Monday, March 8, 2010

A Glimpse of Macau

Just like its neighbor HK, Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. A quick Google search would reveal that Macau was a Portuguese colony and both the first and last European one in China.

Last February 24, we made a short trip to the Little Europe and Las Vegas of Asia. I kind of anticipated language glitches in the immigration as the Chinese speak English way too different from Pinoys. Our first day in HK made me realize that. It's a relief when the Macau immigration officer just did the customary stare and stamped my passport. From the time we stepped out of the Cotai Jet ferry in Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal, all tourist signs come in three languages: Cantonese, Portuguese and English.

We visited two top tourist destinations:

1) The Venetian Macao. We boarded the complimentary The Venetian shuttle to get to this famous luxury hotel and casino resort. It's part of the Cotai Strip, the casino and tourism project at the Cotai District, inspired by the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, USA.

The Venetian is glamour and grandeur personified. Stepping in the welcome lobby of the hotel was already a sign that you got to have bucks to burn to really enjoy the hotel's amenities such as the casino (reportedly the largest in the world) and the premier signature shops.

As usual, we enjoyed taking pictures inside. We didn't get to see a rowing gondola, only one moored gondola on the side. One amazing stuff is the daytime sky-inspired ceiling which will render you clueless as to what the real time of the day is. I bet if one will not pay much attention to his watch, he will be left in a trance inside the fantastic view of the Grand Canal Shoppes.

We grabbed a quick bite at The Venetian food court and, as expected, prices were a bit higher than the usual. And so we opted to order burger and fries combo at Fatburger which carries the slogan - The Last Great Hamburger Stand. Nothing spectacular about the taste though, more like our local Big Brother's Burger.

2) Ruins of St. Paul's. We headed back to the ferry terminal to catch the complimentary Grand Emperor Hotel shuttle which will take us to the nearest stop to the Ruins of St. Paul's. We asked around for street directions and we found ourselves in the Historic Centre of Macau.

And then we saw the interesting road to the Ruins of St. Paul's. It was difficult finding a good angle to have the famous church facade as your background since there are lots of tourists/camwhores doing the same.

En route to the ruins are fashion establishments, food and souvenir stalls left and right. And of course, who would say no to free samples of Macau's delicacies? The almond cookies, egg rolls, peanut and ginger candies, some pastries which I'm simply oblivious about and the wide choices of barbecued meat which reminded me of beef jerky. Promise, one will get full by just grabbing an almond cookie in every stall. LOL!

We also made a short stop at the Museum of Macau located on the hill of the Fortaleza do Monte, a 16th century fort. Then we saw an egg tart stall which also sells milk teas and pork chop buns, but the people were actually curious of the fact that it was the same food stall where Jun Pyo and Jan Di of Boys Over Flowers bought snacks in one of the episodes of the popular Korean TV series. Cute.

While going back to the fery terminal, we were able to see some of the casinos in Macau like Casino Lisboa, Grand Lisboa, Wynn Macau & MGM Macau. In daylight, that is. Go figure.

I still think that our side trip to Macau is just a sampler of the main dish. Main dish will be served in June, the much-awaited month! Looking forward to ladle big, hot servings of Lutong Macau by then. LOL!

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