I recently woke early one Saturday after a busy week of work and, keen to get away from my laptop for a few hours, took a morning drive down to Coloane. After a delightful buffet breakfast at Grand Coloane Resort, I continued onto Hac Sa Beach where I walked along the waterfront and enjoyed the surrounding views before making my way to Lord Stow’s Bakery to grab a few egg tarts for the drive back home. Not a bad way to spend a sleepy Macau morning!
The following day, a colleague suggested checking out the Macau Food Festival at Sai Van Lake Square. Arriving late afternoon, we tasted some fine local delicacies before striking up a conversation with representatives from the Sarawak Tourism Board, who proudly spent the next two hours giving us a guided and incredibly tasty tour of the festival’s substantial Malaysian section.
A few nights later I came across a quaint little wine bar called Macau Soul, near the Ruins of St Paul’s, where another work colleague joined me for a bottle of Portuguese Shiraz. Throw in a few glasses of fine port and we soon found ourselves having a laugh at the Wynn Macau roulette tables.
Anticipating the sore head that would ensue, I planned a lengthy sleep-in the following day only to be foiled by the unmistakable roar of a dozen engines piercing Macau’s morning air. It was, of course, Macau Grand Prix week! Unperturbed, I instead wandered down to my favorite coffee shop – another recent addition to the Macau landscape – while enjoying a closer view of the Grand Prix track. Ironically, as I passed through the park I couldn’t help but notice a newly built display for December’s inaugural International Film Festival & Awards which I had long ago pegged as a must-see event.
Why do I tell you all of this? I do so because it got me thinking. Looking back a few years to when the government first started its campaign to “diversify” Macau – a campaign focused primarily on the city’s gaming concessionaires – I clearly remember wondering exactly what the authorities meant by diversification. Would a few more restaurants and retail malls make all the difference? What about a roller coaster or two? Would that fulfil the brief?
Yet the more time I spend in Macau, the more I discover. And as exciting as it is to see the Cotai Strip growing towards completion with the launch of Wynn Palace and The Parisian in 2016, Macau’s real richness is located outside the casino walls – where diversity awaits around every corner.
As always, follow the dragon,
Ben Blaschke, Editor-in-Chief