Andrew and I went to Macau on Saturday. The ferry from Hong Kong was pretty much booked out, so we had to wait 1 1/2 hours for the 12:30 ferry. We should’ve gone a bit earlier or pre-booked.
We eventually got the ferry over along with 400 other people. Customs took a full half hour to clear at least and would’ve been more but for the extra lines that opened up while we were there.
In Macau the first thing we did was take a free bus to see The Venetian, the biggest casino in the world. It was very speccy even though we only saw one wing of it. There was opulence in abundance. It actually wasn’t jaw-droppingly impressive after lots of other things we’ve seen.
What was pretty though, was the third floor, above the gambling. There were a few canals and replicas of famous places there, including St Mark’s Square. Also there was a 20-something soprano singing famous arias. She sang the one that was in the “Mr Bean’s Holiday” movie (O mio babbino caro from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi). Some white statue-people were most amusing when they moved quickly during their break. There were more random entertainers, encouraging happiness.
The entertainment was about creating an atmosphere where people would spend lots of money. It’s not very nice to be made to feel happy against your will. Vexing, actually. And annoying that you are, in fact, feeling happy, yet you know it’s being done to you. Hmph.
There was a Great Hall, which had a painting of a Renaissance scene on its ceiling. We took some photos. There was also plenty of advertising for a Celine Dion concert that night. Talk about cultures clashing.
After the Venetian we went to get some (much cheaper!) accommodation, which was found right near the central square. It was HK $270/2/night.
At night we had a look to see what was about, and took in the sight of the ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral that had been lit-up. Only the façade remained after the rest of it collapsed. It was a remnant of the Portuguese influence. We also found some genuine egg tarts 3/Y10. They were smaller than the Shenzhen varieties, and the pastry was thinner. (This was perhaps a good thing because I had a look at the recipe when we got home.) It was good to taste them on their home soil .
In a city church we saw the end of a Mass. The person on door duty had a really, really big nose. A definite contender in the All-World Big-Honker Competition. Then we wandered the streets a bit more and found St Anthony’s church and the city gardens but didn’t locate the graveyard.
We walked down near one of the biggest hotels, the Grand Lisboa and were… illuminated… by it’s neon livery. Nearby was a man washing his socks in a water fountain!
The next day we arose and walked the suggested tourist walk, after a breakfast of grapes. It wasn’t super interesting but we did see old architecture and the remnants of the city fort. We went back to the remains of St Paul’s Cathedral to see them in daylight. We saw the Macau museum which was most interesting. The free tour guide at the old city pawn shop made it an insight into the city’s past.
Apparently only 2% of Meccanese are Portuguese, 95% Chinese and the rest mixed race. That made it disappointing because I was hoping for more Portuguese stuff. It was in the architecture and the lovely blue, hand-painted tiles but the food and people were more an extension of Hong Kong. So I found the whole place quite disappointing, really. I was expecting a much greater difference.
After lunch we went to book our tickets on the ferry so we didn’t get caught like Saturday morning. Then we went for a walk down to the maritime museum, and had a look through its 3 floors. It was interesting, if you didn’t expect too much. There were models of boats and replicas of ferries. The navigation instruments were very speccy and I enjoyed them.
After the maritime museum I purchased 2 stamps, because they are apparently uncommon however, they are nowhere near as detailed as Australian stamps.
We climbed the mountain of the Buddhist temple where there was incense aplenty. It was hard to breathe because there were also incinerators that burned all the rubbish and packaging involved with the incense-sticks. The stone steps leading up to it were scored with diamond patterns to prevent them being slippery, but this didn’t stop Andrew’s persistence.
Andrew and I brought back some almond-biscuits. They’re ok. A bit gritty and nothing special.
We arrived at the ferry and both felt better for having walked everywhere. The ferry on the way home showed a Harry Potter film. Well, the first hour of it anyway. I wonder if the poor staff every get to see the second hour. Ever. Who knows?
It was an interesting and enjoyable experience, but I’m happy to not go back. There doesn’t appear to be much more than some Portuguese ruins and gambling. It didn’t have the strong Portugese culture that I was expecting.