The only thing I knew about the country of Macau before getting on a 4am ferry to it was that it is a very important backdrop to the first Korean drama I ever watched. Poor female lead chases filthy rich male lead to The Venetian, where they have a massive DTR and she switches to second male lead for a few episodes. Only to switch back later breaking everyone’s hearts.
Thank you sweet spirit who made this music video.
I remembered Macau, and The Venetian, but I’ve seen and done a lot since I watched that show. The entire day I spent in Macau was a weird mixture of new experience and deja vu. If I had known I had two days, if I had known I was going to Macau, I would have rewatched this episode. But instead, we get off the airplane and Jessica is like, ‘do you want to go to Macau?’ and I’m like,
So it’s 1am and we walk off the plane and get on a random bus to the mainland and find the ferry terminal and get on the 4am ferry to a place I hadn’t even Wikiepedia-ed and I couldn’t because I was no longer in Korea.
We pulled into the harbor after a restless sleep on a turbojet and filed off with the 10 other people so who decided to take a 4am ferry to Macau and walk outside into the dark and we’re like…what now? I didn’t know if The Venetian was a real place. Like is there an actual place called The Venetian, is it actually in Macau, and did they even film it there? Or is it some random hotel called something else in another country?
A taxi pulled up beside us and asked if we needed to go somewhere. I poked my head through the window and said the only thing I knew– “The Venetian?”
He nodded his head “okay” and we got into his cab.
And that’s how I ended up sleeping in the food court of the Venetian.
It may actually be one of the classiest places I’ve ever slept in. No–that is not real sky. That is a painted ceiling. No–that is not the creeping light of dawn. That is artificial.
But yes, those buildings are all real and there are restaurants/upscale designer stores inside.
Yes there is a river that runs through the entire mall/hotel/casino.
And yes you can ride a gondola through it.
Turns out–the Venetian hotel hosts the largest casino in the world. And naturally, the largest casino in the world is open 24 hours. Which is how I ended up feeling like a princess when I did my makeup in this bathroom.
And when I wandered these hallways
We pretty much had the entire place to ourselves until around 10am when the food court finally opened and the chaebols and Arab princes came downstairs to get their morning Peking Duck.
No one ever asked us what we were doing there. No one ever asked to see my id or room key or wallet. We just walked around like we were supposed to be there. Which is pretty much how I do anything these days.
We took the free shuttle bus to the island 4 times in a single day. And nobody ever asked to see any proof that we slept in an actual room. Nobody had to know that we slept in the food court.
We kept returning to the Venetian, which we called Our Castle, after each venture because they had wifi and an Apple Store. We didn’t really think about plugs and therefore didn’t have the right chargers. So we took shifts watching over our phones charging in the speakers on display.
During that time I used the Macs on display to actually Wikipedia Macau and I learned some important things.
Like how China claims Macau is theirs, Portugal claims it is theirs, and Macau declares itself independent.
How it’s made up of a peninsula bordering main land China and an island, with a bridges connecting the two.
When we weren’t wandering the glitzy shops of The Venetian, charging our phones, or eating at the original egg tart shop, we went on to the island and saw famous things. After an hour or so of meandering through sidestreets, we found ourselves in a run down Myeongdong leading to this giant facade–the front of a giant church supported by stilts.
It was such a strange place. The Portuguese churches with Chinese written on them wedged between giant flashing casinos had a charm I’ve never seen elsewhere.
Since it was the day of Mid-Autumn festival, there just happened to be a fireworks show that night next to Macau Tower.
It was cute–it looked like the entire island showed up to stand by the shore of this lake to watch the show. There were kids with floating lanterns and light up jump ropes and people had brought their little dogs and couples sat on picnic blankets. It felt a little bit…small town-ish. The glitziest small town in existence–but it that was part of its charm.
I came to Macau knowing next to nothing. After 24 hours, I can say that perhaps I know a little bit more.
Like, Hong Kong dollars work in Macau, but Macau dollars do NOT work in Hong Kong.
That pretty much no one speaks English.
That the taxi drivers aren’t very nice and may kick you out of their taxi if they don’t understand you. But the police are very nice–they’ll even make a restaurant reservation for you.
That you can use the free hotel shuttle buses to get back and forth from the peninsula and the island–no one will know you didn’t pay to stay there.
That egg tarts are delicious and fresh jerky is…well…if you like that kind of thing.
And that it’s an extremely confusing place.
No wonder female lead switched lovers in Macau. It plays with your head.
In a good way.