Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bigger is better

I'm sure that Sun Tzu must have said that in the Art of War because it is easy to find the biggest whatever in China.

I started with the Venetian Macau, the largest casino in the world. It is very difficult to get a sense of the size from the ground when you walk up, it looks about the same as the one in Las Vegas, except instead of a lovely walkway, there is a massive parking lot full of busses continuously ejecting tour groups. But then you go in and begin to wander, and wander, and wander. And then you can't find the exit and you are impressed by the designers who built this maze of commercial nirvana. They have interactive maps that attempt to help you, but you really need to be part of one of those tour groups to have any hope. There is also something quite odd about seeing a rotund Chinese man in an Italian costume steering a boat down a faux Venetian channel. I never did find the ice palace that got me in there in the first place. Oh, and it is built on a very large span of reclaimed land between two real islands.

Back on the island of Hong Kong, I navigated to Central and up a steep incline to the Mid-level escalators. Touted to be the longest escalator in the world, it is really a random sequence of walkways, escalators and people movers. It only goes up and sections are often broken. It takes you past shops and restaurants and isn't nearly as exciting as it should be. There is also some odd Oyster card station along the way where you can tap your transit card (for the metro) and get a 2 HKD credit. People were lined up for this and it is a decent walk from the metro, so it remains a mystery why people are rewarded for the excursion. Perhaps it is part of some exercise program the government runs.

Finally I got to experience a vertigo inducing cocktail in the bar at the World's highest hotel on the Kowloon side. It is appropriately named Ozone and the decor is also a bit disorienting. The outdoor terrace is protected from the wind but open on the top and sits at 118 stories up. I had a gorgeous clear night and a great view of the glittering lights of the city.

Next I'm off to Japan where I hope they don't have the biggest earthquake.

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