The last week has been absolutely insane for me. I don't think I've ever been so stressed in my entire life, not even during exams... However, before I post what I managed to accomplish in a twelve hour period, I'll write about the lovely vacation I took right before plunging into the deep end.
If you're in Hong Kong right now or are about to go, I'm sure you'll notice the very loud and in your face advertisements for Galaxy Macau, the newest casino/resort. Their big selling point, aside from promotional fares for their rooms, is a huge, open-air wave pool. In fact, I think it's the largest rooftop wave pool. Well, seeing these signs, the boyfriend and I decided to go! The package deals were quite nice and it's cheaper to go during the weekdays. Our promotional deal was hkd 1,688 (I just checked the website and it's gone up in price! It's now hkd 1,788) which included both round trip ferry tickets. All told, with tax, etc, the room ended up costing hkd one thousand nine hundred and something. The ferry took us straight to the Cotai strip, which is where Galaxy, the Venetian, etc are located.
Quick tip for those who are hk id holders but not permanent residents: you NEED to bring your PASSPORT! Even though you can use your hkid to leave Hong Kong, you'll need your passport to be able to pass immigration in Macau. I have a permanent ID so I just had to show that and it wasn't a problem. However, my boyfriend only has a regular ID and it was very fortunate we had his passport.
Here's the timeline:
On Thursday, June 2, we found out we had to go to India. Since I work on Fridays, we couldn't go to the visa center (which is in East Tsim Tsa Tsui) and Monday, June 6, was a holiday, we didn't apply for the visa until Tuesday, June 7. Since I've had my permanent ID for more than two years, I was able to get it the next day. However, since my boyfriend had only had his ID for less than a year, he had to be approved. The office claimed that he had to get cleared from the U.S. Consulate and that it would take 4-5 business days.
We bought tickets to go to India on June 16, thinking that gave us enough time.
We were to go to Macau on Monday, June 13 and before going on the ferry, the bf went to the visa place to drop off his passport, assuming he'd gotten approved.
Well, he wasn't. So, instead of his visa being either in our apartment or at the visa place, we had it on us. Which ended up working out perfectly since he needed it to get into Macau...
Anyway, so we boarded the handy shuttle bus to Galaxy after being so relieved at the serendipitous turn of events! The first thing you'll notice about Galaxy is the very ostentatious entrance. There's a giant fountain in which, every thirty minutes, a huge diamond floats out of. There's also a bridge to go to the reception to the left.
We arrived around 2:00 but because of the late check out policy, we couldn't check in til 3:00. To be honest, we weren't impressed with the whole check in process. There was a huge line and not enough people running the desks. With the extra time, we went to a bar adjacent to the bridge. Food is pretty good, so are the drinks! They don't skimp... Well, at 3:00 we went to the pick up key line but when we got to the front, they said our room wasn't ready yet and that it would probably take another hour! This was extremely unprofessional since it was clear they had rooms but were reserving them for unexpected VIP. After a bit of nudging, the woman grudgingly found us a room.
I have to say, despite all of the hassle of checking in, our room was spectacular. It had a king-sized bed with a balcony (these are smoking rooms but since they're so new, they don't smell like smoke yet!). The view was awesome. It looked out at the two pools and the other hotel tower in the Galaxy complex.
After a few snapshots, we went to the wave pool which actually has a beach. There's even a huge floater that you can climb up on on one side and then slide down the other. The wave pool was fun for a bit but it gets a bit exhausting fighting the constant waves.
They have an area leading to their other pool which is supposed to be heated but I couldn't tell the difference in temperature. They also have jacuzzis!
After getting back to the room, my boyfriend surprised me with tickets to the famed House of Dancing Water in the City of Dreams! I was blind and didn't see them just sitting there on my pillow... These were VIP tickets which meant we had center seats, free chocolates, and a drink.
Since the show wasn't until 8:00, we went down to explore the casinos and get a bite. The casinos are pretty fun. I don't know how to play baccarat and most of the casinos not on the Cotai strip like the Wynn and the MGM Grand were filled with baccarat tables. However, Galaxy has a good mix of baccarat, craps, roulette, black jack, and all sorts of poker.
Prior to this trip, I didn't know how to play craps but a friend of mine was kind enough to teach me! I love this game. In most casino games, the players tend to treat each other with a certain amount of animosity. They have absolutely not tolerance for newbies. However, craps is a community game and while it may take awhile to win big, it's still fun. Also, there's a bar where there's live entertainment. These photos are from after the House of Dancing Water (closer to 11:00) but I'll just post them here since it fits with the whole casino section:
Be prepared for a ton of smoking. People smoked EVERYWHERE. Even when checking in!
After a little gambling where I lost all my money but then won it all back and came out on top with hkd20, we went to Gosto, which was a decent Portuguese restaurant with great sangria.
After this, we took a taxi over to City of Dreams, which was about five minutes away. I also discovered how severely my camera is affected by the drastic change when transitioning from air conditioning to the humid outside.
House of Dancing Water is amazing. I completely recommend it. It's like Cirque Du Soleil with water! The music was terrific and it was just a ton of fun. Also, the way the stage is set and the auditorium, any seats are decent seats. It was quite nice being VIP for a night though =) I won't describe any more because part of what made it so awesome were the unexpected surprises!
After getting back to the room, I had one more surprise in store for me. My birthday is in August but because our lives are going to be pretty up in the air for the next few months, my bf decided to give me an early birthday present. He hid it under the pillow! It was a Nikon 105mm macro lens. I've wanted this lens for a year and I would consider it my first professional lens. There will be a follow up post where I talk about the awesomeness that is this lens!!!
Now, since Galaxy has just opened, I think the Venetian decided that they needed a spectacle to pull people their end. To this end, they created Ice World. If you take the cotai jet over, you'll see plenty of advertisements for this and I have to say, it's worth seeing! Basically, they hired a bunch of ice sculpture carvers from Harbin, China and it took them a few months to make the ice exhibit.
It's really extensive. There are multiple rooms and it takes you all around the world! Some tips before going though:
1. Ladies, wear jeans and closed shoes. If you don't, then you can ask them for snow boots but they only go up to your ankle. It is cold, cold, COLD.
2. They actually provide parkas that are really warm, so no worries!
3. You can actually exit the exhibit and get some hot chocolate/tea, etc and then re-enter. We filled out a survey and the guy told us that many people aren't aware of this, so I'm sharing. The only time you can't re-enter is when you exit that entire area and are walking the halls of the Venetian again.
Tickets were hkd 100 and they have a free bag check. If you're in town and have time, go see it! The guy giving us the survey said they're hoping to run this for two more years and that they want to change out the exhibits every once in awhile.
|You can actually slide down these! Just go up the stairs and there will be a guy at the top with little strips of carpet that you sit on! It's so much fun!|
|Ice bar at the end! Get some vodka to warm you up =)|
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