The Ball State crew took a trip out of the country on Thursday, sort of.  We went to Macau, about a one-hour ferry ride from Hong Kong.  Like Hong Kong, Macau was returned to the central Chinese government about a decade ago.  But before that time, Macau was part of Portugal.  Getting there is an international adventure.  We had to go through immigration and customs, again, as if we were leaving the country.  Maccau has its own currency, even though Hong Kong dollars were accepted just about everywhere.

Even though it’s close to Hong Kong, the feel is a also bit different, thanks in part to its Portugese heritage.  Many of the signs are in Chinese, Portugese and/or English.  And then there was another sight that may be familiar to Americans, signs such as MGM Grand, Venetian, Sands, Hard Rock.  Gambling is big business in Macau.  So, of course, we had to visit.  Others will probably discuss the wins and losses, but the biggest thing I noticed is the difference in gambling style.  There were lots of slot machines.  But it was not easy to find blackjack or poker tables.  And there were baccarat tables everywhere!  A worker at the Sands told us that is the most popular game in the East.  And it sure looked that way.

It was a fun way to spend a day. And even though most of us lost a few bucks, we have another stamp in our passports to show for the visit.

The MGM Grand is just one of many hotel/casinos in Macau.

The gleaming waterfront skyline of Macau.