Macau--September 9, 2004--Hotel Lisboa
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Macau is a former Portuguese colony, which, in 1999, transferred control to China, concluding 400 years of Portuguese rule. Similar to Hong Kong's transfer arrangements, it maintains certain functions for an additional fifty years.
Macau in recent times has been the gambling capital of this part of the world, since gambling is officially illegal in China. Macau is about 40 miles west of Hong Kong and high speed jetfoils (142, 154) make the journey to Macau from Hong Kong in less than an hour, traveling at a speed of 40 knots. These ferries leave every 15-30 minutes.
Today, we were the guests of a graduate school classmate whose family owns the largest hotel and casinos in Macau. We made the journey over and back on the jetfoils and had a wonderful lunch with my classmate and his wife at their Hotel Lisboa. Before lunch, they made a suite available to us to freshen up (151, 153) and we also noted their significant expansion plans (152) where the hotel will be tripled in size from 1,000 to 3,000 rooms. American gambling interests are also moving into the area with the Sands (149) already open and Steve Wynn's group building another casino hotel that will open in 2-3 years.
Although the day was very foggy and we did not take many pictures, we had a very enjoyable time with my classmate and his wife whom I had not seen for thirty-three years. They arranged a quick tour of Macau for us, including a drive-by of the Macau Tower (147-148), also owned by their family. It is 1,107 feet tall, the world's ten tallest building.
In the late afternoon, we made our way back to Hong Kong for a concluding cocktail party with our tour group, the last time we would all be together.
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