Another late night, just got back from Macau. Had a great day, but it got off to an iffy start. I met Jason, Elaine, and her mother around 2pm and we all took a ferry to Macau which is an island an hour to the east, except I stupidly left my American passport in my room and only had my German passport at the ferry terminal. So I had to leave an hour later, buy another ticket, and pay a hefty cab fare. It was okay though, definitely worth it. Got some more stamps in my passport, saw another place. Macau is very european themed, and there are many casinos. We went to the newest one, called Sands. In this place I truly felt special, because for the first 4 hours or so, I think that I might’ve been the ONLY caucasian in this entire casino of several thousand people. It was a unique feeling that I don’t think I’ve ever had. No one really seemed to speak any English in the entire place except for Jason, Elaine, and myself. Jason and I tried to order a rum and coke but no one knew what it was. I would say RUM & COKE and they would say COKE?? I would repeat, RUM and they would say LUM? RUM. LUM? RUM. LUM?? And so on, ad infinitum. Pretty hilarious actually. I played a lot of video poker and actually did pretty well, considering that I spent about $100 HKD over the span of 3 hours, and got 5-6 free drinks. I taught Jason how to play, he’d never even played poker before. One of the most memorable parts of the night was when we were standing by the slot machines and someone hit a jackpot. The machine starts making a lot of noise and people are getting excited. Me being the only giant caucasian, I start clapping loudly and holding my hands in the air, and everyone follows suit. It was tremendous. I was congratulating the person, encouraging everyone to clap and saying “YES.. YES.. YES, YOU ARE A CHAMPION” and so forth (after having about 4 mixed drinks) and they were loving it. After a minute a casino attendant came over and shushed me while laughing himself. Also, I won $50 HKD on a single hand which was my best winning of the evening. We also ate at the buffet which was intense. I haven’t been that full in a long time. The buffet was Las Vegas themed and enormous. The biggest I’ve ever seen. The food was delicious; they had great sushi hand rolls. I’d say it was far and away the best meal I’ve had so far in Asia (I’m almost sad to say that it was inspired by the infamous buffets of Las Vegas). After the casino we went to take the ferry back to Hong Kong, which is a 60 minute journey, but all of the ferries were booked full for the next 90 minutes. So Elaine and her mother waited while Jason and I went for an extended walk with our cameras. Fortunately he had a mini tripod which I got a lot of use out of taking night time photos. We were walking along a harbor and I knew that I could get some great shots, but I needed to get to higher ground. I found a wooden ladder on the ground near the water and propped it up to the side of an abandoned one story building. Climbed the ladder and mounted the roof, and took no small number of pictures from that vantage point. Judging from the preview screen on my camera, they came out fantastically, but the real test will be in just a moment when I check them on the computer.

I believe that today is the 12th and that I’m scheduled to check out of the Rent-a-Room tomorrow at noon. This is very displeasing. I will most likely extend my stay, because I don’t feel ready to leave yet. I set my alarm for 9:30am tomorrow so that I can go to the Visa office near central station on HK island and get a visa for the mainland before noon, hopefully with next day processing. We’ll see how much it runs me. I got some travel quotes earlier, it looks like I’ll spend about half as much taking a bus to GZ and then flying to Chengdu as opposed to flying directly to Chengdu from HK. Additionally, I get to see more of the mainland Chinese landscape. I’m greatly looking forward to both of those! HK is so expensive, it’s draining my bank account. I can’t stay too much longer, maybe just until the weekend (I believe it’s wednesday now). I will have a quick review of the images that I took tonight and then get some sleep as I’m very tired.