Edit Blog Post
Published: September 11th 2013
Pedestrian shopping district
I returned to Macau as part of a class field trip during my History of Hong Kong course at Hong Kong University. I liked Macau a lot the first time I visited back during a cloudy day in 2009, and I like it even more with blue sky. Macau is a delightful blend of Chinese and Portuguese, epitomized by the infamous Macau egg tart which is a cross between the Portuguese custard tart and Chinese egg tart. So delicious.
The first stop on our organized tour was the Ruins of St. Paul. Then we visited the Macau Museum and Mount Fortress, from which there are some incredible views of the city. We had some free time after that to roam around the pedestrian shopping district, distinguished by its wavy patterned street and colourful old historic Portuguese buildings - making for a very cool pedestrian shopping district indeed. I tried some durian ice cream after being attracted to a little shop down an alley by someone in a durian custome. It was awesome. I wanted to return to the same place to try their black garlic ice cream the next day, but just couldn't make it happen.
Next we went
to the Macau Tower and had a massive buffet lunch at the Macau 360. Such a huge variety of food, sadly I only had appetite for one plate, followed by a bunch of dragon fruit and whatnot. You can bunji jump off of the Macau Tower for a high fee. Amazing views.
After lunch we went to A-Ma Temple, the oldest temple in Macau built in the 15th Century. The organized tour portion of the trip finished, we checked into our hotel, the Golden Dragon. Most students had to share a room, but I got offered a room to myself since there was an odd number of us and my prof thought I should have it being the only mature student on the trip. Sweet. Especially after sharing a tiny dorm room for the last several weeks, which was fine but something I'm not used to. I was the only student who thought to look up ahead of time whether or not our hotel had a pool, so I was the only one who brought a swimming suit. So I went swimming alone. It was nice though.
Later on I met up with some friends to go out
for dinner and check out some casinos. We tried to find a place to eat along Fisherman's Wharf since our tour guide told us there was lots of good restaurants there. It seemed to us most places were closed. Since one of my friend's was under 21 and not allowed into any of the gambling parts of the casinos, we didn't do any actual gambling - probably for the best. Unlike Vegas, Macau has a lot more to offer than just casinos. But they are nonetheless worth a visit, if only to check out the immaculate lobbies and just roam around. We visited the MGM aquarium, and then went to check out the tree growing spectacle at another casino. It was nuts.
The next day I met back up with friends and we had a really cool day. We each had something we wanted to do, and we managed to do it all. We started with my choice, the Guia Cable Car up Guia Hill. Don't bother with the return trip, we paid the extra dollar for it but just ended up walking back down the hill to check out the small aviary and zoo. The Guia Fortress offers
some more great views, and there's an old church that was a welcome reprieve from the heat, however small. There's also a Flora Garden and Lighthouse up on Guia Hill.
My friend had saw something on tv about a Portuguese/Macaunese restaurant called Restaurante Fernando. Having not yet enjoyed any Macaunese food, but remember how delicious salted cod was from my previous trip, I was anxious to make sure I didn't leave the city without going to a good restaurant to have some again. The restaurant was pretty far, but luckily my friends could communicate with the taxi driver to explain where we wanted to go, and they all had iphones to make sure we were heading in the right direction. It was right near Hac sa, or Black Sand Beach in Coloane. It was a nice drive, and once we split the fare four ways it really wasn't that expensive. The restaurant was fantastic, though more Portuguese than Macaunese. I wasn't complaining - we had chorizo, steak and fries, Macaunese fried rice, clams, prawns, and some really refreshing sangria. It was an incredible meal.
Finally, my other friend really wanted to go take a gondola ride at the
Venetian, so that's what we did. We stood in line for a long time, had the guy who rowed our gondola sing to us - very cheesy, which is what it's all about. I couldn't help but feel sorry for these people who had to work there and pretend they were happy and do this every day. The inauthenticity would wear me down after a few days. Our gondola rower had worked there 5 years. I couldn't imagine. After our gondola ride we got sucked in by a deal they had on the photo souviners - we got a package deal so we all went home with something. I got the key chain, one guy got a calendar, another a big photo in a frame, and there was something else i can't remember. Magnet maybe? They were really trying to push the snowglobe on us, but i drew the line there - it's just too ridiculous. A snow globe of us in a gondola in the Venetian? Do they realize it doesn't snow in Venice? It doesn't snow in Macau either so I really couldn't understand why they were selling snow globes. Anyway, after that we found the Lord Stow's
Bakery to try their infamous egg tarts - which are much more like Portuguese custard tarts only more eggy. They are that perfect buttery mix - not too custardy, not too eggy, but just right. I would love to have one right now.
The fast ferry back to Hong Kong only takes an hour, so Macau can easily be done in a day trip. But it really does deserve a few days if you want to get out of the casino and check out some parks, the Macau Tower, some old churches and temples, do some shopping, etc.
Tot: 1.76s; Tpl: 0.055s; cc: 9; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0322s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb