Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sept.28 - Oct.2 Bom Dia Macao

We wanted to see Macau to see the Portugese side of things again, and perhaps seek a little respite from the hustle of HK. A 1hr ferry ride to Macau, an easy shuttle bus to our hotel and we were ever so happy to be staying in a normal hotel instead of a hostel! [Look! I have to walk to the bathroom instead of just get out of bed and turn around.] Plus it had a pool which Julie was keen on puttinjg to good use, and we did by purchasing 4 cans of beer, 2 ice teas ,1 red bull & 1 big can of peaches - all for $42 patacas! (Quick division by 7 roughly gives you CDN$6!) We had hoped to swim by the beach, but were quickly warned not to by the lifeguards: the typhoons had severely damaged the beach and will require months of work to rebuild. Plus, Macau is not known for its beaches - it's known for gambling. And with the Vegas companies moving in, Macau will soon be a strong contender to "The Strip" as the Cotai Strip is quickly under construction. Currently the Hotel Lisboa dominates the scene and it was neat to see this fixture of gambling houses.
We spent one day wandering old Macau (it's tucked in behind the casinos that are along the waterfront) and it really is a taste of Portugal: same architecture and the street names are in tiles on the sides of buildings except in this case the name is also written in Mandarin along with Portugese. Walking along this busy shopping street we really did feel as if we were in a surreal mix of East meets West.
As night fell, we were treated to a show of fireworks (part to celebrate Chinese National Day plus part of Wynn Macau's Fireworks Competition) which was very nice to watch over the harbour. In our opinion, the China team outdid the Ozzies this night.
We ate pretty well here too: authentic Italian, more authentic Portugese than I had in Portugal (seems odd) and I have to mention the breakfast buffet at the hotel since it was more of a dinner buffet with fried rice, noodles, eggs, fish, vegetables and salad.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sept 24-28: So sorry, flight to Hong Kong delayed because typhoon.

The change to a more liberal form of China and the increased presence of English upon our arrival to Hong Kong was a welcome one after spending a week in the nation's high security capital. Hong Kong delivered on the lights, the skyscrapers and the nightlife one would expect from a major international city. We were happy to be close to the sea, especially as we missed two typhoons that had come through the week before (one only a day before our arrival). Driving into Hong Kong at night was more than I ever imagined: the bus ride from the man-made island that housed the airport to Hong Kong island took us over expansive bridges (one of world's largest) surrounded by land built up with some of the tallest buildings I have ever seen. The city swallowed us up and we enjoyed every minute of it! Some highlights included visiting the highest peak to overlook the city at night, drinking martinis in Lan Kwai under a street canopy to stay dry from the regular evening rains, dancing to salsa & sipping a real caipirinha in a latin club, dining on sushi, mexican tacos & street vendor waffles, and just wandering through the streets and feeling the buzz of the city.