10 Surprising Facts About Macau

Macau is a unique mix of Portuguese and Chinese cultures and has millions of visitors each year. If you are considering a trip to Las Vegas of the East, we have prepared some surprising facts about Macau to prepare you for the holiday.

1. A misunderstanding was the reason for Macau’s name
According to historians, the name of the region originates from a misunderstanding between Portuguese sailors and local citizens. When Portuguese sailors first arrived on the island, they asked the locals what its name was. Locals misunderstood them, however, and told them the name of the local temple, named “A-Ma-Gau”. Of course, Portuguese sailors had no idea they had been told the name of the near temple and not the name of the island, they began calling the area “A-Ma-Gau”, hence the current name Macau.

2. The second-richest place in the world
It will not be a mistake to say that Macau is the greatest beneficiary of its gambling industry. The International Monetary Fund dubbed the region the second richest territory/country in the world in October 2017. The territory’s GDP per capita is $114,430. In addition, the territory does not have any public debt and its fiscal reserves amountes to $55 billion at the dawn of 2016.

3. The most densely-populated region
Other places might seem overpopulated, but the key to Macau’s dense population is its small size. According to statistics, 650,834 people squeeze into 30.5 square kilometers, which makes it the most densely populated territory – there are more than 55,500 people per square mile!

And, believe it or not, Macau welcomed a total of 32.6 million tourists.

4. The government pays the locals
Since there are enormous annual profits from casino taxes, the government awards permanent Macau residents with 9,000 patacas (roughly $1,200) and non-permanent residents 5,400 patacas, or $670. Interestingly, the sum is not to change, and has remained thus for four years.

5. Macau was Europe’s first and only Chinese colony
Macau, which was leased to Portugal in 1557 remains Europe’s first and last colony in China. China leased its island as a trading post, and it became an official Portuguese territory in 1887. Eventually, China got its island back in 1999.

Nowadays, the 450 years of Portuguese influence have left a mesmerising mark. Both culture and architecture are a fusion of Portuguese and Chinese civilisations. That is not all – Portuguese is still the official language.

6. Locals speak one of the most critically endangered languages.
Patuá is a creole language – a blend of Cantonese and Portuguese, which developed in Macau and became Macau’s indigenous Eurasian (Macanese) community’s official language. As of 2000, an estimated 50 people speak Patuá. In 2009, UNESCO classified Patuá as a “critically endangered” language.

In an attempt to preserve the Patuá language and the Macanese culture, locals organise a festival each year where they perform plays in Patuá. The plays have Chinese, Portugal, and English subtitles.

7. Macanese cuisine – the first fusion cuisine in the world
Not surprisingly, given the fact that Portuguese people have lived on the island for more than 400 years, Macanese cuisine is regarded as the world’s first fusion cuisine. Macanese cuisine is a combination of Portuguese ingredients and cooking techniques and Chinese ones. At a traditional restaurant, visitors can try traditional dishes like minchi and African chicken.

8. Has a Guinness Record
Macau is a mecca to all adrenaline junkies. There is a reason why extravagant people go to Macau – the island is home to the Guinness World Record holder for the Highest Commercial Skyjump on the planet – Macau Tower, with a platform of 233m (764ft). Incidentally, Macau Tower is not the highest Bungee location in the world: Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado, United States is raised 321 meters (1,053 ft) above the ground, making it the world’s highest Bungee jump.

Still, Macau attracts more visitors than Colorado9. Is the world’s gambling capital
Another fact about Macau, which probably is not all that surprising today as it would have been back in 2007, is that Macau generates three times the gambling revenues of Las Vegas. In fact, the casino industry in Macau is flourishing to such an extent that it accounts for nearly 80% of the island’s economy.

Macau is the only location in China where gambling is legal, which makes it an appealing location for gamblers from mainland China, Hong Kong, and, of course, the rest of the world. There is a reason why Macau is called the world’s gambling capital – the island’s gaming industry generates $33 billion a year, compared to $939.8 million generated by the Vegas gaming industry. More surprisingly, Macau has just 49 casinos, whereas Vegas is a home to 135 gaming establishments.

10. No alcohol to loosen up while playing
Believe it or not, visitors are not served alcohol in gaming establishments in Macau. Instead of offering customers alcoholic beverages, casino personnel in Macau offers clients tea. However, forums say that
there are venues which serve free alcoholic drinks to visitors, but they have to ask the pit boss.

VIP rooms and sections also offer free alcoholic drinks. Nevertheless, Macau is not like Vegas in this matter and since the Chinese culture is not accustomed to tipping, there is no incentive to offer free drinks. Still, visitors are allowed to consume unlimited amounts of milk, coffee, coke, or tea.

Another surprising fact is that table games in Macau casinos do not include so much poker, blackjack, and roulette – in fact, the most popular table game in Macau casinos is no other than Baccarat.

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South Carolina Adventure Travel

British Adventure Traveler Claire believed that she might enhance her adventure vacation by planning it with the help of someone who lived at her target destination. On previous trips, Claire either cooperated with a local tour company or she hired a local guide upon arrival. For her trip to South Carolina in the United States, she tried something different. Through BritishExpats.com, she made contact with countrymen who live in Charleston, South Carolina.

With their help, she determined to fly over for the final week of Charleston’s Spoleto Festival and one of the expats that she contacted offered to guide her while she vacationed in Charleston. She also suggested that Claire break up her trip, to experience “Chuck town,” (Charleston) on the front and back ends of her holiday by renting a car for a trip upstate to get at a Carolina peach, freshly harvested from the orchard.

The Carolinians consider the Spoleto festival as a kickoff to tourist season, and while many of the events directly connect with the Italian celebration of the same name, the festival means party long and well. For the well-heeled, Spoleto Charleston provides opera, Shakespearian plays, and opulent balls. For Claire, an open-air jazz festival, dirty dancing in the street, and fireworks juiced her interest in American pub-style fun. She booked her flights with Aer Lingus after she learned that she could get a seat on one of their flights mostly occupied by Spoleto-bound revelers. As she hoped, that group adopted her during the flight, welcoming her to join them to experience as many of the Charleston events that she wanted.

Claire got little sleep in the first few days of Spoleto. She enjoyed a sumptuous dinner before a street party every evening, followed by a main event and fireworks. Up early the following day for a grand southern American breakfast with lots of coffee, Claire toured old town Charleston by carriage and she traveled by boat to Fort Sumter in the harbor. Claire power-napped whenever she could to “recharge her batteries,” not wanting to miss anything. During her nap on the boat ride back from Fort Sumter, her sleepy head rocked over onto the shoulder of a British Navy Officer who had also traveled to Charleston on the Aer Lingus flight.

Gallantly, he did not wake her until the boat docked. After treating Claire to coffee, he invited her to join him for a tour of a visiting British warship at the Charleston Navy Base. At lunch aboard the ship with the officers and their wives, Claire mentioned her plan to go get a peach, and they all got into that too! Two days later, they whisked her away in a convoy of four cars as the British Navy Couples drove on a “staff ride” to the King’s Mountain Battlefield in upstate to pay their respects to Major Patrick Ferguson and his men, British casualties in the American Revolutionary War.

But, for Claire, their stop at a peach orchard in York set the stage for the high point of her holiday. There, for the first time in her life, Claire took a big bite into a dead ripe freestone peach. The incredibly sweet juice exploded in her mouth! It splashed onto her cheeks, dribbled down her chin, and onto her dress! Surrounded by cheers and the laughter of her newfound friends, Claire experienced the signature moment in her latest adventure travel. #TAG1writer

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