Monday, July 05, 1999

The Fourth of July in Macau

Hong Kong
Woke up and caught the 969 at 9 am. We were in Central around 9:40, where we picked up tickets for the 10:00am jet-foil to Macau. The boats have Boeing painted on the side. Nice.
We saw a few other jet-foils pass us on our way to Macau (60 minutes, 65 km). After getting through customs, we kind of got lost trying to find the heart of the city. It was due mostly to the fact that our map only had a few roads listed.

Macau
When we finally found it, it was quite nice. Senado Square is surrounded by European style buildings (considering that Macau is a Portuguese territory, it makes sense) including St. Dominic's, which is said to be the prettiest church in Macau.

We caught lunch at the Safari Cafe, also advertised as Safari Restaurant and Restaurant Safari. I had spicy African chicken. Tasty. On our random wanderings, we were passed by a group of men in trucks who were banging on drums. Happy Fourth of July? Chris and I realized that the map scale was such that we could cover an inch in a few minutes, but we still had to back-track a lot because the streets have no real order, and aren't always visibly labelled. On our way to the northern side of town, I spied the drummers setting up in an alley. So I went down the street to see more. Guys with dragon heads and tails carved from wood would spew forth a mist from their mouths as they danced.

A pair of the dragon costumes also dances to the drums. We followed them from what looked like a small temple to the Senado Square, where more dancing occurred. It turns out that they were spewing out beer as they participated in the "Drunken Dragon" competition, with medals and awards given out to the winners. What Fourth of July would be complete without drunken revelry?

We then made our way up to the Sao Paulo facade...the rest of the church is in ruins. From there, it was a quick hop over to the Monte Fort, which we strolled around in the light rain. The view from the top of the fort allowed us a panoramic view of run-down Macau. Not that there are other parts, mind you, except for the casinos.
The Sao Paulo Facade
We left the fort, and got lost again. I asked this really old man where we were, using the map. He put down the shoes he was shining, grabbed my map, and walked to a tourist information sign with 4 destinations, all of which we had just seen. Picture this: This little shirtless drunk marionette of a guy is pointing up at these signs written in Portuguese as I am watching him shout out "1,2,3,4" and pointing in the same direction as the arrow on the signs. Chris is standing behind us wondering why I asked this guy for directions when there are other better people around who look more helpful.

Rather than get more lost, we walked back the way we came. Then stumbled across the road we wanted  figures, we were right where we thought we were, but couldn't see the sign and they are always changing names anyways. But they were always in Portuguese or Chinese). We made our way up to the Camões Grotto & Gardens and the Old Protestant Cemetery--the first in Asia, filled with many American sailors. Took some back roads up to see the Buddhist Kun Iam Temple, which wasn't really worth a photograph. I guess the inside was okay, but the place was shabby on the outside.

We then ambled down to the Jardin Municipal de Lou Lim Lok. The place was very peaceful, with Asian and European architecture, garden paths through caves and over the pond (which was teeming with fish and turtles). We began our walk back after this, passing a soccer game and some basketball action in the public athletic area.
Jardin Municipal de Lou Lim Lok

Jardin Municipal de Lou Lim Lok
We walked along this road we thought would take us to the ferry, on the other side of the largest hill in Macau, but we ran into some people coming from the other direction who we had seen at the garden. So the road is circular. Hmmm. As we were looking at the map with the ferry building not more than 400 meters away and 50 meters below us, the other people from the garden walked on in the direction we had just come from. Kind of reminded me of a scene from the Poseiden Adventure, the one were everyone is trying to find their way out of the doomed, sinking ship. It was drizzling off and on, so neither of us wanted to go back because we knew how long that would take. The road had a barrier wall about a meter high separating it from the steep hillside. But we would have been in bad shape if we fell down the 20 feet to the dense
foliage-covered slope (we know this because we had to walk along the top of the wall for a ways so that we wouldn't be run over by the passing traffic). Just then, two heads pop up, followed by bodies, which is good
because we weren't really in the mood to fight the undead. Locals. Hmmm. I went over to check it out, and sure enough, there is a little path down the hillside. Rock on!
Chris follows me down the crooked path
We got our Fourth of July American Celebratory meal at McDonald's--a double cheeseburger. Caught the 8:00 Turbo Cat(amaran) back to Hong Kong. We left the terminal and found the bus stop moments before it came, we were home around 11 o'clock that night, after snagging some refreshments. All in all, just another day of living the 'international lifestyle'. Heh.

Related Links:
Share:

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Featured Post

End Of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

We spent two and a half years in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on our second tour in the Foreign Service with the US Department of State. As you migh...

Honest Post Reports