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Macau, Vegas of the East

Asia Mediterranean style

As early as 1850, Macau was known as "Monte Carlo of the Orient" or "Vegas of the East".

As the only destination in China to legalize gambling, Macau gains its revenue through gambling dollars made mostly of visitors from China and Hong Kong.

While the majority population is Chinese, the Macanese culture is heavily influenced by the Portuguese, who once occupied the island.

The Lisboa Casino and Hotel is the landmark of Macau's gambling heart. It's the oldest resident casino on the island.

There are Asian games that a westerner may not recognize, such as Pai Kao and Fan Tan. Other popular gambling games involve horse racing and greyhound racing.

Aside from the Lisboa, there are recognizable western names as well, such as Wynn Resorts, The Sands. The Venetian Macau offers Italian gondolas with serenading gondoliers gliding through the San Loco, Marco Polo, or Grand Canals.

While the whole thing may seem like a romantic adventure, it can be a fun family activity or a friendly one. Just forget about the smooch under the bridge.

Cobble stone streets, alley marketplaces and Portuguese colonial architecture, capture the feeling of this busy tourist marketplace of Largo Do Senado. Pastelarias line the main street with sweets and meat jerky shops.

After strolling through the streets of crowded tourists and pastelarias, you'll arrive at the ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral (Sao Paolo). It's a 17th century cathedral facade, a Macau UNESCO site.

Just when you think you might be seeing a part of Chinese culture, Macau fools you. If you look closely, it's a Chinese-Portuguese influence and there's no middle way.

There are backstreet elements, which might remind you of the Spanish streets of Barcelona. Chinese store shops mirror a Chinatown, with the exceptional tweak of a Spanish/Portuguese sign.

A day in Macau is not enough to understand the culture, you could spend days exploring Macanese quirks on foot.

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