Monday, May 16, 2011

5 Things I Miss- The update

My first post about the things I missed about America was written about three years ago and posted here from my old blog. I've realized over the past three years the things I miss has evolved in some respects. (Others, no... Give me my free refill!) Here is the updated Things I Miss from America list.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

5 backpacker essentials for beginners

Your first backpacking trip you may not know what exactly to bring. I have a kit that I pack every time I go somewhere. I am known as the friend you take traveling who has a backpack like Mary Poppin's bag. Example: a friend broke their shoe on a trip; out I pull super glue and a safety pin. The perfect fix for a broken flip flop! A friend's strap breaks on their bag. Out comes my tiny sewing kit and magical sewing fingers. Now, I do have a bag that is significantly heavier than some peoples. I pack WAY too many clothes because I never know what activities I'm going to do on a trip. (And I'm a girl.) But I typically find that I do use everything I bring and I pick up more supplies on the way, if needed. Most countries have maps at the airport of the public transit systems or city streets: pick one up on the way so you can make the most of your trip. (Or bring that tattered Lonely Planet with you!)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Review- The House of Dancing Water

I was very happy to see The House of Dancing Water on my last trip to Macau. It is infamous for being the most expensive show in Asian History with a budget of over 2 BILLION HK dollars to produce. Created by Franco Dragone; one of the founders of Cirque du Soleil; it is a true spectacle to see. If you want to see a show with a lot of sparkles, shebang and wow factor this is definitely a show for you! Kids seem truly captivated by it when the watch it and it has no foul language so I think it's appropriate for children as young as 5. (They won't understand the sex slave, S&M feel to one of the aerial ballets. They'll just think the girls are really mean and those poor boys are being beaten around!)

We paid to have the expensive seats in the house, one because the cheap seats were sold out and two because we didn't want to get wet. If you sit in the front 2 rows of the stage it is a splash zone much like seeing Shamoo at Seaworld. Bring an umbrella or a plastic sheet to wrap around you and your little ones, or just dress in clothes that dry easy.

The PROS
There is a lot of artistry in this production. I really like the east meets west feel of the design. It kind of flips between a traditional Chinese architecture and clothing and the Baroque Architecture from the 16th century. The overall feel of the piece is opposites: Ying/Yang, Love/Hate, East/West. It is very simple to understand and there is no talking in the piece. (There are sound effects made by clowns.) Anyone no matter the age or the language barrier can understand the story (what little there is).
The pool with the cover over it

SPOILERS BELOW DON'T READ AHEAD IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mommy in Macau- prt. 2

We will now diverge into our eating, relaxing and museum portion of the blog. My mom and I went to Macau for a ladies of luxury weekend over Easter where we stayed in a very nice room, ate lots of food and lounged in an amazing bathtub. Let's breakdown the Hotel more for you. I have already talked about the great price and the great staff but let's talk about the room and the food! After all that's the most important parts!
There is gold leaf on my lollipop and I am going to eat it! I feel so filthy rich!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Losing My Religion- Top 5 Temples and Churches of Macau

I don't like labels but I love a pretty church or temple and appreciate the dedication it takes someone to be religious. I myself consider myself to be spiritual but do not define myself into one religious box. It's far too easy for me to do that. People are people and we all want the same things. Different cultures create religions to answer the same set of questions all humans have. So why can't they be the same thing? 

Macau is a great example of a town that is equally mixed, East meets West. You can eat traditional Portuguese and have dim sum all in the same town. I like the fact that Macau has held onto it's history unlike Hong Kong which tears down anything over 50 years for the sake of "progress". And yes, there are some parts of Macau that could use some improvements but their love for their heritage is something to be admired. The Portuguese owned Macau until 1999 so it's just passed it's ten year anniversary underneath the banner of mainland China. They speak Cantonese and Portuguese in Macau. You will be hard pressed to find a taxi driver with great English skills and the buses are only Portuguese and Chinese so make sure you are paying attention and have your map handy. A lot of mainland tourists come over so in the past ten years there has been a huge improvement in those who speak Mandarin in Macau. All the Casinos have English speaking staff because of the tourists from Hong Kong so you'll know you'll have no problems once you enter the casino world.

On our historical tour of Macau, we did a church and temple tour. This is because I love to see Unesco Heritage Sites and Macau has many churches and temples with Unesco stamps on them. Seeing the equal appearance of catholic, and buddhist worship centers it really showed you the east meets west vibe of the city. Here are the top churches and temples we went to. (In no particular order.) I would also like to point out that we were there on Easter weekend which meant we got to see a lot of pilgrimages and it seemed super appropriate to see the religious part of town on this weekend.