The rosemary and peppermint oil which was being kneaded into my neck and shoulders really released all the tension in my back just the way I was promised it would do. While the athletes at these games have their own physiotherapists and trainers, we suffering journalists (yes, yes I can hear my critics ask 'what suffering?') have to rely on paid professionals to ease the pain and stress of having to run our own demanding race - against daily deadlines. Fortunately this town is well equipped to handle the needs of the media and the rest of the world for that matter. According to my sources, there are more than 500 massage parlours in Macau. This guy might be wrong for all I know, for everywhere the eye can see, there are signs advertising these establishments. But ignoring all these, I headed for the very best in town - The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental. They have everything from Thai massages to Swedish (although I didn't spot any Russian). I chose the Swedish oil massage. It was not cheap - $840 for 80 minutes (I hope the bean-counters back in my office will approve my methods to research this column) - but it was well worth the price. While the organisers of these games are hoping that a sports culture will mushroom in Macau through hosting the quadrennial event, it is doubtful that the general perception of this town will change overnight. In an earlier interview with this newspaper, Manuel Silverio, the chairman of the organising committee, said: 'We are cleaning up our image to show that Macau is not only gambling and prostitution. Through this event we are making a big contribution to the development of sports and culture in Macau.' While we wish him all the best, it is highly unlikely that a new culture can take root right away. A deep, ingrained way of life is hard to change. But what these games can do is to open the eyes of the International Olympic Committee before whom Macau are on their knees asking for it - to become members of this illustrious family. The success of these games will go a long way towards helping Macau's cause. Talking of the IOC, it reminds me of last year's Olympics. As I lay on the table, being kneaded with rosemary, oil that is, I thought back to Athens where the main press centre came equipped with masseurs and masseuses. The hacks were lining up 10 deep to get their head and shoulders massaged. I must admit, that was the best press centre I have ever seen. Where else would you get an Athenian who looked like one of the holy priestesses who used to reside in Acropolis gently massaging the neck of an overweight journo trying to get rid of the previous night's hangover. Ah! The Greeks had style - they knew how to pamper the world's media. Unfortunately that is not the case in Macau. The press centre at the Macau Stadium only offers free bananas and oranges. What the devil can we do with fruit? By now, the gentle kneading has put me in a somnolent state. I dream of that story I read during the Sydney Olympics, where government officials had given visas to nearly 10,000 'masseuses' to cater for the needs of the tourists who were expected to pour into the city for the games. Jerked back to reality, I know that that was one problem Macau organisers didn't have to face. There was homegrown talent, or 'masseuses', in town already. Sport is something new to Macau. The journey of discovery will start once these games are over. Whether there is enough interest to keep the flame alive remains to be seen. In the meantime, reinvigorated and revived, it is time to head back into battle. Yes, we are ready for the long jump.