Thursday, July 2, 2009

Weekend in Macau

It took seven trips to Macau for me to set foot in Wynn for the first time. We were drawn in mostly by the AC, but once inside I actually managed to find the casino hotel borderline grand. On the ceiling just inside the main entrance is a magnificent sculpture featuring the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, seemingly dominated by the tiger displaying its ferocious roar. Both the ceiling and the astrology-themed dome directly below were structured to suggest that they’d crack open to reveal something mystical. Soon enough crowds started to gather for what’s to come.

At 15 minutes past the hour, the show began. Lights dimmed and music played. Like the shutter of a film camera, the sculpture split into pizza-slice-shaped plates and slowly retracted into the ceiling to unveil a glow, which was simply a giant LCD screen displaying winding swirls of multicolored lights ― short of magical but would easily be the Mecca of any rave party. The LCD itself then split open and uncovered yet another bright light. This time it was a massive upside-down-pudding-shaped chandelier. As it lower from inside the ceiling, the astrology-themed dome on the ground split open. The crowd ooh-ed and ahh-ed as we braced ourselves for the moment of truth. Who knew the fancy 15-minute buildup would be followed by the ultimate anticlimax of a Styrofoam tree spray-painted gold rising from the underground, for people to throw spare change at. I think it’s safe to say this has constituted my WTF moment of the year.

As we window shopped our way through the Wynn Esplanade, we made every effort to zone out the rowdy chitchat in oh so many different Chinese dialects that were echoing past Herm├Ęs, Rolex and Ferrari. One conversation in particular was interrupted by the distinctive sound of someone hocking up phlegm as if from the bottom of his knees. I quickly turned around and prepared myself to dodge what flying dagger could be coming my way. I was one of at least four people including a Wynn staff who witnessed as the foamy puddle landed on the mosaic marble floors, right there in front of Prada. The shooter must’ve seen my look of disgust and kept his ears away from his phone just long enough to hear my loud exclamation of “Oh my God”, because he quickly looked away, picked up his pace and returned to his tongue-rolling prattle on his Vertu, only now in a much lower volume than before. Sadder yet, the Wynn staff was even quicker to flee the scene.

We didn't stay at Wynn, but at Rio (don’t ask) where everything screams Mainland: Complimentary breakfast with flies (Not in the food, just hovering around. Just.); hookers roaming the lobby; gamblers filling up the casinos with clatter, cheap smoke and booger darts; spitting hookers handing out business cards to gamblers; spitting gamblers in the casinos straight-out eyeing you as if ready to ask your price. What more could you ask for?

Until Cirque du Soleil debuts its second resident show at the Venetian Macau, I’m done with the so-called Vegas of Asia. Like with every other potentially wonderful thing in the Greater China Region, Mainlanders have taken over Macau and contaminated it with their sheer inconsideration for the existence of everything that’s not them.

ROARRR

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