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New Airport May Make Macao a China Gateway

June 23, 1991|KIM UPTON

A new multimillion-dollar airport may make the province of Macao a big winner in the China gateway game, not to mention the gambling game, in which it has long held a strong hand as the "Las Vegas of Asia."

Perched on the rump of the Chinese mainland, about 40 miles west of Hong Kong, Portuguese-administered Macao has long been identified with flashy casinos and seedy gambling dens. Most of last year's 6 million visitors to Macao were gamblers over for a day from Hong Kong, where casinos are banned.

At present the only way to reach Macao is by ferry, hydrofoil or helicopter from Hong Kong, or by land through China.

The airport, estimated to cost between $700 million and $770 million, is due for completion in 1994, and, according to a new report by a leading Hong Kong brokerage house, would open up a second international route into China.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday July 28, 1991 Home Edition Travel Part L Page 2 Column 1 Travel Desk 1 inches; 28 words Type of Material: Correction
Mexico City Population--Due to a typographical error, an item in the June 23 News and Briefs column stated that Mexico City has a population of 2 million. The story should have said close to 20 million.

Officials from Macao and the United States are expected to meet in Washington later this month to negotiate air links.

Travel Quiz: What country has the most miles of railroad track?

Telephone Translators: Ever try to book one of those small, charming and still somewhat inexpensive hotels in Paris without a translator? (Ever hear the phone go dead after your first sentence?) Help is available through AT&T's Language Line Services, which has interpreters speaking 140 languages on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day. You can place your call to a distant land and an interpreter will join in on a three-way call. Or should you need telephone translation help while in another country, the service can help. In addition, if a hotel confirmation (or what you think might be one) arrives in another language, the service can offer written translation.

The cost is $3.50 a minute, plus the phone call. Written translations are billed on a per-document basis.

For more information on the Language Line Services, call (800) 752-6096.

Quick Fact: Number of animals who died traveling on U.S. airlines last year (mostly from heatstroke or suffocation): at least 71. (Source: Dallas Times Herald.)

Leipzig Consulate: The United States has opened a consulate in Leipzig, in the former East Germany.

Officials at the consulate will respond to emergency needs of American citizens in the consular district, which includes the Saxony and Thuringia regions. Requests for visas and passport applications by Americans in the area will continue to be handled by the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.

Smog City: Planning a trip to smog-choked Mexico City? Be careful what you breathe . . . and how often. Mexico's President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who just received the United Earth Prize environmental award, has taken steps to clear the city's notorious air pollution, but critics say more must be done to clean up one of the world's smoggiest cities.

The day the award was announced, May 21, was one of the most polluted days in Mexico City's history, with ground-level ozone readings that were more than three times the amount the World Health Organization considers safe for human exposure for just one hour a year.

Mexico City, with a population of more than 2 million, lies in a valley, and the mountains that surround it prevent winds from blowing away the estimated 4 million tons of soot, smoke and other pollutants dumped into the air every year by 35,000 industries and 3 million cars.

Comparatively Speaking: Cost to have a shirt laundered in Copenhagen: $4.32. In Paris: $3.07. In Beijing: $1.72. In Islamabad, Pakistan: 53 cents. (Source: Runzheimer International.)

Fighting Mad in Madrid: Bullfighting fans in Madrid are complaining that modern bulls are stout but not stouthearted.

The problem, it seems, is that bullfighting is enjoying a renaissance (it drew a record 54 million spectators in Spain last year) But the nouveau bullfighting fan favors quantity (massive half-ton bulls) over quality (lean and mean).

In two decades, the average bull has swollen from about 1,058 pounds to a portly 1,235 pounds. To the untrained eye, the magnificent half-ton bulls look awesome, but critics believe that the fashionable bigger bulls are too big to be agile, fierce fighters.

"If you put an extra 150 kilograms (330 pounds) on (Canadian sprinter) Ben Johnson, he would not be able to run very fast," noted Madrid bullfighting critic Paco Aguado.

Fair Warning: Two days of free music by local bands, street performers, food from around the world and name-brand merchandise sold wholesale (with proceeds going to charity) will be part of the Beachside Festival in Santa Barbara, July 13-14. Four city blocks will be closed off: Mason Street, from State to Anacapa streets, and Helena Avenue, from Cabrillo Boulevard to the railroad tracks. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call (805) 962-5424.

Quiz Answer: The United States, with 208,000 miles. The Soviet Union is No. 2, with 90,226 miles tracked.

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