|11-29-2006, 02:14 AM||#1|
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: somewhere in between
macau and hong kong
Last weekend I flew to Macau with a friend who had to go apply for a new Taiwanese visa. We originally wanted to go to Okinawa, but the Japanese consulate in Taipei said they couldn't issue a visa for her South African passport. With only an hour to plan, we picked Macau instead since going there is quick and cheap.
What an odd place. Although the former Portuguese colony retains a fair amount of its European architecture, the people don't seem to exhibit much pride in the city's heritage. To me it just seemed like a lot of Cantonese people living in a colonial backdrop. We met up with my friend's cousin/family, who said while the explosive casino growth has led to vast improvement infrastructure-wise, the widespread focus on tourism has sapped attention from other parts of the city.
Anyway, we ate dim sum, portuguese food and had a pretty good steak at a U.S.-style restaurant in the Sands casino. The Sands is MASSIVE and it seemed like every table was full. I hear the Wynn is similarly large and crowded; several new properties are also going up on waterfront.
We walked to the top of Guia Hill, saw the Macau Tower, the Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral and some other fort the name of which now escapes me. The shopping district was also pretty nice, set in very Spanish-style buildings along a series of winding, hilly roads.
Ferries to Hong Kong run 24 hours a day. We took the hour-long ride around lunchtime on Sunday and spent the day eating, shopping, shopping, eating, walking and eating. Hong Kong is impressive. The buildings are HUGE; we were seldom not surrounded on four sides by skyscrapers. The city is also very clean and surprisingly uncongested for the amount of people there. One thing I did notice is that Hong Kong had far more foreigners than I expected. A lot of the people I saw were Western or otherwise; in other words, the place is not entirely Cantonese the way I previously imagined. At 1 am, with practically no money left in our pockets, we gathered our heap of shopping bags and headed for the ferry back to Macau.
Here are Macau photos, and here are Hong Kong photos. I picked a couple favorites. Unfortunately, the sky was gray most of the time we were there, so nothing particularly inspiring.
Gone crazy, be back never.
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"The people who had seen the Devil were much more interesting than the ones who had seen the Virgin Mary."
- A professor, about his current study of people who have experienced intense religious visions