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Brian’s Travel Diary

Monday, 22 Jan 2007

Location: Macau / HK, China

MapMacau is hailed as the "East meets West" cultural fusion of China. In reality its 95% Chinese - 2% Portuguese and the rest a cream colored mix of the two. Basically if you are in Macau to gamble there isnt much to do but walk a couple of cobble stoned streets, gawk at whats left of St. Johns Church (a wall and some stairs). Its like Vegas Junior- make that Atlantic City junior. Though, the old colonial architecture and streets is interesting to see chockers full of Chinese people.

The Portuguese were granted Macau in 1557 to set up a trading post with the west on the condition that they rid the area of pirates. In its hay-day Macau was THE trade connection for China until Union Jack wanted a piece of the action. Well the Chinese and the Portuguese were BFF so the Brits had to find a way to enter the market and finally get a piece of the pie. Britain found a creative way to lower the barriers to entry by dropping 1,000 chests of Bengal opium in the center of Canton (now Guangzhou). Remember the first hit is always free! SO with an entire local population in a drug induced state of euphoria the Brits found their new trading partners very agreeable. The Chinese caught on to the Brits strategy and started the first "War on Drugs" which didnt agree with the Brits profit forecasts for the East India Company and so started the first Opium War. This war ended with the Chinese conceding Hong Kong to the British in perpetuity. Im pretty sure that drugging your supply chain will never appear in the Harvard Business Review as a successful strategy to globalization, but it worked.

Macau had some Falung Gong activists on the steps of the ruins of St. Pauls preaching about organ harvesting of the some 10,000 imprisoned throughout China. Pictures and propaganda were being handed out of decimated bodies and the medical demand for organs in China. I guess China is being innovative in finding new ways to meet supply with demand... - sorry..That wasn't funny. It was actually kinda of sickening to see the pictures and read stories of the cover up to hide what China may be doing. Hong Kong got a rude awakening sometime during China's isolation period (the 50's or 60's I think) when decapitated bodies would wash up on the shore after floating down the Pearl River.

On a lighter note, I got some donuts in a Krispy Kreme and I was talking to the owner who was trained in Atlanta. For the ATL-iens, the only place he could remember eating at was Mary Mac's Tea Room where he had the fried chicken and fried ocra and that godawful soup they give to first timers.

One final note on Hong Kong- there really arent any old colonial style buildings. Everything is torn down and replaced with something shiny and new, so I feel the city lacks character that it could have. Bono, ( the Krispy Kreme owner) told me that thousands of people protest the removal of old buildings but they are simply arrested and removed.

Off to Guangzhou...