city slicker Macau
Monday 04 March 1996
Top acts: The organisers have managed to attract musical groups from Mozambique and Portugal, and even the Prague Festival Ballet. But real entertainment has got to be at gigs by the local police band or the exhibition of photographs about the airport.
Favoured venues: Public squares like the Senate Square, the Cineteatro, Dom Pedro Theatre and other halls. Probably not the Macau Forum, where the clientele are a discerning lot: when T'Pau played here, at the height of their short-lived fame, they came on after the local bands' support act only to find everyone had gone home.
Post-concert nosh: The Fat Siu Lau has been going donkey's years, but unless you desperately crave greasy fried pigeon give it a miss. The outlying islands are the places to be - either down Food Street on Taipa or at Fernando's on Coloane, where the man himself will talk you into eating curried crab or grilled giant prawns.
Other entertainment: Gambling is what the enclave is all about and there are casinos everywhere, from James Bond-style hotel gaming halls to the rather more rudimentary Floating Casino, whose impassive, constantly spitting clientele put the phlegm in phlegmatic. If you prefer betting on beasts, there's also a horse-racing stadium and a dog track. Or, since the Chinese place gambling second only to breathing, you'll be able to get odds on those two flies on the window.
Quickest way to lose your money: Go into a casino, but given that you can afford a flutter, steer clear of the one-armed bandits (known locally as "hungry tigers",) and ferociously competitve blackjack tables and try one of the Chinese games. Dai-siu ("big, small") is the easiest to grasp: the croupier shakes three dice and keeps them covered while you place bets on what the dice show. At its most basic, you bet on "big" (total number above 10) or "small" (below 10) - rather like hitting red or black, odd or even, in roulette.
Where to stay: Imagine if Liberace had been an architectural consultant and Danny La Rue had been brought in to do the interior decor: what you'd have is the Hotel Lisboa, a glittering multi-storey orange drum with portholes, replete with casinos, bars, restaurants, shops, cash machines for eager punters, the cheesy Crazy Paris floor show and a sauna.
Nightlife: Gambling aside, there isn't any. Rave is what the locals do when they lose at blackjack and you're hard pushed to get a drink outside a hotel bar. The Black Ship is the only real pub in the centre, though for a walk on the wild side try Pyretu's on the outskirts, where the African rhythms assume a new and more interesting meaning with the passing of every virulent cocktail.
Best cake: At the Pastelaria Caravela, a spot-on recreation of a Portuguese pastry shop/cafe, stuffed into a back-alley amid cheap noodle shops. Grab a cup of Asia's best coffee and dig in.
The colonial life: There's still three years yet before Macau gets handed back to China, so there's plenty of time to book into the Bela Vista, savour lunch on the terrace and then slip into the Clube Militar for drinks and dinner. And it still being part of Portugal, there's no tax on the vintage port.
Further details from the Macau Tourist Information Bureau (0171-224 3390)
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
Geoffrey Macnab reviews American Hustle, also starring Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper
Dennis Rodman will coach the North Korea basketball team
Arts & Ents blogs
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Coriolanus, theatre review: 'Tom Hiddleston has blazing stellar power'
Nymphomaniac, film review: 'Despite the surreal sex scenes this is a serious drama'
Call the Midwife Christmas special: Behind the scenes with Miranda Hart
Justin Bieber's mishaps and controversies
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 4 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >