Macau & Hotel Venetian (Hong Kong) 2009

I’ve been to Hong Kong a few times, it’s a great stopover in the way to Europe. In 2009 we took the ferry from Hong Kong to Macau, about an hour away. My friend Rachel Cogan was playing recorder in Cirque du Soleil there. Rachel showed us about the Cirque du Soleil theatre, in the Venetian hotel. The theatre is vast, to the point where the gantries way up above were accessible by lift and wide enough to carry my power chair. The Cirque du Soleil show Zaia was entertaining as usual despite the sappy plot. 

I roamed about Macau in my power chair for half a day. My partner went across to the old town which apparently is very nice but not easy to get to for me. There is an incredibly steep car bridge across but I chickened out about 1/3 of the way over as the walkway got a bit narrow and I didn’t want to have to back for half a kilometre. Normally I would walk bravely on the road but in this situation that would have been suicidal. I walked past skyscraper building sites festooned with bamboo scaffolding many stories high. I also walked through the poorer housing areas, with canyons of apartments covered in air conditioning units. On the street there are all manner of humble shops, often seeming to sell little more than a table and a few pots.

The Venetian hotel is a bizarre construction. It is very loosely based on a replica of Venetian canals, complete with fake gondolas. Inside it is tastelessly opulent. We had a large, wheelchair accessible room with a roll in shower and great views. It cost a lot. The Venetian, like the whole of Macau, is funded by gambling (and probably a bit of money-laundering).

The ferry ride was bizarre. The crew tried to make me sit in a little spot by the toilets marked with a wheelie symbol. I wandered about the boat, looking out various windows alongside dads showing their sons the sights while staff harassed me for breaking the rules. When they drew near I would scoot off to another vantage point. Back in Hong Kong, I parked by the door listening to the blokes outside preparing to open it. This outraged the crew as all lower deck passengers are supposed to wait for the first class to disembark from above. Since they had been so annoyingly officious and in solidarity with the classless communist philosophy I held my ground. Fortunately the door opened and I escaped just as the captain arrived to pull rank. On the jetty, two heavies flanked me and drove me down a bleak corridor. “I’m for it now”, I thought. A door opened and I was ejected into the steamy Hong Kong street. I guess I should advise readers against defying Chinese authority but it sure was fun. 

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