I had to make a bit of an emergency delivery to the Chinese team on Thursday so I ended up heading back to Macau for a quick trip. I told Wei Jian that I would come look for him at the sports arena or his hotel across the street.
So, after arriving in Macau around 8:15 pm, I caught a taxi to the sports arena and caught a bit of the Sanshou divisions. I saw a couple women fighting and then I managed to snag a few seconds of Men's 54kg Yemen vs. China. Not particularly eye-opening, as you can see here:
But I wasn't there to watch Sanshou, I was there to meet up with Wei Jian. I went to his room and there he was. I gave him my delivery and he gave me a very nice Chinese Wushu Association key ring to go with the nice Chinese Wushu pin he had given me the day before. I also gave him an alivenotdead.com shirt (he is an active artist, afterall) as well as one of our new pins.
We spent most of the time looking up digital camcorders online that he was interested in purchasing in Macau. Unfortunately the electronics store was about to close when we called them, so we decided to go look for his roommate, Zhao Qing Jian, and a bunch of the other wushu athletes who had gone off to gamble.
First it was downstairs to the hotel's small betting room. I didn't even realize that the hotel had one! Macau is way sneakier with their gambling areas in the hotels than Vegas is, that's for sure. But, they weren't there so we decided to go across the street to the Sanshou competition and see if someone there knewwhere they had gone.
He had to be pretty covert about it, of course. Coaches aren't supposed to know you're going to go off for a night on the town. Ironic since the coaches were all out at the new Grand Lisboa casino losing their shirts. But they are coaches -- that's their perrogative.
Wei Jian spent a while looking around and using my phone to call .. i don't know .. the Ukraine? Somewhere. But while he was doing all that I managed to capture a few more bouts with my camera.
These were a bit more interesting:
Men's 65kg Sanshou:
Vietnam (Red) vs. Macau (Black)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmRPL-h7zb0As you can tell, the supporters for each team were really getting in to it, and the athletes were much more fired up. Vietnam didn't win (sorry to spoil it if you didn't watch the video) but everyone was in good spirits and both of the athletes didn't look too upset about it. I think they were both happy with their performance. As the best coaches will tell you, if you go out there and really put everything you have in to what you are doing, then even if you don't win by the points or score (because winning is up to a lot more than just your own ability) you win with yourself, because you know that you have nothing to be ashamed of.I think the reciprocal of that is, if you go out there and you don't put all of yourself in to what you're doing, then, even if your points are higher or you win the match, you have actually lost, because you weren't being true to who you are and what you can do.Anyway, I digress ... Here is another pretty cool bout between Macau and Iran in the 70kg division.Men's 70kg Sanshou:
Macau (red) v. Iran (black) [part 1]Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9wEeN9-kJoMen's 70kg Sanshou:
Macau (red) v. Iran (black) [part 2] Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgnTvFpQrnEThe guy from Iran was super strong the first round, but I think that's because he used up all his energy. As you can see, by the second or third round, he was totally spent and not holding up quite as well. He was a trooper though and really did put his soul up on that mat. Might not have been the best strategy to kill yourself in the first round, but I give him props for doing it with gusto.So, after that Wei Jian and I were off to the casinos. Well, one casino. The old Lisboa. It was across the street from the new Grand Lisboa. I hadn't eaten yet so we went to the small restaurant at the bottom of the hotel where the "racetrack" (as it's called) is located. The racetrack is a strange phenomenom. It is a shopping arcade/hallway located on the bottom floor of the casino/hotel where stunningly beautiful women from China walk up and down, from one end to the other, trying to make money via sex. (i.e. prostitution) It is a very surreal thing, to be honest. The reason they have to keep walking, is because it is considered loitering if they stand in one place and do their "thing". For some reason walking is not a violation, but standing is? Well, those are the rules, so the women just walk non-stop for hours on end, up and down the hall (with small breaks to rest, I'm sure).The reason they are so unusually beautiful, is because they all stay in the hotel, and the rates for a room at the hotel is almost $1,000 HKD a night. And, according to reliable sources, they charge $800 HKD per session. And, apparently that is double the "normal" rate you can get elsewhere. They have to charge that much because the room rates are so high. But the only way they could get away charging that much is if they are of a substantially higher quality than what you could get anywhere else. $800 HKD is actually quite a bit