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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

A Day in Macau

MACAU | Saturday, 28 November 2015 | Views [625]

Macanese dwellings

Macanese dwellings

Going from Hong Kong to Macau is like going from one country to another. Crossing the water is like a sort of "no man's water" as you have to go through passport control to exit Hong Kong and again to enter Macau. Immigration is just a formality, and once outside there are free shuttle buses to the various casinos. After the extreme and fruitless difficulty of finding a CouchSurfing host in Hong Kong I would find a cool one in Macau. His name is Kit and we have some things in common. He's an avid hitchhiker and he prefers wine over beer. When I arrived yesterday he met me at one of Macau's many casinos. Macau is often labelled as "Vegas of the East" yet this tiny territory generates more than seven times as much revenue. You only have to walk a short distance to get away from the casinos and into Macau's historical sector and bustling markets. I'd sample various types of beef and pork jerky on the way to Kit's flat.

Macau's currency is the pataca. Until yesterday I had never seen Macanese patacas. HK dollars can be used in Macau but patacas can't be used in HK. After a bit of a nap and whilst Kit went out I did some night caching and a bit of exploration of Macau's historical sector. Despite the comparisons, Macau has a fascinating historic district whilst refreshingly lacking the party atmosphere of Sin City. What I find interesting are these cute little shrines dotted round Macau. 

These small shrines, much like those in Japan and Bali, interest me. Who conceived the idea for a shrine not much taller or bigger than half of your leg? 

Since I had only have one night in Macau I got up early this morning after a bit of wine last night so I could make the most of my day. Geocaching and historic sites would be the story of my day. It's easy to get lost in Macau but thankfully it's small so you're unlikely to wander too far. I'd be leaving tonight, and Kit said he'd cook up Chinese food for dinner. In Asia, most homes don't have an oven so it's more difficult for me to cook for my hosts and friends. A geocache would lead me to the Museu dos Bombeiros (Fire Services Museum).

It's a small museum detailing history and displays of Macau's fire department. Unfortunately most of the signs are only in Portuguese. After a few photos I'd call in at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant serving a typical Macanese dish: a pork chop with spaghetti.

Filling and not too expensive! Unfortunately my Hong Kong SIM card doesn't work in Macau so I had to search for geocaches the old-school way. Next I'd be led up a huge hill to Monte Fort. Lovely views abound of the casinos and all round Macau. Hong Kong and Macau are not provinces or municipalities but are known as special administrative regions (SARs) of China. Of the two I most certainly like Macau better. Long before Macau's gambling days there was a large Catholic presence. The fort and the Church of St. Paul were both built in the 17th century. All that remains of the church is the facade.

A geocache would be lurking just round the corner and I managed to snag it despite scores of "mugglers" roaming about. Sometimes whilst out caching I fail to find the cache but I still discover someplace spectacular. Today I'd see a beautiful garden in a vain attempt to find a geocache. Macau is much more suited for walking than Hong Kong. Kit and I would go shopping and he'd cook up a tasty Chinese tea with eggplant and various veggies; he's not much of a meat-eater. Since Kit already committed to another CSer before accepting my request my only option was to stay last night, I decided to hang out at night and head back to Hong Kong very early tomorrow, saving on a night of accommodation (the ferries run 24 hours a day). Conveniently I got to store all of my gear at one of the casinos and I completed my first geocaching "power trail" where many caches are placed in a row. For a long walk I'd go along the bridge connecting mainland Macau and the island of Taipa. It would be rather dangerous to go caching with a car or bicycle as the footpath is very narrow and there is absolutely nowhere for vehicles to stop; even walking felt a bit uncomfortable. At the end of the bridge I was rewarded with a great view of the night lights!

Many people visit Macau only as a day trip from Hong Kong but I reckon it's worthy of at least a couple of days, maybe even three or four. Everyone knows I absolutely hate Las Vegas with a passion but I don't automatically lump Macau into the same category. There are no debaucherous bachelor parties and whatever call girls and hookers exist must be well hidden; besides, exploring the historic sights will keep you busy. At the ferry terminal I'd fall asleep very soundly on the floor for awhile and on the ferry I was exhausted. After all the trouble searching for a CS host I would finally find a host in Hong Kong through BeWelcome. A day in Macau turned into more like 36 hours and I'm really happy I made the trip! Dreaming of and counting lotuses (Macau's emblem), I'm drifting quietly back to Hong Kong.  

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