At first, it seemed obligatory to visit Macau and Shenzhen while visiting Hong Kong – obligatory according to my TC apparently. Luckily I was able to bargain it down just to Macau, the last colony of Portugal and a self-styled Vegas (or even Venice if you’re willing to stretch your imagination) of the East.
The one-hour boat ride to Macau (Taipa) via catamaran – since the ferry ride into the town centre was completely full – was fraught with shoving and impolite people hell bent on spending their dollars in the numerous casinos that line the streets. But many hotels offered free shuttles to town and many taxis will ply that route for pretty much the same prices as in Hong Kong. As much as a sin city it might seem, Macau still proudly retains its Portuguese heritage and architecture, even though to most of Macau’s residents barely understand a word of Portuguese. The European influence is everywhere – even if only superficially in the facades – and I found myself enjoying the wide boulevards and the cobbled back streets that led to the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The map that I’d been given conveniently omitted the minor streets on which the famous pork buns and Portuguese egg tarts could be found, the consequence of which meant that we settled for pedestrian, tourist-made tarts and almond cookies.
After an afternoon spent darting in and out of tourist shops, I made our way to the nearest hotel (which happened to be Grand Lisboa), wormed my way into the basement gaming room, got a few shuttle tickets for free, and hopped on the bus that would take me back to the main ferry terminal.