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Published: July 31st 2018
The pathway to reach Macao are multiple (including by plane) but, for me, I stuck to the normal method of sailing on the ferry from Shekou Port. But even this path has two possible routes: direct to Macao or entry through Zhuhai. I did have a long time visitor of Macao acting as my advisor during this trip which started with the decision to either go straight or the round-about way through Zhuhai. With the ferry to Macao tickets sold-out, we travelled first to Zhuhai to cross the bridge into Macao.
At first glance, it appears as a small city in comparison to Shenzhen (gateway to Hong Kong). The streets appeared less crowded and relatively cleaner than many streets I’ve seen in China. A place had been reserved here for tonight at what is called an “Air B&B” where a part of a person’s living space has been converted for guests to stay the night. With our small diversion of path (not going directly to Macao then back to Zhuhai that night) we arrived in the afternoon instead of early evening. The owner had no problem with us leaving our stuff there which made it
easier for us to move around the streets and casinos of Macao.
Zhuhai is a more peaceful place but oddly my Chinese phone failed to function as anything more than a handheld Wi-Fi device. I did forget to mention this previously but Hong Kong, Macao, and (as I discovered) Zhuhai are cellular dead zones. It was explained to me that it was their “autonomous” status within China which caused this cell phone inactivity. I am still unsure if this is the absolute reason since I didn’t need to “stamp” a departure from China until we actually crossed the bridge into Macao. The cleaner streets, the quieter area made Zhuhai a wonderful place to relax a bit before the crowded moments of the boarder crossing itself.
Our later return to Zhuhai did prove to me that even with the serene seaside area we resided in, a good nightlife style thrived here. Small groups of vendors upon the walkway that bordered the seascape, a few nice looking restaurants, and some bars/clubs reminded me of the Pearl River strip in Guangzhou but to a much lesser level. With two possible buses to take us to the crossing bridge, it was a
very wonderful counterpoint to my life in China so far.
The city of Macao is a thriving place and it was easy for me to see why it is nicknamed: “The Asian Las Vegas”. Massive casinos can be found all over the main island of this former Portuguese enclave. I did get the chance to visit some of them but no photos can be taken within the casino floor (understandably). But the city is not just casinos. Many wonderful parks and squares are available for everyone to visit. Also, most of the casinos themselves house their own malls, restaurants, and other sights that can be found simply by exploring te massive construction. Another wonderful part of visiting Macao is that all the casinos offer free shuttle services from the security checkpoints to their establishment making it easy to get around the first island of the three that form the city.
The Grand Lisboa
Being both a hotel and casino, the Grand Lisboa is mostly all casino with only a few great views from the outside but no chance for photos taking within the large casino floor.
The atmosphere there is lively with a wonderful stage show taking place on the casino bar stage. It is a great place to start your adventure in Macao before going to explore the streets.
Square and Casa Garden
Many of the Portuguese influences in the architecture can be seen with a walk through the Square. I do warn you that it’s hard to travel through these crowded streets but worth the hardship. The upper portion of these classical building remain untouched while the bottom floors are only slightly modified to house every possible type of store and restaurant you are interested in. The other wonder of this place is the fact that cigarette smoking is held in check to the limited “butt” cans for a bigger safety reason. If you would try to walk through the crowded street with a cigarette, you would burn others and possibly yourself in the sea of bodies moving along these small streets. This safety point is also the reason that it is best not to carry much on you while snaking your way in the Square.
I was only able to glimpse a small portion of Casa
Garden. The wonderful zone around a small pond was open on this drizzly day. A view that wet the appetite for what else could be seen in the much larger section that stretched out from the small entrance area that Square's edges. As for seeing wildlife, a small frog played in the pond and the sounds of birds unhappy chirps about the drizzle could be heard here.
This hotel/casino is simple but holds a few pretty displays to amaze their patrons. A spectacular light and water show every half hour in the lobby of their casino is the best example of their entertainment ideals. Like most of the other hotel/casinos the world over, they have stages for special performances that tickets can be purchased by visitors. I did not have the chance during this trip to “see a show” other than the bar show at the Grand Lisboa.
With a heavy rain outside, we were forced to remain at the Venetian during most of the second day of our trip in Macao. This was in no way a hardship considered the sheer beauty and
architectural wonder found within the Venetian hotel, casino, and mall. True to it’s name, the skies were always blue in Venice which was what the inside of this massive building had been turned into. Canals, classical Italian architecture, gondolas, and ceiling painted into a realistic blue sky gives the feeling of walking around the city of Venice (Italy) while being in Macao. Restaurants of all sorts can be found spread out evenly through the inner city-scape for the enjoyment of their customers and visitors equally.
The secondary bonus of this place is that it is linked to two other similar businesses (The Parisienne and The .... which I didn’t get the chance to visit) and to the second island of Macao (Taipa again, no chance to visit) by covered walking bridges. I have been told that it’s a thirty to forty minute walk to each either of these three other places.
The Return “Home”
But time is a hard mistress as we needed to put these places aside for a later date. We used the direct ferry ride from Macao back to Shekou Port in Shenzhen. The ride was a bit rougher with
the rain squalls making the water a harder path to travel. We parted company nearly on the spot we had meet for this weekend escape. The long multiple metro ride home was done in silence as I mentally reviewed the wonderful memories of this overly short trip.
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