I imagined Chinese New Year to be a lot different here. Perhaps it was because I spent most of it in a small town outside Hong Kong, or with foreigners but it wasn’t as festive as I had presumed. Nevertheless, the streets of Macau were brimming with slow moving, all consuming Mainlanders, who had hopped the ferry for what must be their annual trip to the land of Casinos.
The island of Macau is dedicated to gambling. As gambling is still outlawed in China, this is one place where the Chinese can throw their money to the wind, put 500 RMB on black and pray for wealth or what they seem to call ‘happiness’.
It is still quite a beautiful place, surrounded by the sea and filled with crazy neon signs, elaborately designed buildings and outlined with wide European style promenades. Small-rise Portugese style peppermint coloured houses litter the waters edge, connected by clumsy pebbled paths.
Despite all the colour, I feel that life here in Macau is rather black and white. Amongst the high-rise casinos there are malls, government housing, hotels, hotels, malls, malls and a few schools thrown in for good measure. I’ve never experienced a place like it. It’s another world.