Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mommy in Macau- prt. 1

The highpoint of my mother's trip was taking her to Macau for a ladies of luxury weekend. I have been to Macau on a couple of occasions but it seems every time I go my friends are not too interested in sightseeing, more interested in partying. Or, I get a friend who is into sightseeing and we get stuck with the worst weather and get stuck indoors. Not that all my Macau experiences have been bad, (GAGA!!!) but Macau and mine's relationship was rather mixed until after this trip. I was given a discount rate at the Grand Hyatt Hotel because we were going to go see The House of Dancing Water at the City of Dreams. We knocked about 1,000 MOP off our room, got free breakfast at the brilliant Mezza9 resteraunt and  got to see the show for free. (A pretty good bargain, but it was still 2,000 MOP.)

I am not doing this in order of what we saw and when we saw it but in an order that makes sense geographically. I have provided a map of Macau for your convenience.

Macau has 3 sections: Macau (where most of the touristy things are), Taipa (where the casinos are) and Coloane which is the sea side area which is similar to Hk's New Territories. Here is a map for your convenience. You can take buses to all the touristy areas from the ferry port and then try to figure out the portuguese writing. Most of the casinos in Taipa have free buses from the ferry port to their location. Also at our hotel they had a free shuttle bus to other points like the airport, china border and the lotus bridge. You can also taxi to an area where there are many things to see, walk around a lot and then take a taxi to the next major destination that is not walkable. Taxis are cheaper in Macau then they are in HK and MAJORLY cheaper than any taxi you will find in the USA. It is really easy to walk in Macau but there are a lot of cobblestones so watch those ankles!!!

The hotel was pretty swanky and they treated us really well. Everyone was really nice and they had staff members that spoke almost every language in the books. The people behind us were from India and even though they spoke English they had someone come out and speak to them in their native language. (How cool is that?!)Unless you speak a really obscure language their staff has it covered they had staff from France, Germany, Holland, America, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Dubai and many other places.

 The City of Dreams hotel interconnects the Grand Hyatt, the Crown and the Hard Rock Hotel together into a big circle with the theatre in the middle. You can go see the most expensive show in Asian history (2 billion HK dollars, that's right I said billion!) You could spend the whole two days here in Macau in the hotel, not get bored and have a great time.

But my mom and I's main reason for our trip was to sight see. Mainly, OLD STUFF. My mom loves history. I grew up with a huge appreciation for history because of my mom and I wanted to take her to Macau because I thought she'd love the old buildings and the Portuguese parts of the city that have been preserved. In HK, they tear everything down once it's a little bit old, so it's nice to go somewhere they preserve their heritage! We went on the ferry to Macau and were only able to travel super class (oh darn...) This meant we only paid 60 HK more and we got free food, a nice place to put our luggage, got to get on the ferry first and got to get off the ferry first. (If we must!) It's not really an option for those who are on a super tight travel budget but it worked for us! We got to Macau and the immigration lines were CRAZY for the Easter weekends. Apparently every person and their dog comes to Macau for Easter weekend. So it took us an hour to get through customs and then we took a taxi to the Guia Lighthouse. 

Guia Lighthouse and the Church
Built in 1650 it is oldest lighthouse in Asia and it STILL WORKS! Next door to it is a very tiny catholic church that pre dates it that was built in 1625 and has it's original frescoes still intact! It's really beautiful. You cannot take pictures inside but it's really worth going to see. It is also a very nun heavy area so come with your manners! There is a beautiful park at this area, it is very peaceful. So come with the kids and bring a picnic. A lot of people were doing this and it seemed very fun. People were having a very nice, happy family day at the area at the top of the hill!
Me at the door to the Lighthouse
You can't do a trip to Macau without a trip to the Ruins of St. Paulo. So, this is where we went to next. The Ruins are the remains of the Church of St. Paulo which suffered from three fires. It was rebuilt and finally after the third fire only the facade and the stairs were left so they left it as is realizing that it would take too much work to fix it. 

  And although we did this the next day when it was raining, directly to the right of ruins is the Macau Museum and the Mont Fort. I recommend this museum as it has some excellent history on Macau and some good exhibits on the east meets west cultural influences of Macau. Watch the video on the fishermen of Macau for a highly entertaining section on Cantonese Weddings and a baby getting fed noodles.
Mont Fort will also give you a good view of the city if you're looking for that aerial shot. Although, personally I think the aerial views of Macau are not that attractive. Despite the historic preservation of many buildings, a lot of areas look very seedy and run down. It's got beautiful squares to walk through and old buildings to visit but from above the city is kind of ugly due to poor maintenance of the residential areas. 


Speaking of Squares! We visited two squares in Macau that were beautiful and UNESCO World Heritage Sights. Senado Square used to the main street in Macau. It definitely has that old Portuguese feel and has the beautiful painted buildings you're looking to take photos of. There are also many old churches in the area. St. John's Seminary is simply across the street, be careful asking for it in a taxi though. My first trip to Macau I asked for it and was taken to a cemetery. It could happen to anyone I suppose. Senado de Lille is also another historic city square in Macau. It is located a five minute walk from Ama Temple in Macau and was the first known fresh water source for the city of Macau. There is still a beautiful fountain here. Apparently, if you drink from the waters of Lille, you will find happiness in Macau. It is very similar to other traditions like throwing a coin into a fountain in Rome, or releasing a bird in Thailand. 

Part two will include a more in depth review of our room, the show, the museums and the temples we visited.

No comments:

Post a Comment