Macau 2016 — Post 4

They still weren’t ready to give Chuck a room so we left the Ponte 16 and headed back out. They did take his bags so we were unencumbered tourists, wandering through the 99.999% humid streets of Macau. I was reluctant to leave the air-conditioned environs of the casino but I couldn’t resist the draw of the city. We stepped into the unknown with sweat-induced gusto.

We were headed back to Wynn. The simple thing would have been to walk the straight line and re-trace our steps but instead, we dove into the maze of intersecting streets that exist between the two casino complexes. Macau is an ancient place with a rich history. Like the glorious European cities it is a contemporary of, there are narrow, winding cobblestone avenues, complete with dead-ends, T-junctions and a myriad of local vendors plying their wares. Just as the great capitals of Europe, it’s fun to explore.

Perhaps Chuck had a good sense of where we were headed. I had no clue other than a general sense of direction so when we came across what seemed to be a sacred space filled with incense, I took it seriously. I have a deep personal sense of respect for people’s religious traditions, even if I don’t always understand them. I think it was actually a former temple that was now a store of some kind but hey — I was a guest in the country and I was reluctant to dismiss it as just a candle shop.

Walking those streets was a thrill. This was my first time in a large east-Asian city (did you know Macau is the most densely populated place in the world?) and going in I was excited but didn’t know what to expect.

It’s crowded in the sense that the streets are busy. People all seem to have somewhere to go. But on the main thoroughfares at least, I always felt very comfortable. It felt like a busy shopping district in any large city.

We visited a small shop selling what seemed to be spicy beef and pork jerky. Chuck charged forth with gusto. I will admit, my first reaction was to be somewhat suspect. As a Californian who has visited Mexico many times, I learned there to be careful about fun looking street food that translated into a weekend in the bathroom. I reminded myself I wasn’t there to be overly cautious so I dug in as well. I had no problems with that food or with any food or water I had in Macau or Hong Kong and I ate and drank a lot. It’s fine.

The serpentine streets emptied out near the Lisboa but we still had to make our way across the street to Wynn. The underground tunnel network between the hotels has quite a few entry and exit points. Many of them are labeled. Some of them are labeled correctly.

Did I mention it was hot out? We took one of the routes that was labeled as ‘Wynn Macau’ but instead of coming up in front of the chocolate palace, we found our way through what seemed like an emergency escape route that dropped us into a tiny greenhouse-like building in the middle of a roundabout that was also barricaded and locked. It was like a scene out of the movie European Vacation. One locked door and Chuck and I would still be in that glass box today, waving at the fancy cars driving by.

Fortunately, the doors behind us hadn’t closed and we were able to make our way back and then to Wynn. I can’t speak for Chuck but at this point I was sweating so much I was embarrassed to be seen in polite company. I looked like I had just come up from a deep sea diving expedition, but in my clothes.

Still, when we made our way to 99 Noodles through Encore’s tiny casino, they seated us without any complaint about my appearance (Chuck was looking good).

I can’t remember exactly what I ordered. Some sort of noodle dish and I think some pot stickers. And a beer. There were beers. The food was really good and, like most of my meals in Macau, inexpensive. The two of us had a really great lunch for maybe $30USD and that included beer.

I’ve always been terrible with chopsticks. I know this. The GM at 99 Noodles offered me a fork but I declined at first — I was trying to “blend in”. No dice. I could tell he was watching me botch my noodle-to-mouth delivery pretty significantly. He came by the table a couple of times to check in and eventually I took the hint and was better off for it. We settled up and Chuck went off on his way. I was on my own.

My intention was to say up to hang out with John but he had been delayed a few times and I was already a bit tired. I hadn’t yet been over to MGM so that was next on my agenda. I took a walk across the street and entered the lion’s palace.

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