We actually slept in this morning till 6am. Looked out the window and, yup--it's still raining. We decided that if we were going to walk around in the rain, we might as well do it in a different country!
We had a leisurely breakfast, planned our route, and left the hotel about 9 am. We took the MTR to the Central Pier, where we bought tickets on the TurboJet Ferry to Macau.
A little about Macau: Macau lies to the east of Hong Kong, and was originally settled by the Portuguese in 1550's. It was rented to the Portuguese by the Chinese Empire from 1557 until 1887 when it became a Portuguese colony. It was transferred back to China in December of 1999, however it remains an autonomous region much like Hong Kong. They have their own currency, governing body and immigration and customs laws. We had to go through customs and immigration entering Macau and again coming back into Hong Kong, which seemed a bit strange. Another stamp on the passport!
We didn't have much of a view, it was too foggy:
After clearing immigration in Macau, we found a taxi for the ride into the central historical area. Along the way we passed through the casino area--looks like Vegas! Lots of lights and glitter. Gambling and tourism are the main contributions to their economy.
Our taxi dropped us off at Largo Senado, the pretty central square of Macau:
Macau is an interesting mix of old colonial architecture with Chinese touches. The main square is lined with pretty pastel painted buildings.
We'd read about an older part of town that had some traditional Portuguese restaurants, so we walked a few blocks over to Rue del Felicidades. It's a narrow, old street lined with small shops and restaurants. I got a kick out of reading the names of businesses--an odd mix of Portuguese (Spanish) and Chinese. Like: Casa del Wong Fat Shin and Mercado Fook Ling!
We started with an appetizer, roasted Portuguese sausage with pickles. Each bite of sausage had a slice of spicy, sweet pickle--a pretty tasty combination.
I'm not sure if my mustard and herb crusted lamb chops were Portuguese--but they were very good:
Eventually we came across a store that had English translations, Mystery Solved!
The interior was very simple and pretty, and reminded both of us of old cathedrals we've visited in Mexico.
It's about 3:30 now, and it's starting to feel like it's going to rain. We decided it was time to head back to the ferry terminal, so we tried to hail a taxi on the street, but weren't having much luck--they were all full. So we retraced our steps, walking back towards the central square. Once we got back to the Ruins of St. Paul Cathedral, it was packed solid! I don't think I've ever been in such a crowd--so many people we could hardly get through. We were sure glad when we finally got to the main street!
We found a taxi stand--and joined the big line waiting for a taxi. Thankfully the line moved fairly quickly, and soon we were safely tucked into a taxi for the ride back to the terminal.
We got in line to buy our return tickets--and SURPRISE! They were all sold out until 11:35 pm--that's over 6 hours to wait! We had asked about return tickets when we bought our tickets in Hong Kong--but the nice (ha!) lady said "Oh, you just buy there"! She sure didn't mention that "economy class" might be sold out. We solved our small problem by paying double for 1st class, upper deck seats. This is what we got for our 1st class ticket: