Monday, October 01, 2012

Item From the Past: Fortaleza do Monte

Sept 23, 2012

This from Reuters recently: “U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson opened his latest resort in Macau on Thursday, adding to a string of casinos in the world's largest gambling destination that has helped the high-profile donor to the U.S. Republican party earn most of his multi-billion dollar fortune.

“Adelson, chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp and its Macau unit, Sands China Ltd, presided over the opening of his Polynesian-themed casino and Sheraton Macau hotel, adding to his Sands Cotai Central property, which opened in April.”

Ah, Macao. I wandered into the round Hotel Lisboa during my visit in September 1990 and watched a packed gaming room for a few minutes. Some tables were packed with people playing recognizable games, others playing unfamiliar Chinese games. It was one of the few casinos in Macao in those days, I think. Now there are many, catering to the many more Chinese who have disposable income in our time.

The Lisboa was only one stop during my peregrinations that long-ago day. I also visited the hilltop Fortaleza do Monte. Wiki tells us that the site’s official name is Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora do Monte de São Paulo. In English: Fortress of Our Lady of the Mount of St. Paul. In Chinese: 大炮台)

As you can see, it had a spot of topiary. Old cannons also pointed outward from the hilltop – maybe for protection against junk-borne pirates, or Dutch or British ships eager to claim the territory, once upon a time. The building in the picture has been converted into a museum, I’ve read. When I visited, it was mostly empty, and had only one function as Macao’s weather station.

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