The Casino Lisboa in all her glory. This is Macau's 'strip'.
The main square at night. All the lanterns were in honor of the mid-autumn festival.
What remains of St. Paul's Cathedral. The other four walls burnt down in a fire in the 1800s. Only the front facade remains.
The old quarter's main square. Colonial style buildings with beautifully tiled sidewalks.
At one of the city's many viewpoints...note the very large Casino Lisboa in the background.Eating BBQ's corn on the island of Coloane - the southern part of Macau.

When we stepped off the hydrofoil in Macau after the hour-long ride from Hong Kong, I wasn't sure if we were in a parallel Vegas universe, if we were in Mainland China, or if we'd somehow stepped off somewhere in Portugal.

We were in Portugal because of the architecture and street signs and in Vegas because of the craziest looking casinos including the under construction vegas-style everlasting huge exploding volcano. We were in China because our ordered dinners translated from the chinese menu were "noodles with shrimp's dumping" and "cheese and egg sandwich with managed".

Here, the excess of Vegas meets Asian kitsch. Itƒ??s truly a bizarre experience. The ingenuity and capacity of the Chinese seriously astounds me. And most of this incredible development and growth has happened between 2002 and now. I wish the City of Calgary could operate the same way with contstruction of the LRT and the Ring Road.

And it all culminates in The Grand Lisboa. Itƒ??s an architectural wonder. I can't believe someone had the vision for it in the first place, and then actually pulled it off. The building looks like a, well a whale spurt, if you can imagine it. Fans of metal and glass reach up towards the heavens. A bulb of flashing lights and mirrors and glass billowing out of the bottom of the hotel is the casino.

As for the two of us? We stayed in the old quarter, surrounded by bakeries, sweets shops, and Portuguese-styled buildings, in a colonial era hostel.

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