We always say we need to get an early start to the day’s activities, but there’s nothing like sleeping in and indulging in a great buffet breakfast before heading out. Also, we’re really not morning people.
We headed straight for the Cotai strip – the Las Vegas of Macau. Although the place comes alive at night, we wanted to get tickets for the world-famous House of Dancing Water show. The strip was made up of around six to seven large-scale casinos, and it was immediately obvious that this is literally where the rich come to party.
The City of Dreams is a huge casino+shopping mall that houses the House of Dancing Water show. Everyone claims it is a must-see, with incredible acrobatics set on a stage that almost seems like its made of water. Well, take note guys – book in advance. We were set for a bitter disappointment to find out that they were completely sold out for the next – wait for it – 11 days!! I was bummed; not catching that show in Macau is like going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower (that might be a slight exaggeration but its a pretty good analogy).
So after that disappointing start to the day, we took a taxi to the Giant Panda Pavilion situation past Cotai in the village of Coloane (pronounced kolo-ann). The name Giant Panda Pavilion is a little misleading – yes there are statues of giant pandas there, but real pandas? Just two. Kai Kai and Xin Xin.
And one was sleeping behind a big rock, so technical just one.
Just two minutes further down the road from the pavilion was the path to Coloane hill. The roads wind further and further up, and there is a free mini shuttle that makes its way to the top and bottom every hour. We weren’t there during the time when the shuttle made its way up, but God was fortunate, and when a car came along, we hitchhiked a ride.
A beautiful temple sits on top of Coloanne hill. It’s very large, and is apparently a popular spot for pilgrims.
Just about 10 meters further up marks the tip of the hill – and this tip is graced by the enormous white marble statue of Goddess A-Ma herself. A massive structure, looking out to sea, protecting her island. I loved the concept.
Back down, we took a bus back to our hotel in Taipa island, and one nap and a minestrone soup later, I was all set to leave again.
We headed across the bridge into Macau town, to Wynn hotel. Dad wanted to see a show called the Tree of Life which runs every half an hour or so. It starts with the tree slowly growing and blossoming, showing the spring and summer seasons, and then the change of color as autumn approaches, finally ending with a harsh winter where the tree just cannot take it anymore, and dies. The sound and light effect was beautiful – mystical even, and everyone gathered around really enjoyed themselves.
MGM was another casino with grand interiors, decorated in a fairy tale theme. The auditorium also housed a small little butterfly room, where people could walk in and have the butterflies flying all around you. Personally hated this…saw many butterflies being stepped on by excited children (and adults). Shame.
After dining at an Indian restaurant (coz five days without Indian food makes us cranky) we headed to Grand Lisboa casino and had a go at the slot machines. Unfortunately, gambling at Macau is nothing compared to Las Vegas for the neutrals – Macau casinos had high stakes, where the minimum bid in many cases was HKD $500. I don’t remember Vegas being like that – there seemed to be plenty of games for the non risk takers as well. Slot machines were therefore our only friends, and we spent a good three to four hours on them. I had quite a bit of luck, perhaps it was beginner’s luck? But I managed to win around eight times what I started with, which was fantastic. However, dad kept losing so in the end, when we broke even, we decided to call it quits.
A final day in Macau, and then it was time to head home. At this stage, we just wanted the holiday to go on forever..