Monthly Archives: January 2012
On a recent trip to Macao in Asia, I had the pleasure of experiencing the Venetian Macao hotel and suites. Now typically on a work trip I reside at a Marriot, renaissance, Hilton, etc. . International trips may add a few more boutique hotels to that list, but it’s not a staple, And typically iam not in a suite room..( sometimes sweet but not suite 🙂 ) ha ha… Iam probably the only one laughing at that..
Ummm ok, where was I.. Yes, The Venetian! if any of you are familiar with the one in Las Vegas, you know it’s a pretty nice establishment. The hotel is impeccably decorated, filled with amazing restaurants and all the high end shopping stores..
The Venetian in Macao is the same standard of quality but with an extra kick. First, it’s huge! So huge in fact that on checking in, you receive a complimentary map that is the size of a small book.. And since no one here really speaks English, it’s a must to have one ( and not loose it!)
It has a full casino as well as major shopping ( everything from Versace to Tiffany’s) and what seems like a million restaurants’ clubs , and bars. It’s like a mini city! My days were filled of sight seeing and people watching, and my evenings of eating and shopping! Never moments of boredom or feeling like I was a prisoner of my hotel.
Then, rooms are all suites with a marble foray, full sitting rooms, enormous bathrooms with both a rain shower and full size soaking tub and stocked with all the amenities you could possibly need or want to take home as a souvenir :-). The beds are royal king size and soo comfortable! A packed mini bar, complimentary selection of teas and coffee, and a full business center! My window view looks out over a secured golf course and statuesque pools.
I will also add that the customer service ( ie room service and cleaning service) was also above exceptional. I even received free water bottle service all day!
Now this, is MY kind of hotel!
Now, you know iam gonna have some criticism… Wait for it…. Here it is…while the size of this hotel is brag worthy, it is also intimidating and so hard to maneuver around..
For example, I arrived at about 8:30 local time after traveling 16 hours by plane. Iam tired and a little out of it, so i just want to go to my room, shower and go to bed. What a nice thought.. Unfortunately, it took me about 25 minutes to find my room.. Which is at the other end of the hotel, in the north tower, on one of the top floors. I knew the plan was to meet my crew at a specific pub for a night cap but the thought of trying to find it now was out of the question for me…after a few hours of trying To sleep, I decide to go to the gym. I remember someone mentioning it was on the “8 th floor near the south tower”.. I exit my room and back track ( from then night before ), to the elevator. I take the long ride down to the main casino floor and then start looking around for someone that can point the way for me.. (Since maps and I are not typically friends). Unfortunately, All the people with uniforms on that state they are employees, do not speak any English.. even after trying to mime the act of lifting weights, they still have no idea what i need. One hands me another silly map.. So I begin to wonder.. And wander.. walking in circles, traveling up and down escalators and elevators until, finally I see a sign that says GYM..ahhhh, another 20 min of my life I will never get back, but alas I found my destination and got a good pre workout in . And later, on the return to my room, another post workout- workout on the backtrack…Yes, while a big, pretty hotel can be a nice change from the mundane, it can definitely make simple tasks difficult.
However, all in all, it was a nice stay for 5 days with plenty of entertainment in the” mini city ” limits of the Venetian Macao hotel and casino.
In the past month I have traveled back and forth to Asia 4 times…Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing, Nagoya, Macau..I may be forgetting one?! One morning I woke up around 4 am and actually had to scour my belongings and room info to remind myself what city I was in…Now it’s typical for me to wake during the night in a random Hotel room and forget where the bathroom is… But I usually remember the big picture- the actual location of my stay! I looked outside my window at the city lights below, and wondered if it was my memory that was going or my brain just blending all my destinations together…Passing through 15 time zones back and forth, 4 times in such a short period of time- Can’t be good for the mind or body..yet, every one of these trips have given me more knowledge, and mind opening/ altering experiences than I would ever find by reading a book or seeing a movie..
Aldous Huxley once said;” To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries”.
I agree. So many people I speak to, including my own family and friends, do not realize how ignorant they are when it comes to their ideas and opinions of different cultures. I know.. Nobody likes the word “ignorant”.. but the words definition fits. however, i know it’s not their fault.. You never really understand another culture unless you live within it. I have also fallen into the category of ignorance a time or two… Let me give you a couple of examples.
My first trip this month was to Hong Kong, China. I flew a large group of Chinese people to the US and then back again. On the first leg, I observed these passengers smoking up a storm, eating food I didn’t even recognize, and leaving a messy trail all over the plane. They didn’t knowledge me very much.. Besides the fact I don’t speak Chinese, I did expect them to attempt non verbal communication with me. A few did, but the majority did not.. There was a Chinese speaking flight attendant on board that had her hands full though.. When we reached our destination, I asked the other flight attendant ( the one that was part Chinese) why the passengers reacted the way they did to me. she said ” they don’t know you,and they know you can’t speak their language so they don’t expect much from you in termsmof communication But they do appreciate all your hard work”. I rolled my eyes at this last statement.. Until the lead passenger handed me a very large tip on his way out…hmmmmm ok…so maybe they don’t hate me? They were not being rude? Later on, I had a more in depth conversation with the other girl I was flying with and she shed more light on the culture and their habitual ways. And, on the next flight with them, things were a little different. They acknowledged me a little more and I even got a smile from time to time 🙂 Maybe I was also the one that acted differently…
The next trip I had was to Nagoya, Japan. Wow, what a difference between the two countries. At first glance, things looked alike.. The geography of the land and layout of the cities, the people ( physically speaking), and even the sound of the language. But at a closer look ( and listen).. There were major differences.
Onboard, I expected the same reaction from the Japanese passengers as I received from the Chinese. I was definitely surprised by how open and friendly they were to me. They were extremely polite, very neat and orderly, and tried to communicate with me despite then language barrier. I have flown all different cultures in my 12 years as a flight attendant, and I have to say..this group of passengers may just be the nicest people I have ever transported. Now they are not a tipping culture ( so don’t tip in Japan), but I would trade a big tip from a unpleasant passenger ( of any culture),for no tip from people like this, any day of the week!
While I was in Japan, I was told that some people are actually embarrassed that they can’t speak English..so their timid, shy behavior around Americans may even stem from that.
I also have to add that every person I came in contact with was so gracious and friendly. Even the wait staff in restaurants were amazing.. Why can’t the majority of people in America be this nice?!
And last but not least, I need to mention the food experience. There is definitely a huge difference between the food items and the preparation, all over Asia. First, I didn’t know that Chinese do not like to “waste” any part of an animal..now, not only do I know this, I will have visions of some dishes I served, in my mind forever…like the’ ancient egg’- Which is green and smells like formaldehyde ! And if you ever hear the words ” birds nest”- run! Its actually regurgitated bird saliva! ( iam not kidding).. Having said all that.. I also had the best dim sum of my life in Hong Kong.
One stereotype I will have to agree with is; the idea of Eastern culture having some very healthy eating practices. . I was happy to see that people do actually drink Green or oolong tea all day, and eat tons of fresh raw fish and rice (instead of pasta!). They eat small meals throughout the day and fast food establishments are few and far between. Hmmm.. maybe living in Japan would do me some dietary good!
* travel tip..If ever in Nagoya, go to the fish market early in am.. You will never taste fresher sushi in your life!
As the chinese New Year is fast approaching, I am sure to find myself back in Asia soon…and with a open mind and heart 🙂