Day Trip To Macau

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Macau  ,
Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Had a very long day ahead of us today but that wasn't going to stop us making the most of our time here. We had a flight to catch at midnight but we were still packed and ready to go early in the morning. But we still had a whole day to fill and didn't really fancy lugging my bag around all day! So before we left we booked a couple more nights at the present hostel for when we return to HK in a weeks time. The owner let us leave our bags there for the day which was very nice of him.

Seeing as we had seen enough of Hong Kong we decided to get the ferry across to Macau. At the ferry port we paid the fee ($HK150) and boarded our TurboJet. In the past the undulations of the sea have got the better of me, so I wasn't exactly looking forward to a choppy crossing. Luckily it was anything but. The sea was incredibly calm and the hour flew by before we stepped out into a glorious day in Macua.

Completed immigration and withdrew some Patacas for the day and went in search of a bus into town. Didn't have any change so I had to pay in $HK, which has the same exchange rate. When we arrived at our destination it was as if we had travelled 6000 miles back west and into Europe. The architecture is all very Portuguese and was fantastic. The brightly painted shops looked even better as they were covered in decorations for an upcoming festival.

We headed off to find the ruins of St Pauls, which is the main photo opportunity in Macau. The building was totally destroyed apart from the facade but it still looks very impressive. There are stairs up to the windows and we decided to climb them to see what the view was like. By now the weather was taking it's toll and I had managed to sweat off all the sun cream I had put on 20 mins prior.

We went in search of shelter but could find none so head off to see the battlements. Still had the cannons mounted here (covered in graffiti) and the views of the city were pretty impressive, although most of the areas looked pretty run down.

After a quick bite to eat we took another bus to Macau Tower. This is currently the 10th tallest tower in the world and they have certainly catered for the thrill seeking market. There were banners all around boasting of the "worlds highest skydive" and we soon realised what that was when someone threw themselves off the building.......attached to wires of course. Dave was saying he would do it but I said hell no!

We did however go up to the observation deck. Good views all round and an incredibly scary, at least for me, glass floor that lets you see the 233m drop straight down. I'm not the best with heights so quickly grabbed hold of the handrail. I found it pretty terrifying standing on a thin layer of glass that high above the ground. The kids around us however were having no such trouble and left me open mouthed in amazement as they ran across the room and jumped onto the glass!

Dave was also struggling with the height and showed none of the bravado he had whilst safely on terra firma. I could only but laugh! Watching people throw themselves off the building and being able to watch them from this height was incredible and their guts/stupidity had my respect.

Safely back on the ground we got the bus back to the ferry port, but on the way stopped to take a few pictures of the outrageously OTT casinos being built. Amazingly Macau is making more money through gambling than Las Vegas and you can see everyone is trying to cash in on this new trend.

Back at the ferry port we knew we were in trouble. It was absolutely packed and the turbojet ferry desk said next available sailing 21:30! We needed to get back to Hong Kong much sooner than that to collect our bags and get to the airport. We joined the huge queue for the First Ferries ferry to HK. Much confusion in the queue and no one really knew what was going on. For a while there was a real worry that we wouldn't be able to get a ferry back and nearly had to resort to the extravagance of a helicopter ride back!

Luckily at the front of the queue we managed to secure the last couple of remaining "deluxe seats" at a small added expense. The sailing back was a lot choppier than before and it really affected Dave. I however happily tucked into my complimentary beef noodles and can of beer! I think I must have become accustomed to the swaying as in all honesty it wasn't too bad and the turbulence on the way from Singapore had been a lot worse.

Back in Kowloon we caught the MTR back to Causeway Bay and collected our belongings before catching the bus to the airport. We got there about 4 hours early so chilled with a pint whilst watching the footie highlights and using the slow Internet. On entering the Departure lounge I spotted a Burger King for the first time in Asia and you should have seen Dave's face before he ran over to order!

Onboard our tiny A300 China Airlines flight to Taipei I was a little nervous. The plane was fine but looked like the ones we used to fly to Spain 15 years ago, and should have been retired from service 10 years ago. Therefore it was a rather creaky and noisy journey with the loudest landing gear and wing flaps I have ever heard!

I was all prepared to sleep on this flight but it was clear that the flight attendants weren't going to let this happen. Within 5 minutes of takeoff, just as I was trying to sleep, they pulled my tray down and threw breakfast in front of me. It was 12:30am and I wasn't really in the mood for breakfast.

It continued like this for the duration of the flight with the cabin crew buzzing around trying to fit in all the services in only an hour. Looked like tiring work. After a rather loud and incredibly fast landing we safely touched down in Taipei at around 2am. It was the fastest landing I had ever been involved in and joked that he must be late for dinner. It seemed as though we hadn't gone above 4000m for the entire flight.

Getting to immigration we saw there were only 2 desks open, both for locals only, so we joined the queue. After the usual questions we were safely through to Taiwan soil. There was a nice sign on the wall saying "Drug smugglers will face the death penalty" which I thought was slightly worrying but I doubt my malarial meds count!. We were in the arrivals lounge, at 2:30am looking to catch a bus......
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