Team Travels: Macau

Hi everyone! Analin here. 

Chinese New Year was our first big break of the year. It’s crazy how much you end up needing a break after only a month of being back to work! Between work for Cam, and my endless supply of 9 credits total at a time for me, we really enjoy our breaks. The life we’re living is a constant reminder of how lucky we are.

I know many of you read this blog to enjoy and/or travel vicariously through us. We’re more than happy to oblige! So to start with, I’ll share some my insights about our trip to Macau this past February.

Macau can be a day trip from Hong Kong – it’s an hour long ferry ride. I had to buy a visa, but sadly, got no stamp in my passport because Macau doesn’t stamp passports anymore. Boo! I’m keeping the receipt. I had never been to a former Portuguese colony, so this trip would be a first for me. I have now visited former British, French and Portuguese colonies, as well as former Spanish colonies (in addition to being born in one!) Nowadays Macau is more known for being the Vegas of Asia (in fact, Macau casinos generate waaaay more revenue than their Vegas counterparts), but back in the day, Macau was a thriving port known for being one of the few places in China were foreigners were allowed (I’m currently studying this in my Chinese history class. Fascinating stuff!). It’s not as exciting as Hong Kong, of course, but it has that colonial nostalgia that I love. You’ll see what I mean in the pictures.

Cameron had been in Macau almosr 10 years ago. Surprisingly, little had changed. Everything was pretty much the way he left it. It was crowded because it was Chinese New Year and there were a lot of tourists from the Mainland, but what are you gonna do.

Macau had a pretty strong Jesuit presence during the 17th and 18th century, and you can tell in the architecture. You can also see it in the colonial buildings – the historic center of Macau reminded me a lot of the colonial areas in Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico and Cuba. I’ve actually been to all of those. How cool is that?

We spent the morning walking through colonial Macau (the historic center is all one cluster of cobblestone streets), following the crowds or avoiding them in some cases. We did go to the Museum of Macau, which was not super exciting but quite informative.

For the main event, and I truly regret not taking pictures of the food, Cam took me to a Portuguese joint called Fernando’s. He went 10 years ago and spent 10 years raving about it. And yup, it’s that good. Cod cakes, feijoada, roasted pig, and garlic prawns. And lots of sangria. Oh my oh my. It was nom nom nom. It was kind of a trek because it’s not in Macau proper, but it was so amazing. Best face-stuffing I’ve had in a long time. If this is how people eat in Portugal all the time, they’re doing it right.

Next up we went to Macau Tower, because it was another stop Cam did 10 years ago. Initially he wanted to bungee jump, but it was too expensive and hey, we live where the second tallest building in the world will be ready at in about a year or less. It’s not like we don’t have better viewpoints and a better view in Shanghai. So we skipped it.

As against gambling as I am, and if you don’t know, it’s completely against it, I agreed to go to one of the casinos to see what it was like. To our surprise, both the MGM Grand and the Wynn were surprisingly empty (maybe it was too early? It was 5pm), and CRAZY EXPENSIVE! We believe the lowest minimum we saw was US$40 at a craps table. Definitely made for the superstitious and highly addicted to gambling Chinese, not for us. The hotels are very pretty though, I’ll give them that!

Here are some pictures around historic Macau. I apologize for the lack of names on landmarks – I’ll have to find those! I also apologize for the low quality pictures – these were taken from my phone. I leave the fancy pics to Cam – he’s much better with the camera.

Enjoy!

Macau Cathedral

The square where Macau Cathedral is located is pretty much the center of historic Macau. You can get everywhere else from here.

Narrow street in historic Macau. According to Cameron, this area has changed quite a bit – a lot more shops and businesses compared to 10 years ago when he was here.

Another shot. Those metal balconies remind me of the balconies in some of the buildings in El Conde (Santo Domingo).

It’s not Chinese New Year without some colorful decorations.

East meets West at its best.

Happy Year of the Sheep/Ram/Goat! (Yes, all those can be used to refer to the same thing in the Chinese Zodiac).

St. Dominic’s Church

The Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral – Macau’s most famous landmark, and you can tell it’s true thanks to the tons of tourists.

A less crowded shot. It’s a shame there’s not a building left, I bet it was an impressive church.

View of Macau from the Museum of Macau.

Historic Macau from the St. Paul Cathedral Ruins’ steps.

Macau from one of its tops. Wish the day was clearer! 

It was really special to me to get to visit one of the places where Cam’s affair with traveling began. Such a privilege!

We’ll be back with more of our Chinese New Year trip to Hong Kong. Bear with us, I’d like Cam to write that one, since Hong Kong is his favorite city in the world! But it’s report card season!

Much love,
Ana & Cam

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