Time Traveler

2 minute read
Liam Fitzpatrick

Style Watch: Rattan Revolution

Diversions: All Talk

Food: Season to Taste

Outdoors: Comfy Camping

Over the past 20 years, Macau has been reinvented. One of the most relentless building programs of modern times has transformed this onetime Portuguese enclave from a backwater of crumbling villas, sleeping dogs and avuncular priests into a shiny pleasure zone that is the envy of southern China. From across the Pearl River estuary, Hong Kong’s worldly denizens once snickered pityingly at their small-town, Macanese cousins. Now the latter are having the last laugh, unveiling bombastic showpiece after showpiece—from dazzling casinos and resorts to a new sports arena and (in the works) a lavish theme park complete with erupting volcano. They’re also relishing a booming local economy, fueled by Macau’s casinos, which raked in a staggering revenue of $5 billion in 2004 (about the same as that of the Las Vegas Strip) and are tipped to trump that this year. All the more reason, then, to take in the city’s fast-fading heritage before it turns to dust. If you have 45 minutes to spare between poker table and roulette wheel, try Walk the Talk Macau, a lively new audio tour accessible via your cell phone. Devised and narrated by former bankers (and Macau aficionados) Stefan White and David Wong, the tour includes many of the city’s historic landmarks, from Leal Senado Square to the ruins of St. Paul’s, pictured here. You’ll learn plenty of trivia (sample: despite omnipresent church spires, only 15% of Macau’s population is Roman Catholic) and can even press buttons to hear about the best restaurants and nearest rest rooms en route. And you don’t have to spend any hard-earned winnings to enjoy the tour—it’s free. You pay only for the airtime. Find out more at walkthetalk.hk.

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