Friday, January 9, 2009


So Macau is a 1 hour ferry ride from Hong Kong and if you are in HK, you should definitely go to Macau. We messed up a bit with our times and we ended up having about 3 hours to spend there before having to catch our ferry back. This turned out to be quite a shame as Macau is far more interesting than we had originally thought.
It is billed as the "Las Vegas of the East" so when you think of Macau your thoughts immediately turn to casinos and decadence. However, there is much more culture and interesting history there. Macau is another SAR, Special Administrative Region, just like Hong Kong. Whereas Hong Kong was colonized by our English friends from across the pond, Macau was colonized by the Portuguese. This results in a pretty cool mix between Europe and China. It was very refreshing to see Europe-style piazzas and buildings. All of the signs are in Chinese, Portuguese, and English.
For food, Macanese is very unique and delicious. We scored a very nice lunch at the ferry terminal. Allison ate lamb stew and I had a roasted pigeon (never knew you could them right?) and a seafood noodle dish. For dessert, you must have the egg tarts, which they are rightfully famous for. They are pure taste explosions. Sort of like a delicious omelette inside of a pastry shell.
For sights, we had time to see about 3 things. There is an old fort overlooking the city right next to St. Paul's cathedral, which has mostly been reduced to ruins. Unfortunate, but it is easy to picture the impressive site that used to be. We also ventured into a few alleyways, and enjoyed some more egg tarts. Allison, the Indiana Jones fans that she is, dragged us to the Rua des Felicidades (the Street of Happiness) where the opening scenes of "Temple of Doom" was filmed. It was the former "Red Light District" of Macau and the scene where Willie and Indy jump out of the nightclub and into Short Round's taxi took place on this street. Being the "Las Vegas of the East", of course we had to see a casino. So we chose the biggest and baddest of them all, the Grand Lisboa, which is right across the street its older, more seedy relative, the landmark Casino Lisboa. We got in, played a few slots, DOUBLED OUR MONEY, and left. Booyeah!
Overall, Macau is a fascinating city, and an afternoon, or even 1 day is not enough time to do it justice. I would plan at least 2-3 days to explore it properly.

All that remains of St. Paul's Cathedral in Macau

Taken from the Fort with the Grand Lisboa in the background

Europe? China? Hmmmmm.

Chinese, Portuguese, and English

The Street of Happiness, where they filmed part of "Temple of Doom"

A very nice Macanese lamb stew

No explanation necessary.

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