Another wonderful day, not to be wasted, we decided to go ‘overseas’ for the day.
There’s a novelty you just don’t get in Australia or New Zealand. We headed down to the ferry terminal here on Hong Kong Island, and within 70 minutes we were queuing up in Macau to go through customs. It actually took us LONGER to get through Macau customs than it did for the ferry ride across on a jetcat. The queues were insane.. I won’t be complaining about Sydney airport for a while. 😉
Macau feels like a bit of an anomaly. It is an asian country, which is so heavily influenced by Europe, if the signs on the streets didn’t have chinese on them, and it wasn’t full of chinese people, you would think you were actually IN Europe. It was refreshingly different from Hong Kong, in the way it combines the many cultures that have influenced it. Hong Kong of course, was influenced by the British… but in terms of colonialism, it is boring in comparison. In contrast, Macau was also very similar to Hong Kong with the hustle of crowds in some places, the shops, and the traffic.
We started our day of adventure with a walk over to Macau’s Fisherman’s Wharf. It is NOTHING like the REAL Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. In fact, it is almost like a theme-park add-on to one of the casino’s there. Nevertheless, Bethany loved it, and we found a place called Alladin’s Fort which had a few kiddy rides she could go on (Mitchell wasn’t allowed because he was under 2).
The train was simple, but cute. Bethany enjoyed it… always a good thing. We walked down through the wharf area, and found the largest New Zealand Ice Cream store I’ve ever seen… 2 stories and all. I couldn’t go past it without a couple of my favorite NZ flavours… before we continued our exploration.
A brief taxi ride to the centre of town, in which Bethany became very distressed because the back seat of taxi’s are NOT equipped with seat belts, and therefore she thought there was something wrong with the car and we shouldn’t be riding in it, and we came across some inspiring historic landmarks.
Macau has so many wonderful historic “European” sights. The photo above is the facade of the Ruinas de S. Paulo (Ruins of St Paul’s). It was built in the 1600’s and destroyed by fire in 1835. Bethany climbed up to look out from the middle archway and loved it.
Now I have no idea what Bethany ate, but from this point on in our day, she became ‘hyper’… sugared up, and as such… decided Macau was her oyster of craziness!
Case in point…
These are some of the Christmas lights in Largo de Senado (Senado Square), the urban centre of Macau, and my crazy daughter amidst it all.
Mitchell on the other hand, was in winter heaven. Not far from here, we found a Portuguese/Macanese Restaurant. When in Macau… we thought we should try the local fare. We were NOT disappointed. The food was unique, and delicious.
Getting late, we briefly walked towards the Grand Lisboa and the Casino Lisboa. As much as Macau is known as the casino capital of the world (more money goes through Macau’s casino’s than Las Vegas allegedly). We didn’t go in, but we did enjoy the lights from outside.
There are a lot more pictures on flickr (link on the top right there) of our adventures and the amazing sights we saw.
The trip back to Hong Kong was just as amazing. Within 10 minutes of buying tickets for the jetcat back home, we were through customs and boarding the boat. Seventy minutes later were were back in Hong Kong, and through Hong Kong customs before we could blink.
The day trip to Macau was fun, and we didn’t even see that much at the end of the day, but we now have a taste of the uniqueness of Macau, and we definitely want to go back and see more. Perhaps next time we’ll stay in one of those them there shiny casino hotels even. 😉