Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Macau, originally a Portuguese trading port, established several hundred years ago (the first fort was built in ~1528), is now one of two Special Administrative Regions (SARs) in China. It is also known as "the Las Vegas of China," as gambling is legal there, and there are many many casinos. I went there with Boss John and a teacher, Alex (about my age, originally from California) on the 8th (also the day Julien left China). We first drove to ZhuHai, the city next to Macau, and then hopped the border (after paying some guy to drive us to another entry port with a waaay shorter line). We entered Macau really close to the ruins of the St. Paul's church (Sao Paulo); it's just the front stone wall of this old church that burned down. Yep, just the wall. We also had these really good egg tarts (a Portuguese introduction), which are available in KFC's and bakeries in Guangzhou, but aren't as delicious and crispy as they are in Macau. We also walked through an art museum, and the Macau Museum, which had a lot of traditional Chinese displays that Boss John said reminded him of his childhood in GZ, such as getting drinking water via well and bucket. On top of the Macau Museum are the old cannons that used to fortify the building that the museum now occupies. Then we had lunch (coconut curry chicken, it was delicious!) and then walked to the Grand Lisboa, the tallest casino in Macau. After that, we took a taxi (all of which are brand new, with leather interior) to the black sand beaches...yes, beaches with black sand! But it just looked more like a dirty beach to me. Alex and I saved some sand in a water bottle. Finally, we checked out The Venetian, the grandest and most expensive hotel in all of Macau. It even has escalators that curve, and a miniature river with gondola rides! After that, we took the free casino bus back to the border and drove back to GZ.
Some fun facts: While Macau does have its own currency (the Pataca), Hong Kong Dollars are accepted, and seem to be more frequently used. There are also these creepy-looking red sheets of meat, like beef/pork jerky, sold on the streets. Cantonese, English, and Portuguese are the languages of choice, so between the three of us, it was super easy to get around.


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