Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Not Quite on the Ball

The queue behind us
My friend Marc and I enjoyed the Sarah Brightman concert but several things that occurred while we were Macau made us wonder what was going on.
When we arrived at the Venetian things were fine -- as soon as we walked in the door we spotted the ticket desk to collect our concert tickets and asked for directions to the Cotai Arena as well as restaurants. Although we had a bit of trouble finding the Blue Frog restaurant for our two-for-one steaks, staff in yellow jackets were very helpful and we eventually found the place.
We assumed that all the concert goers would have eaten before they arrived, but no. After going through a security check of a guard poking through our bags with a stick and going through a metal detector, there was a McDonald's within the arena area; Marc wondered if Sarah knew about this -- her fans munching on Mackers while she sang.
During the show the arena staff tried hard to stop people from taking pictures but Brightman and her crew had already taken precautions by shining a large strong light directly behind her, making pictures fuzzy or her hardly visible in attempted picture-taking.
When the 20-minute intermission came just over an hour into the concert, we rushed to the washrooms and luckily I didn't have to wait too long. But when it came to refreshments the situation was pretty dire. McDonald's shut down two of its sections and only had one stand serving... a few hundred people. One would think the audience members might be hungry or thirsty and want to grab some fast food, but McDonald's didn't open up more counters to serve people.
On the other hand, if the Venetian wanted to have more customers, it didn't do its bit either. Near the section area where our seats were was a small stand selling mostly alcoholic drinks like beer, frozen daiquiris, frozen margaritas and bottled water. The menu listed gelato, but none was for sale. What about other things to munch on? Or other drinks that were non-alcoholic?
Again there was a pretty big line for these drinks too and only two staff at first manning this stand and later one a third one jumped in. In the end it turned out the lime-flavoured margaritas were non-alcoholic and Cointreau was added once the icy concoction was in the plastic cup, so I had mine virgin.
And where were the CDs and paraphernalia people could purchase? None were to be found even though I'm sure many concert goers would have loved to snap up any of her CDs or DVDs. Although her concert tour was extended with relatively short notice, surely some kind of souvenirs could have been arranged for such a big headliner. Strange.
When we picked up our concert tickets we were also given our return ferry tickets -- for 11:59pm. The concert ended at 9:25pm and so we rushed to the shuttle bus in the hopes of getting onto an earlier ferry back to Hong Kong.
However, there was a massive line at the Taipa ferry terminal -- sorry -- the Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal. There was no infrastructure at all to handle such big crowds even as shuttle buses kept unloading more and more passengers. There was also a lot of confusion in terms of what was going on. There were two lines for current sailings and then one massive one for standby which we were in.
There is a Cotai Jet departing every 30 minutes. But knowing in advance there is a concert and the majority of the audience are from Hong Kong and need to get back as soon as possible, why not put on extra ferries to depart every 15 minutes?
It was annoying to have to wait in line for over an hour to finally get on the 11pm ferry, thankfully an hour earlier before our actual departure time.
The only good thing was coming back to Hong Kong and the immigration section there opened up a number of lines, both manned and unmanned so that people could get through as quickly as possible.
Is Hong Kong the only place on the ball when it comes to logistics?

1 comment:

  1. there should be course of crowd management in china/macao. the same thing happens in the shanghai expo.