place on every race.
  5. Pick the horses with the most ridiculous names (Packing Motor, Twin Turbo etc)
  6. OR failing that, the horses that have the most cringe-worthy write ups (Has run third in his barrier trial, good form, RESPECT”).
  7. Always put $20 on each horse (yes I do realise that can be a maximum of $80 per race but kids that is the great thing – it’s only like six quid!).
  8. Scream like crazy during the race so you lose your voice.
  9. Do a celebration dance.
  10. Perfecto!

It is certain to say that I will be returning for more little flutters!

*A racehorse that has had their tails docked.  Referenced by the the great Al Jolsen in De Camptown Races, one of my granddad’s favourites.  Actually listening to the best of now, ahhh the memories xxxxx

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