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by Adrien G Gallo

The richest arrive by helicopter or chauffeured Mercedes, the poorest cross the border on foot. A former Portuguese trading post turned into a temple of the crazed game of consumption, Macau is not discriminating with its generosity: whether worker or banker, every Chinese has a right to a quarter of baccarat. In the halls the casinos are open to all; vintage Vuitton bags mingle with fake Chanel, store-bought Nikes with knock-off Adidas. On this peninsula of 500,000 people breathes a city of 33 casinos, all competing with gilt, crystal chandeliers and neon saturating the sky. Venice Reconstituted, buildings shaped as lotus flowers, five-star spas, replicas of the old palaces of Europe- nothing is too much to impress people long deprived of the joys of global consumption. Macau, a liberal enclave in the shadow of its hegemonic neighbor, draws in Chinese tourists eager to lose themselves in Western glitz and consumption. Of the 28 million people who stayed there last year, 85% come from China and Hong Kong. 

 Stucco whipped
«Win a Hummer blackjack». The monster road of Hollywood stars throne at the entrance to the Star World Hotel, Casino-palace with hostesses in matching miniskirts leopard marbled lobby to salmon color. At the Wynn, we prefer the quiet atmosphere of the luxury world. For this five star hotel opened in 2006, the American tycoon Steve Wynn has recycled the winning recipe for the leader of his empire in Las Vegas. Bellagio imported neoromantic decorations based carpeted and stucco whipped without forgetting the spectacle of fountains coordinated tablecloths dripping violins, emblem tear the palace American. United States as in Macau, children stomp in wonder and mothers shed a tear. Inside the Wynn Macau, revolve around the playroom, the showcases of international luxury. Chanel, Dior, Rolex or Dunhill waiting barge Asia. At ten o'clock, the Vuitton shop is full. "The Chinese come to shop here because they are not sure of being victims of counterfeiting," said an official at the tourist office of the Macao government. Billionaires for crack Vuitton bag or a Prada jacket. The middle classes for a Nokia phone, a pair of genuine Nike or a pot of cream L'Oreal. The less affluent will be content in milk powder for babies better. The girls come to buy makeup at Sasa, chain Asian stores selling pink products the hottest on the planet. 
 Rue d'Amsterdam, Roman arena. Macau or leapfrog into the world of globalized brands. Besides the table games and slot machines, the city turns into an American mall. Located near the port, the Macau Fisherman's Wharf is home to no more than fishermen boats. Mi-mi-mall amusement park, the scenery pasteboard give the illusion of an Amsterdam street, a Roman arena or an African village. The Chinese discovered the wonderful world of entertainment with its streets lined with shops, restaurants and simulation games like the new War Game, plunged into the inferno of Iraq alongside U.S. soldiers ... 
 For Western visitors, mop in between Guangzhou and Hong Kong, the reconstitution of a pseudo-Aztec temple is of little interest, but a stop in this enclave in perpetual construction site is an opportunity to see life-size, the effects of economic growth to two figures. Essentially boosted by activity jangling table games, it was around 27% last year. The city is dotted with cranes and bamboo scaffolding. Like Monaco, it is gaining ground on the sea surface Fifteen square kilometers have been filled to accommodate the new strip of the city. Marriott, Four Seasons, Hyatt, Sofitel and Crown (Australian band), mass luxury all have a project underway or already established out of the earth. 
 It is ten years old, just before its handover to China, Portuguese colony still languishing in clammy boring, with only 11 older casinos, all properties of the local magnate Stanley Ho in 2004, the monopoly is broken mister Ho, the Americans landed in Las Vegas in the city. Sands opens the first casino in foreign capital designed on the American model. Decoration and flashy sexy hostesses bleached names - despite their Asian features, they all called Rose or Claire - the Chinese dive into the world of silver foil. The opening rotates near the riot, glass doors yielding almost under pressure from the crowd. In nine months, the owner, the American Sheldon Adelson, had cushioned his initial investment. For the Chinese, melted mah-jong, love the game 
 Outlook dementia 
 Enjoying the same range as its neighbor Hong Kong (1), Macao has been attached to China in 1999, but retains a specificity of pure gold: it the only place in China and much of Asia, where casinos are permitted. Less than five hours by plane, 2.2 billion people in Asia, from Singapore, Japan or Hong Kong, are potential players. At least 150 km, Canton and its 8 million inhabitants can go sit at a table on an evening or night against a bus ticket at 10$. The market seems endless, prospects dementia. The number of visitors has tripled in ten years. And we expect 40 million tourists in 2011. For now, only Chinese cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong) are allowed to stay in Macau. "The casino owners want to open our territory throughout China, worried about Sophia, a young thirty born on the peninsula. But already, the city lacks land, water and suffers from pollution. The hotel rooms are not enough. It's madness. "

Just crossing the border between Macau in the city of its turbulent neighbor, the player is immediately picked up by the casinos. Complimentary shuttles tourists to the charter green baize. Blood red or gilt edges, these vans through the city night and day, 24 hours machining casinos on 24, seven days a week "is also proposed to live in Beijing or Shanghai packages three days for the equivalent of 250 $. A day of casino, a shopping day, and return home the next day, "said a travel tour guide. The less affluent can negotiate a room in black in a city apartment for 15 $. The wealthy are spoiled for choice. In four years, the world of luxury has uniformly gridded city. From a five star basis, we find the same sushi bars, the same wine cellars and champagne, infinity pools and rooms with king beds invariably bordered white duvets and light. Only changing the decor, ranging from her most stylish decoration for the straightforward imitation guns in Vegas. 
 Thus, Macau has the privilege of hosting since last August, the largest casino in the world, reply to statue near the false, the Venetian U.S.. A hallucination Geographic, where sail in the wake of the muddy Pearl River boatman in gondolas with straw hat. In this palace the size more than Stalinist Venetian, the games room can accommodate, said the urban legend, the equivalent of 90 Boeing 747s. To the naked eye, the view is breathtaking on a Sunday afternoon when the 870 gaming tables are taken over by Chinese tourists. Under a false sky blue, a copy of the Grand Canal of Venice is home to a shopping mall of 350 stores. Crossing a small bridge or a place at St. Mark's modeled very artificial, visitors navigate Calvin Klein Miss Sixty, Lacoste Diesel. For now, the stores are still more or less empty. But the casinos in Macau with 10 billion dollars in revenue last year, caught up in just four years, sales of large U.S. sister. 
 (1) The territory enjoys the status of administrative region 
 special (SIR), which guarantees him a "high degree of autonomy" during 
 fifty years in all areas except defense and foreign affairs 
. It has its own currency and customs.