Showing mommie around Macau

Trip Start Jun 01, 2010
Trip End Mar 11, 2011

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Flag of China  , Macau,
Sunday, November 28, 2010

The morning after was a bit painful. We chilled out in our room till after three, enjoying the luxury of the honeymoon suite on the 27th floor or the Four Seasons. In all honesty, we have stayed in hotels with more attention to detail, the Four Seasons here in Macau is good, well I must say very good, but not as perfect as its sister in Hong Kong, or the immaculate Fairmont in Beijing.

After checking out we moved our belongings back to the Venetian. We were accommodated by a bell boy from the Four Seasons that brought us and our luggage all the way from one hotel to the other. Perfect service. Our room in the Venetian is an exact copy of the one that my mother has, we are on the 20th floor and she is on the 9th. But only the view and the number on the door tell the difference, the rest is exactly the same.

All checked in we went to look for my mother. We found her at the pool where she was zipping a cocktail and was working on her tan. As Linda had a reunion party of her high-school that night, we saw her off at the taxi stand. Mom and I went on our way to the mall, but a high tea buffer at the Bar Florian caught our attention. We could not resist the temptation and stranded at the buffet, indulging on petite four and a few glasses of wine. As the buffet closed around six, we headed onwards to the grand canal shoppes where we wandered around in Macau's cathedral of shopping where the sky is always blue, so you have no idea what time it is. Later in the evening we rested our feet at the food court, where we nibbled on some clay pot rice. And on our way back to the room, Linda called already that she was on her way back, time flies in casino land.

The next morning we head out to explore the city of Macau. About a million people big, so ten times smaller than Hong Kong. The peninsula is divided over three islands, Macau, Taipa and Coloane. And in between Coloane and Taipa there is a big stretch of reclaimed land, known as the CoTai strip. This is to become the Las Vegas of Asia. There is still a lot of work to be done, but two of the giga complexes are done and in full operation, of course the Venetian, 3000 rooms big with a Four Seasons attached to its south side. And across the street a complex that would overshadow the City Center in Las Vegas, the City of Dreams. This is a combination of the Grand Hyatt, Hard Rock Hotel and Crown Towers. And next to all these rises another 2500 thousand room complex, the Galaxy hotel.

After we pick up mommy we head out for brunch at Taipa. We introduce her to the famous pork chop buns, which are enjoyed with a big smile. The buns are a legend in Macau, especially around three in the afternoon when the fresh buns come out of the oven. Everyday lines of people queue up for this event. After the buns we walk around Taipa for a bit to see the Portuguese museum and the small streets filled with little shops that sell beef jerky and other food souvenirs. We visit a small Chinese temple and witnessed how the people burn the incense.

We hopped on a taxi to head out to the black sand beach of Coloane. This is the furthest as you can go from Macau. Even though it is only a short ride with the taxi. The beaches are black because of the volcanic soil, and not from oil spills or other China pollution as you might expect. We strolled around the beach for a bit before picking up a nice BBQ lunch from one of the street vendors. Some satay and a chicken leg, packed in a paper bag. Then we brought our catch to the end of the beach, where there is a small public BBQ place. Here we enjoy our feast. It is Monday, so we are one of the few people out. But normally, during weekends, this place is packed with families, grilling their meats, Chinese style.

With lunch in our system, we need exercise to burn it off. We jump on a bus that takes us all the way back to Macau. Buses are great because you see a lot of the areas that are not that explored by tourists. After a good forty five minutes we exit the bus in downtown Macau where we walk over the mosaic streets towards the famous remains of the church. This is just the facade of the church, which has burnt down twice. It is the landmark icon of Macau. From there it is all up hill to the fortress. Poor mommy, she had more exercise this afternoon than in the entire year. The fortress has a great view over Macau. It is unfortunate that the Portuguese fought off the Dutch here a couple of hundred of years ago. If we would have been a bit more persistent, Macanese would speak Dutch now, which would make communication with my parents in law a lot easier. But helas, the Portuguese held ground, too bad.

