Photo Diary: Macao

Macao is known to be the Asian equivalent of Sin City thanks to its reputation of being the home to several towering casinos. I expected it to be busy, filled with roisterers but the reality I was shown had been far from that.

The streets were relatively empty — even during noon on a weekday — I found this to be strange. Perhaps dwelling in a city that seems to be running out of space to accommodate its people to live in comfortably is my idea of a functioning city.

Maybe that was the case, I thought. Maybe I should embrace the  quiet streets since I had 4 days until I would be back in KL, but it became difficult. The lack of distractions made muting the conversations in my head difficult.

I was invited by the Macao tourism board to experience the best the island had to offer — from its annual arts festival to food to getting to know the Macanese heritage. Unfortunately, everything was overwhelming; our schedule for the entire trip was incredibly compact, which made absorbing the information all the more difficult because we were constantly being shown different landmarks or being told different stories of its past without having any time in-between each tour to appreciate where we were in.

But it wasn’t all hazy, though (I mean that in a literal sense as well because damn, the haze in Macao is what it’s like in Malaysia except it’s every day).

I knew MGM was one of Macao’s tenants and being in one had always been a fantasy of mine. We had plans to have lunch there one afternoon — I would have loved to spend a few nights at the hotel but my bank account is not about that life (yet) — so when I got closer to being inside the multi-toned building, even if it was to abuse its buffet, it felt like I had hit the jackpot.

MGM’s establishments are the epitome of luxury; this hotel’s lobby has a gigantic aquarium in the middle of it — and I’m not talking one stretched across a wall but one that starts from its floor to a high ceiling kind of tall. It has a beautiful art gallery; it host exhibits of an artist the company chooses to celebrate every year — this year the artist of choice was Edgar Degas.

Prior to our lunch appointment at MGM, whenever the question pertaining crazy gambling stories were asked (mostly by me because nosy), it was brushed off immediately.

Nobody wanted to talk about it, but thankfully, I met a man who was willing to share stories that no one was meant to be disclosing due to confidential agreements.

When a player is spending millions of dollars at your casino, you’d want to keep their identity protected but since I didn’t own either aspect, I was curious to know what it was like to bear witness to people giving into one of the seven sins.

Suffice to say, a lot of the stories I heard involved someone buying respect or loyalty which only fuelled my curiosity even further. I use to fantasize being married to a powerful man — someone that others feared, not a dictator but a lawless businessman if you will.

We were brought to many museums, historical monuments but my favourite places to visit were its temples. I’ve always loved temples; I feel incredibly calm when I walk into one but I can’t say the same when I’m near a church.

Honestly, I don’t know what it is about churches but I become exceptionally anxious when I’m in the vicinity of one — maybe I’m scared of being that much of a sinner that I might burst into flames when I walk into one (but I’m a saint next to all of my friends — here’s looking at all of y’all), I can’t decide on the reason.

However, I couldn’t resist not going into them because each had beautiful stained glass windows and portraits of Jesus and Mary.

I usually refrain from taking photos inside places of worship out of respect but the temple above is one I needed to document for myself.

There was something majestic about it that I fell in love with, however, the scent of incense was phenomenally pungent that even though it’s been over a month since I left Macao, I am convinced that the scent still lingers on the clothes that I wore on that day.

Overlooking cities from rooftops are one of my favourite things because it makes me look at the bigger picture — in a literal and metaphorical sense. There were so many occupied buildings; I wondered what everyone’s stories were, what were their struggles, what would it be like to live in this city.

But I wasn’t going to be there long enough to have those questions answers; instead, I looked forward to going home to get to know my city better before I thought of another.  As well as to have nasi lemak at Devi’s in Bangsar, of course — y’all should know me by now.

This writer is currently wondering when she will regulate her sleeping patterns and which city she will go to next. Follow her on Instagram here

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