Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Travel: Macau/HK Day #1 - The House of Dancing Water 水舞間 @ City of Dreams; The Grand Canal Shoppes @ The Venetian Macao

So after that simple meal at McDonald's, it was finally time for us to enter the theatre for The House of Dancing Water show! 

I had read so much about this USD 250 million production before going to Macau that I knew we just couldn't miss it and hence had convinced the rest to go. When I bought the tickets, I knew I was buying us seats that were only 2 rows from the front. There are even warnings on the ticketing website telling customers to expect a few "mild showers" during the show.

But even then, we were so amazed at how near we were to the stage after we found our seats! It felt so cool to have front row seats to a major production, but we still felt apprehensive because we were so near the water! Next to each of us was a small brown face towel which barely covered half the body. An omen of things to come. =P

One of the many gorgeous backdrops that change throughout the shop.
One of the few gripes (and there are really only a few!) about the show was that we couldn't really understand the whole story. I've watched many theatre productions in my younger years, and fantasy and mythical stories aren't so alien to me so it was a bit easier. But for others like Wendy, it was a bit of a struggle trying to guess the wordless story unfolding before us.

In a nutshell, the story revolves around a man trying to save his beloved princess from the clutches of the evil people in the kingdom. Remember that and the rest of the show should more or less make sense. =P

The fuzzy storyline hardly makes the show lose any points though; right from the beginning when 3 huge masts rise up out of the pool, the action is intense! 

We were all curious to find out when we would encounter the "mild showers", but turns out we didn't have to wait long! The opening scene had men scrambling up the top of the poles and promptly proceeding to dive back into the water, causing huge splashes! It was one of those dives that caused a huge wave to wash over us, catching us unprepared and leaving us out to dry for the rest of the show..!

There are also many occasions when the cast will really get "up close and personal" (like in that picture above) with those in the front row! It's the perfect opportunity to see their scary faces (and for the girls: their perfectly-chiseled bodies!). There are even occasions where they might play a prank or two on the audience, like grabbing away the towel of a poor girl sitting in front of us. =D

The most unique part about The House of Dancing Water is the stage - although it begins as a pool of water (enough to fill 5 Olympic size pools!) deep enough for 20-30 meter dives, it also has a platform that can be raised to allow the cast some show time on solid ground. The way the water just miraculously drains from the stage and is seamlessly replaced with a platform is a sight that's really special to behold!

Besides that, we're also treated to some brilliant dancing (especially when they stomp angrily in shallow water, or dance gracefully in and out of the water) and choreography throughout, even a contortionist and a tumbling troupe!
That giraffe is 5 metres tall!
Wendy especially loved the usage of these contraptions from above; a cage with the princess entrapped would ascend to the high ceiling, drapes would float down and acrobats would descend onto the water from up above which made it all the more mythical. 

Some really gravity-defying dances in mid-air.

If you ask me whether the water stunts or platform stunts are better, I really can't tell you. All the dives done by the cast are so amazing, you'd think they could be Olympic gold medal winners by now! But I say the platform stunts are just as good because there is a particular scene where MOTORBIKES come roaring out to do all sorts of death-defying stunts in mid air! Platforms are brought in from all sides of the stage to allow the riders to reach maximum height, and Boy do they use it to the fullest! The stage is not a big open space, so the slightest mistake really could cause substantial damage and injury. But everything is done with such grace and professionalism you'd think they were born to do it. =D

An EXTREMELY blur picture of us, because we had to let someone else take the shot. =(
I could go on and on about how wonderful the show was, but end of the day it must be seen to be appreciated. All I can say is it was worth every penny of the 200+ Ringgit we each spent on a ticket. And none of the others were complaining by the end of the show. 'Nuff said. =P

After the show it was about 11pm. The shops were closing, but it felt a bit too early to go back to the hotel. So we crossed over to the The Venetian on the other side of the road.

We landed up in the same entrance as when we arrived in the afternoon. This time we had more time to take photos. =) 

There is no doubt that the aim of The Venetian is to achieve an air of grandeur. The overarching theme colour is gold, which is apparent in everything from pillars to toilets. The ceiling is also plastered with pictures ala Renaissance-era buildings in the West. 

Everything is Gold!
Before we went to Macau, I had heard of people commenting The Venetian looked tacky, and in a way I could understand after seeing it myself. The extravagant designs along the walls and ceilings did seem a bit over the top sometimes, but that's just my opinion - Wendy was quite in awe of it all. =P

A place that is NOT tacky in The Venetian though, is the shopping area. There everything is made to look like outdoor streets, with the most amazing feature being the clear blue "sky" that is always bright, creating the illusion of day time indoors! When we got there it was almost midnight, so there was hardly anyone around. What ensued was a long session of camwhoring fun! (Skip the next photo if you're not interested. =p)

Yes, there are gondola rides at The Venetian. Just like in Venice, no? =D
It was during this time that we realized just how massive The Venetian's retail space is! It was unfortunate that we didn't make it in time to see the shops open, but we did go back again on our last night there. But here's a tip: Shops open later on weekends! So if you're planning on doing some serious shopping, do consider spending more time at The Venetian. =)


The House of Dancing Water 水舞間 | Site
Dancing Water Theatre,
Est Do Istmo, City of Dreams,
Cotai, Macao SAR,
P.R. China

The Grand Canal Shoppes | Site
The Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel
Estrada da Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança, s/n,
Taipa, Macao SAR,
P.R. China
Opening Hours: Sun-Thurs, 10am-11pm; Fri & Sat, 10pm-12am

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