Sunday, September 04, 2011

Relaxing in Macau

Today, after an agonising run where my body lost all ability to propel itself forward at the 19-kilometre mark, we took the ferry to Macau.

Usually this is a stressful and rushed affair, sprinting to the ferry terminal to just in time catch the boat. This time we were calm and relaxed, which was good, because with my tired legs I wasn't sprinting anywhere.

Unluckily, we got cheap tickets for a different ferry to every other time we've been to Macau, only realised this at the last minute, which meant he had to sprint, stressed, to the other end of the ferry terminal. Oh well.

When we arrived, customs was abnormally fast - we were through in five minutes. Then we took the free bus to the MGM, walked through to the new Mandarin Oriental, and spent the afternoon drinking. So much for my plans to avoid alcohol and concentrate on my fitness; I had a ludicrous concoction called a Coffee Aviation. If you're going to make a drink with Kahlua and a shot of espresso in it, does it really matter that the gin is coffee flavoured? Isn't that a bit superfluous? And isn't caffeinated booze just a little bit self-defeating? It's like driving with one foot on the brake and the other on the accelerator.

I had a couple of glasses of wine for balance, and an orange juice. The staff at the Mandarin Oriental are very friendly, although lacking a little in any sense of urgency. It took about half an hour for the first glass of wine to arrive after we'd ordered it, and then the server missed the glass the first time he tried pouring. Never mind, it's a Sunday and we weren't in any rush.

However, after all the booze was consumed we were starving (no lunch) and drunk, so we wandered the deserted mall attached to the Mandarin Oriental until I got bored of pretending to shop assistants that I wanted to buy an iPad/a 23,000$ anorak/a blue plastic shirt fit only for a down-on-his-luck mafioso with no taste.

Then, having had our pre-prandial exercise, we walked back to the MGM to eat pasta and drink highly overpriced chilled water (90$ for a bottle), while bored looking families were delivered huge mounds of seafood. It's a bit sad to see exactly how unimpressed they were; after all, they were the ones who ordered it. It's a shame if you spunk a grand on a heap of shrimps and then greet it with no more excitement than your tax return.

On the other hand, lobsters and langoustines are nothing more than cockroaches with a good PR agency; should anyone ever be impressed by them?

As for me, I'm happy with some sea-salt encrusted butter spread on fresh bread, and a simple splodge of pasta was enough to make me happy. We filled up my wife with wine, and then took the bus back to the ferry, got a super class ticket and headed back to Hong Kong.

All in all, thoroughly relaxing. It's perhaps a shame to go all the way to Macau just to skulk in air-conditioned sterility, but if you do that in Hong Kong, there are enormous crowds. In Macau, the insane over-optimism of developers has meant there's far more shopping centres than could be required, which means plenty of space. And once you've visited all the cultural sites a few times, there shouldn't be any guilt in just pampering yourself instead.


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