Thursday, February 19, 2009

Macau: the day trip

Feeling constrained by island living, we recently decided to go to Macau for a day trip. Phil often goes to Macau for work and Roycie and I went in the fall but our other two family members had not yet been. And though Macau’s main industry is gambling, there are other things to do there. And we had a restaurant recommendation. So we crowded into a morning ferry boat for the hour ride over to Macau, intent on enjoying the post- Portuguese, rather then post- British experience, for the day.

Though we stayed clear of the casinos, we did have our fair share of good luck. On the ride over, we kept asking that all our five seats be together. When you buy a ticket on the Macau ferry, you go through customs with your ticket and then get your seat assignment as you board the ferry. We were told not to worry but with a very full boat we did. But with luck on our side, we were all seated in an enclosed VIP room for the trip over.

Once in Macau, we took a taxi out of the city to the Portuguese restaurant Fernando’s. Fernando’s is one of many little restaurants along Hac Sa Beach, covered with vines and without much signage. We were told it would be busy and with no reservations, a wait was likely. Sure enough, we walked through the restaurant to an open air courtyard where we waited for at least an hour for a table. The kids ran around in the yard with some animals and then started going down to the beach. Phil and I ate bread from the on site bakery. The whole thing was very informal and oddly European. The food was fine but the wait was actually great.

In the afternoon, we all went to the Macau Museum of Art. The Museum was hosting a big exhibition on Chinese Opera that went over our heads but the pencil sketches of Macau 150 years ago were excellent. We also made our way over to the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral, a famous landmark in Macau. All that remains is the façade of the cathedral, which was built back in 1602. Right next to the Cathedral facade, out of the postcard picture you typically see, is a little Buddhist temple. Macau is just like that, a city of contrasts. A Chinese city with a European downtown. I am sure we will be back to stumble around again and learn a little more. Adam is hoping our return trip will coincide with Macau’s other big claim to fame, the International Grand Prix in November but I am not so sure. Casinos plus car races might be too much for me.


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