After spending Christmas in Hong Kong we went to spend Boxing Bay on the island of Macau, which is 70km south & the most densely populated region of the world.
We decided to take the bus instead of the ferry so we were able to cross the bridge that links the two islands. It had been recently opened & was also a cheap option ($65HKD). Upon arrival at the large new terminal you can catch a hotel bus which is free. However, be aware that they are infrequent, which can create long queues! We took a taxi
which was cheap & were dropped off in the historical centre of the city.
Our Island visit started here, in the ruins of Saint Paul’s Cathedral which is located on top of a small hill. Interesting enough, only the facade remains, which is very pretty, even more so when it’s illuminated at night.
You can visit the crypt where they keep images of the cathedral.
Behind it you’ll find a small temple where they burn incense of all sizes & shapes. We were surprised at how big some were!
Going down the stairs you’ll see pink, yellow & blue buildings all from portuguese heritage, who administered this land from the XVI century to 1999. It is funny to see the names of the streets written in Chinese and Portuguese.
Do you know a fruit called “durian”? They say if you go to Macau you must try the durian ice cream … if you dare. I only tried a bit, but our brave friend Ash ate it all.
Some meters away from Saint Paul’s there is a hill surrounded by gardens that take you up to the Fortaleza do Monte, a fortress built in 1626 and from where you’ll get the best views of the city. Check out the hotel casino Grand Lisboa, you’ll recognize its very peculiar shape from the distance.
Coming down hill you’ll find streets full of Chinese food where you can taste the local delicacies & the Chinese-Portuguese fusion. Always remember, when you travel if the locals go there & it’s busy it means the food is good & freshly made.
With full tummies we arrived at the pretty & yellow Santo Domingo’s church, built in colonial style.
Close by there is the square Largo do Senado that marks the centre of the city. There is the Cathedral that is quite plain, specially if I compare with my favourite church out of all the ones we saw, San Lorenzo’s Church, it is so beautiful inside. The city is full of them, and these days also full of nativity scenes.
Near Senado is the Lou Kau mansion, who was a prominent business man. It was built in 1889 and it is a sample of a traditional Chinese home with some western influences, located in the centre of a ‘Christian city”.
The next stop on my list was the San Carlos V Theatre built in 1860 in a neoclassic style, that happens to be the first western theatre in China.
Behind it there is the Sir Roberto To Hung library, before it was the mansion where this gentleman lived, it has a very nice colonial style. Next to it you’ll see the colourful San Jose seminary.
Continuing our walk we arrived to the sea & to the A-Ma Temple, the goddess of the fishermen. There I burnt two incense sticks to honour two stars I have in heaven.
The neighbourhood of San Lazaro still has all its colonial charm, you can’t miss it.
We had only one more street to visit, the Rua do Felicidade, or “happiness street”, nice name, isn’t it? The sailors called it like that as it was the first place they went to after many months at sea, imagine the reason they went there. Nowadays is well known because it was in the movie “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, it you are a fan of the saga as I am, I bet you are already looking for it.
Macau is also known as Las Vegas of Asia, grand casinos invite the traveller to gamble, shop & enjoy the luxury. We first visited the Hotel Casino Sofitel Ponte 16, near San Lazaro. We had a drink in its nice bar & from there we took a taxi to the area where all the casinos are, amongst them is the Grand Lisboa we could see from the distance. It was already dark & they were all lighten up.
We visited the biggest casino in the world, The Wynn, after watching the spectacle of the fountains dancing at the rhythm of the music, yes, like the ones in the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Today I’d like to tell you about the novel “On Chesil Beach” by Ian McEwan. The author narrates the series of facts & thoughts that happen during the first night of this newly married couple who have just arrived to this hotel in the English coast. They had met in a protest in the 60’s & fell in love, even though they were from very different backgrounds. He describes the thoughts and feelings that each of them keep from the other, specially the ones related to the consummation of the marriage. As the story moves on we get to know in depth the two main characters & their lives, understanding why they keep what they think & feel in secret.
They’ve recently released the movie of this book I very much enjoyed reading, I might watch it, I might keep the memories I already have, like the ones I’ll treasure of the special Christmas we spent in Macau.
Safe trip nomads!