of money in certain parts of China. I remember in 2005 I had a friend who used to make $700 RMB (about the same amount) per month in her legitimate job at a hair salon. So that means these girls in the Lisboa "racetrack" are pulling down almost a month's salary (for some people, at least) each time. Anyway, I have digressed again. After we got a little something to eat, we went to the casino. This was actually only my second time in a proper casino area in Macau since I first visited the city back in 2005. The first time was at the MGM's grand opening last December, and I didn't gamble then at all.Wei Jian seemed to enjoy this one game where you bet on the outcome of these three dice that are bounced in a glass jar. It reminded me of roulette in a way, since you bet on "high", "low", or various number combinations or totals, each with their own rate of return should you win. I watched him for a while and enjoyed trying to guess where I would put my chips and see if my guesses were accurate to what actually came up on the board.I had a little money set aside for entertainment purposes, so I thought I would play a bit. I don't gamble, to be honest. But for me there is a distinction between playing in the hopes of winning, and playing for entertainment. In the first, you want to make your money back. In the second, your attitude is that you are paying money for an entertaining (albeit very short) experience -- kind of like paying to watch a movie or go on a ride at Disneyland. The only difference is, with this you can actually make some money back.But if you dont' care about making the money, and put some money in with no expectations of ever seeing it again, then whatever happens doesn't affect you as it would if you had a vested interested in making a profit.So, with that attitude, I placed some chips around and saw what happened.Amazingly I won. I actually tripled my money. I set aside my original amount, and just played with the rest for fun. We went to walk around some other games and I tried a little bit of blackjack, but to be honest I'm not a big fan of the game. But after all was said and done, I had made enough money to have paid for my ferry tickets to and from Macau, so that wasn't too bad.I can see how people can get swept up in to thinking that they will win, though. And in another life I might have been easily swayed in to an addictive gambling lifestyle. So i guess I'm glad that isn't something I have any interest in. It was fun to do once or twice, but it's nothing I really need in my life.Unfortunately Wei Jian lost $1000 HKD.It was getting late so I thought it was a good idea to head back to Hong Kong. We said our fond farewells and I wished him a good trip back to Beijing where he would be training for the foreseeable future. Then I grabbed a cab, hopped on a ferry, and exactly one hour later I was back on Hong Kong soil.During these two days in Macau I learned a few interesting things:1. Wei Jian graduates from the Shanghai University of Sports this year. He's been given a position at Fudan University as a wushu coach. If you don't know, Fudan and Beijing University are the top two universities in China, so that's a great get for him. Of course, with his multitude of world and Chinese national gold medals (at least several dozen) he's more than paid his wushu dues. The nice thing is that he said I could come and train there when I was in Shanghai. Now .. all I have to do is get in to wushu shape again ....2. Wei Jian also showed me this new type of synthetic composite staff that the national team is testing out for the manufacturer. I felt it and it actually felt .. goooood. It was strange, I guess, because it felt like a staff .. but it wasn't quite a staff. Sort of like watching really, really good CG and knowing that it's not real, but at the same time it feels kind of real in a strange way. They were testing it for durrability and to see if it can stand up to the rigors of training. Supposedly it is much stronger than wood (but still has the same pliability) and won't break nearly as much. I guess that's good for trees and for people who buy a lot of staves.3. I learned, by meeting her, that one of the National coaches for Iran thinks the world of Shahaub. Apparently he has using his Western-developed charms back in his mother-land and won over an unsuspecting group of people. For shame, Shahaub! With great power, comes great responsibility! Didn't you see Spiderman??4. Haircuts are more expensive in Macau5. Wei Jian said he was not going to be competing at men's nationals in GuangXi next month. That means that Wu Di has one less competitor to worry about on his quest for gold. Not to say he doesn't have to do his best, of course (who would imply something lame like that?) but that it is one less thing to worry about. After all, Wei Jian has won straightsword and spear pretty much non-step for the past several years. 6. I have nothing else to add. I just thought having 6 things on my list would be nice.And, this ends my journey to the 7th Asian Wushu Championships. Hope you all had a good time. Thanks for reading through the whole thing.
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