Thursday, July 13, 2006

Macau

After my passport was heavily scrutinised at customs I was eventually let in. After checking every stamp in my passport, they stamped me in with an expiry date of 01/01/2007. I was only staying three days. When I came out, my luggage has disappeared from the conveyor belt as everybody else had left. Luckily one of the staff had picked if off and I collected it. Then change money, and find the bus. Then get some coins for the bus. Then get lost on the bus ride. I was jammed up the back with my backpack. One of the locals asked me where I was going, it happened a couple of people were going the same way, so I tagged along, jumping on a local bus and getting towards the street I wanted. I found my hotel, hiding in a tea-shop. Just a lift, like an oven, which only stopped at the 3rd floor. Then opens out to a hotel.

So once I got settled it was getting dark, so I popped out for a look around. First impressions is that there is a lot of beef jerky everywhere. Seems to be shops selling all sorts of variations on every corner. I opted for some salted codfish for dinner with potatoes and eggs. Lots of eggs, not much fish or potatoes it turned out.

Lots of museums here, so I had a look around a few of them. The Maritime museum had lots of ship models, including a chinese vessel with large boulders on tall logs with hinges for dropping down and smashing enemy ships. A formidable looking weapon. Also a model of a large 7 story Chinese war ship which was supposed to "shock and awe" the enemy into submission. Apparently it wasn't actually much use in war, just looked good!

Macau used to be a Portugese colony, granted after fending off the pirates, so there is some influece noticeable in the architecture especially around the city square, with the paved wiggly lines in a piazza-type setting. I heard a few people speaking some sort of Portuguese language, with some English thrown in. Although apparently the population is now 95% Chinese. There is a F3 race course round the city, similar to Monaco. I ended up walking round it, not by choice, but because I couldn't find a way to get off the road as it is walled in. I just wanted to cross the island. Some landfills are in operation which created Fishermans Wharf, which seems kinda tacky, with faux Roman ampi-theatre and strange mascots in spring costumes. Also a landfill area is NAPE, which if filled with tower blocks, pubs and restaurants. Apparently the north of Macua is the worlds most densely populated area.

I had a look at the F3 museum and the wine museum the next day. It was only 2quid for a pass to the top 6 museums, so not epensive. I then had a look at St. Pauls Ruins which as you may have guessed doesn't have much left, just the front facade of the old church. A small crypt houses some religous art at the back.

At night time the casino lights come on, and the rich people come out to throw their money away. I headed down to Casino Lisboa, the most famous casino on the island, to watch the action unfold. But it wasn't that exciting. I guess most of the big money, is won and lost in private rooms, don't want to mingle with the riff-raff such as myself. The other problem was I didn't have a clue about how the games worked, who had won or lost. Some strange card games. At least I just about understand roulette. Not exactly fast-paced though. I headed off to the a new casino the American owned Sands casino. With hundreds of slot machines lining the walls. Here in Macau the call them "Hungry Tiges", with jackpots heading into the millions of Patacas. Needless to say I didn't win anything.

I had a spot of Nasi Goreng Indonesian style served in bamboo, and for something local a portuguese egg tart, yummy. Next stop is the short hop over to Hong Kong.

2 comments:

christine said...

But isn't that 'beef jerky' good?! :) I took tons of it home for friends and everyone loved it. You have me craving for it now. And the egg tarts!

I loved the architecture in Macau and took lots of picture of the brightly colored buildings. We went in February of this year, didn't think I'd be all that impressed but I was.

vanessa said...

I did a search on portuguese egg tart and your site came up. I love those tarts too. Funny thing is I had such a craving yesterday, I actually went home and made some. Couldn't think of anywhere in singapore off the top of my head that sold them. Sharing with you the recipe, in case you are craving egg tart :)
http://vanessafrida.livejournal.com/76279.html