Saturday, October 15, 2005

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I just came back from an amusement-park 12-hour day in Macau. Macau is like a small town blown up into a city, comapared to Hong Kong. With casinos. And more casinos under construction. Here follows the approximate highlights of my day, plus some facts and a hilarious observation from the border with Zhuhai.

  • Bus #3 to central square.
  • Step inside Se Cathedral.
  • Circumnavigate Fortaleza do Monte walls looking for an entrance.
  • See ruins of St Paul's church, Macau's landmark site.
  • Visit the impressive Macau Museum.
  • Bask in the tropical coolness of Luis de Camoes Garden & Grotto.
  • Bus to Kun Iam (Guanyin) Temple.
  • Lunch at a local eatery, MOP 12 for a big plate of rice, chicken, and veggies.
  • Climb to the top of Colina de Mong Ha.
  • Walk up to the border with the PRC at the north end of the city.
  • Bus to Taipa town, overshoot my stop.
  • Try out local snacks at Rua Do Cunha.
  • Back in Macau, nap in front of A-Ma Temple (A-Ma = goddess of fisherman, A-Ma-Gao = A-Ma's harbor)
  • Eat egg tarts.
  • Dinner at A Lorcha.

...where these are all connected by walking through the narrow residential alleys of Macau, accompanied by the city's minibuses, aunties and uncles, elderly folk, schoolkids: girls in sailor suits, boys in Havana-white plantation outfits. Or taking the bus.

I took lots of pictures. I had a theme: I'm in every single picture I took during my time in Macau.

I still hate touristing in places where I can't speak the language.

The funny observation happened just before, and also at, the border crossing facility the PRC built at the border of Macau and the mainland city of Zhuhai (which, by the way, is very modern, clean and huge). As I was walking up Estrada dos Cavaleiros, I started noticing more and more people pulling little trolleys toward the border. A little closer, I started seeing these people stop by the side of the road and negotiate, some with individuals and others with people operating out of trucks, to load boxes—of Red Bull, pastry snacks, toothpaste—onto their trolleys. The trolley pushers then proceed to cross the border and, I assume, deposit their loads on the other side and come directly back. I say come directly back because the stream of returnees had a steady flow of empty-troller pushers in it. A cheap way to skirt customs for the Macanese, who have special privileges regarding border crossing frequency? I hope they're getting something out of it! I'll post pictures I took of this when I can.

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