Sunday, May 28, 2006

Macau Day Trip

Macau is a former Portugese colony near Hong Kong. It was given back to China in 1999, two years after Hong Kong was given back by the British. The Portugese colonized Macau in the 16th century as a unique outpost in the Far East for trading. Hong Kong's rise lead to Macau decline as the deeper waters around Hong Kong attracted larger ships and thus trade prospered in Hong Kong. Macau is now famous for its casinos (said to rival the monetary pull of Vegas) and its unique Portugese/Chinese culture.

Macanese cuisine is a blend of Portugese-Mediterranean and Chinese Cantonese influence. Some of the Med culture can stil be found in its small fishing villages where the pace is slower than the surrounding parts of China.

To me, I really never had a picture of what Macau was, as for one thing it doesn't make it into the world media stage very often. I do know that they host the Macau Grand Prix for a smaller category car racing series and I also remember that some simple computer games were based on the Macau GP. Because it's not a huge financial center like Hong Kong, it gets dwarfed on the world stage. But, that was some of the allure of going there... finding out what Macau's all about.

Regional map showing Hong Kong and Macau on the left

Boarding the Macau Ferry at Hong Kong. It costs about $20 for a one-way 45 minute journey on a jetfoil. The ferry terminal was very much like a mini airport with gates and boarding passes and everything.

Upper Deck on the ferry. Looks like a plane too.

Abandon Ship Procedure. First time seeing a card like this and good to know that safety is important here.

The Macau Ferry clipping along the Pearl River Delta at a healthy pace

Arriving in Macau by going under one of the many bridges in this small territory. There are 2 islands linked to the main Macay peninsula. They're all connected by fancy bridges, paid for by the casinos.

One of the ferries

Estrada do Reservatorio (Promenade along the Reservoir), very active in the evening time.

A free exercise machine on the promenade. There were others like this along the path with adults and kids on them. Great way to work out.

How nice, a designated bathroom for dogs.

A street dating back to the colonial days

A moto-cop on a Yamaha FZ6. Note the Portugese "Policia" marking.

A lively street corner with many locals and tourists

I was hitting a few of the big tourists spots, then planned to get dinner before heading back to Hong Kong. Heading to the Ruinas de Sao Paulo, then the Largo do Senado.

A food vendor on a street corner. It looked so tempting and I know we're warned against eating anything from the street, but what the heck, looked like she was deep-frying the meats in front of you, so that should kill everything, right? Hopefully the oil's been changed recently. They had one of my favorite meats there, Chicken Gizzards. I know, I know, most of you think that's gross, but I've also loved it. I had three gizzard kebabs, so tasty!! And I'm not sick, yeah!

On the road to the Ruins of St. Paul

Lots of local Chinese shops selling food, candy, jewellery, etc.

Sweat Meats. I bought a packet of Wild Boar meat. Was thinking of Asterix and Obelix. Tasted really good.

Ruinas de Sao Paulo. This is what remains of huge cathedral built by the Portugese a couple hundred years ago. It caught fire and they managed to save the facade. It's supported by steel beams in the back.

Lots of intricate details with statues of monks and angels.

World Cup Fever!! Awesome ad by adidas where this young kid gets to pick the top 10 players in the world to play in his imaginary game. Watch the TV ads all of June during the games. Really captures the spirit of football.

Largo do Senado. The center of Macau. It's characterized by it's wavy brick design and important colonial buildings in the square. Very beautiful area.

A side street off of Largo do Senado

Two-wheelers are the best bet to get around this tiny territory. All though I did see a fair amount of souped-up cars??

Walking around I saw this old house perched on a little ledge with spot lights. Something about it is just appealing.

Macau Tower. Trying to create a symbol for the new Macau. It's taller than the Eiffel Tower and has a revolving restaurant on the top with a glass bottom.

Another house from yesteryears...

Look, someone has my other car! I had a beautiful red BMW just like this one for most of my college years. Sadly, she got rear-ended pretty badly, but now she's in San Diego starting a new life.

I had dinner at Henri's Galley, an old time seaside restaurant. The mood was fitting for some wine, so I had a small bottle and ending up inhaling it down as I was getting late for the return ferry. Made the walk back interesting...

A Yamaha Racing scooter...

Sweet! Imagine going for rides around the island on this jalopy.

A Macau casino. This one was a floating kind in the bay.

The beautiful Ponte de Amizade (Friendship Bridge)

100 Macau Patacas, similar value to Hong Kong dollars. They have the Largo do Senado as the background.

I thoroughly enjoyed my short visit to Macau. It was greaty fun. I think two full days are needed to explore the rest of the islands and really get a feel for the place.


phiri50 said...

great pictures. macau seems so beautiful

Vijay Thampy said...

Hey, I'm from Singapore... Could I bother you for details on how to get to Macau and what all places to hit? I couldn't really make out your itenerary from the pics...

Great pics man... You're a walking tourism dept for most of the world! :)

Keep on walking...