Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sex and Gambling in Macao

Macao—Sex and Gambling
Gambling is illegal in Hong Kong, unless you count attempting to cross the street. Having just avoided the Chinese tarot card of Reincarnation, on which is pictured the two-decker bus I had just side-stepped by millimeters, and with The Kaiser on the phone, concurrently inviting us to Macao to do some "real" gambling, I imagined he meant a live firing range where we’d have the pleasure of an adrenaline rush earned by dodging bullets sent at us with love by Communist Army Snipers.
Realizing that this was vastly safer to navigating the bus terminal, littered with all the spooky fortune tellers, I quickly agreed.
It turns out that Macao is a former Portuguese colony whose economy is entirely based on sex and gambling. It was once owned primarily by the legendary Stanley Ho, who earned his fame on the hit Chinese reality TV show, “Last Gangster Standing,” and apparently used his winnings to buy up most of Macao.
Available only by ferry, we took the hour long ride and got in a little before midnight. It’s sort of a toned down version of Vegas, but earns even more money due to Asia’s insatiable appetite for gambling.
Macao casinos, view from ferry

But before we went to the casino, The Kaiser wanted to take us to see an Asian “Bath House,” … (editors note: we are having internet connection problems, I’m doing my best to pick-up what I can) ……………………. “Line-up.” ……………….. “Massage? What type of massage?” ………………….”Ummm, nooo ….” ……………. “She did what?!” ……………….. …………………… “Kaiser, you’re one sick puppy.”
So after that little adventure, we decided to hit one of Stanster’s casinos. Unlike Vegas, you have to go through a series of metal detectors in order to gain entrance. I think it’s cute they still want to get make use of their props even though “Last Gangster Standing” was taken off the air sometime last year.
Now, I am not a gambler. For those of you know what a good poker player I am, and believe my statement to be a divergence from truth, let me explain; I define gambling as risking your hard earned greenbacks when the odds are against you, thus making it more efficient, time wise, merely to set fire to your money. I am far, far, far too smart to play games of chance.
Andrew, on the other hand, was salivating over the decision of whether to play blackjack or baccarat first. After first setting fire to his first 1,000 Hong Kong dollars, he switched to baccarat.
Asians have an insane appetite for gambling.
In baccarat you can bet on the Player or The Bank. (the house) As my nickname in basketball is “The Bank,” because I am so money, I encouraged Andrew to bet exclusively on “The Bank.”
After watching him break even, eventually I threw down 200 on the bank to demonstrate my faith. Andrew, who had his money on “Player” told The Kaiser, that, “Rich is extremely lucky,” switched his bet, and we won (of course). Not wanting to be a “Player hater,” I predicted Player would win next, we bet it all on Player, and went back to the ferry terminal happy campers.
Even at 6 AM, the ferry was nearly sold out, and the line extended out the door. The Kaiser and Andrew wondered if we were ever going to get home.
“Follow me,” I commanded, leading us to the front of the line, where I not so subtly, cut in front of everyone. I felt the energy of all the nasty looks behind me, and when people started shouting (it might have been at me) I turned around and addressed the line.
“It’s okay,” I explained to the angry mob behind me, “We’re Americans.”

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