Down the hill we stopped for a cup of coffee and an egg tart at Cafe Margaret. The place was packed as always, but the egg tart is the second best in the world, only to be beaten by the ones in Balem. Playing tourist is a tiring activity, so we decided to head back to the hotel for a bit to refresh and rest. Later that evening we headed back to Macau for dinner at the Fishermans Wharf. Fishermans wharf is sort of a mini world exhibition. It is built at the harbor shore next to the ferry terminal. The complex has buildings in styles from all corners of the world. You can also find a miniature forbidden city, a volcano and even roman ruins there. We chose a Thai restaurant in the Dutch district of the tourist attraction. The Dutch 'district' are three canal houses on the ocean shore. The Thai restaurant in the one to the right is one of the best places to have a meal on the Fishermans Warf. We sat at the water side and enjoyed the evening. It does get a bit chilly outside at this time of the year. But the happy hour 2 for 1 tiger beers helped to keep the chill out.

On the way back we tried to stop for a drink at the Macau Tower, also know as Stanley Ho's erection. Stanley Ho is the man that owns half of the City, he is now kind of a godfather with is eighty odd years, sitting in his wheelchair, surrounded by his four wives. The man, and his family own practically every casino in Macau, so you can imagine the wealth. The tower is an observation tower, similar to the Seattle space needle. On the top there is a nice bar where we had drinks before, from there you have a great view of the shiny lights of the city. But not today, as it was closed at 21:30! What is the point of a bar, when they close so early. Slightly defeated we headed back to the Venetian, where we settled for a drink in the casino bar, which has kind of became our regular hang out by now.

The next day is already our last day in Macau, for now. We will be back the weekend after, but by then mommy is on her way to Perth to visit an aunt. We check out of the Venetian and head out to the ferry terminal. Here we store our luggage at the luggage desk and head out for a dim sum lunch with the family. We go to the local dim sum place around the corner from Linda's parents. After dinner we head back on the ferry to Hong Kong. The weather is beautiful, and the south China sea hardly has any waves to disturb the boat.

Arrived in Hong Kong we quickly make our way to the Mira hotel in TST. Here we check in mommy. The rooms are amazing, there is a Sony Vaio entertainment unit / computer connected to the big ass Sony flat screen, here you have lightening fast Internet on the screen together with every TV channel in Hong Kong and some other features that we did not bother to explore. The sound came from a nifty Bose Ipod dock. The room also had a 'Fairmont' style bathroom, with a glass wall separating the bath and the sleeping area. You could see that this hotel has recently been refurbished, during the refurbishment they shortened the name from 'Miramar' to 'Mira', which sounds a lot snappier. We played with all the toys in the room for a bit, as we had to explain to mommy which button to press for what. But shortly after we headed out to Prince Edward, where we had to return a part of the rented evening dress.

From there we had a short walk to the Langham place. This is also a Hotel / Shopping mall, built in the middle of Mongkok. It is kind of a weird duck in the pond, as the surroundings of the modern glass tower are rural and a bit rough. A bit of a strange place to build a five star Hotel and a branded shopping mall. But it worked out just fine for us, as we were looking for a place to have a nice drink. We climbed up to the 13th floor with the many escalators in the building. Mommy is not very fond of heights, so the long and very high escalators were not her favorite. Once we reached the 13th floor we were kind of lost. But we found what we were looking for, a cozy bar serving happy hour wine. The ceiling of the little patio reminded us of the Venetian, as the 'sky' was also painted blue here. The girls ordered a jug of sangria, and I stuck to some Australian cab-souf. After a couple of drinks we went next door to a Cantonese restaurant. We had a table on the window side kind of hanging over the street as the whole building slants outwards. Again not really comfortable for mommy with her fear of heights. The dinner was lovely though, and we had another great evening.

Later we dropped mommy off at her high tech resting area as we went back to simpler places, our little flat at Charming Garden. Somehow it felt good to be back in the tiny shoe box, a sense of coming home has overtaken me. Yes, after only a month in Hong Kong I start to feel home in the silly city. I suppose it is time to move on.
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