Friday, August 26, 2011

Anyone here read Chinese?

I'd love to know what it says on this billboard, seen on the approach to Macau's A-Ma Temple, which is an attraction both for tourists and for local people, who go to make wishes, pray and light joss-sticks. Why are all the children in love with the sparkling pink toilet? Are they being encouraged to keep it clean? Get one? Pray to it instead of the temple? It's a mystery. They're an inscrutable lot, those Orientals - particularly if you've never bothered to learn their language.

Bathrooms featured remarkably prominently during our five days in Macau. Drawing a discreet veil over the evening I spent unhappily defiling the marble in my own hotel bathroom, let's consider instead the astonishing rooms we trailed through as a group on our otherwise fairly tedious programme of site inspections. Because they were wanting to impress us, they showed us their fanciest suites, and all the bathrooms featured acres of shiny marble, dinky bottles of expensive toiletries, twin basins, televisions, gold taps, and space, vast expanses of space. They had shower rooms, not just showers - some with a glass wall into the bedroom, which seemed odd, some set up almost like a stage. One was big enough for an entire rugby team to wash in at the same time with no unmanly touching. Another had a raised infinity spa bath with a projector and screen overhead. Several had killer views over the city about 40 floors below. They all had adjoining his-and-hers dressing rooms.

But mostly they had mirrors. Mirrors everywhere: floor to ceiling, on every wall, in the shower, even on the ceiling. And that's where they made their mistake, I reckon - because if I'm going to fork out a thousand dollars or so a night for all that luxury, I want to spend my time in there feeling good. And catching sight of my naked self bent over scrubbing my feet in the shower just ain't going to do that.

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