Friday, April 5, 2013

Thursday in Hong Kong, But Not Really.......

We left the country for the day!

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!

 Our boat:

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.

All of the sidewalks are mosaic with ocean themed designs--very pretty:

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 looked at a few menus and chose a small Portuguese restaurant, Dragon Portuguese Cuisine.

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.

We shared a good dark Portuguese beer, Sagres:

David ordered Ox-tail and vegetables in a Portuguese red wine sauce--it was delicious.  Not a lot of meat on those ox tails, but it was melt in your mouth tender:

I'm not sure if my mustard and herb crusted lamb chops were Portuguese--but they were very good:

After our nice lunch we wandered along the rest of Rue del Felicidades, looking in a few interesting stores.  Shop after shop had displays of an odd looking item--we couldn't figure out what it was.  It was selling like hotcakes, though!  Notice the ladies hand on the right--she was snipping off small pieces to sample:

  Eventually we came across a store that had English translations, Mystery Solved!

We did try a sample of "Thick Boar's Fillet", and I thought it was delicious--tasted like maple cured bacon.  David definitely DIDN'T like it--and quickly bought a small pastry to get the taste out of his mouth! 

We made our way back to Largo Senado, and went into the pretty Santo Domingo Cathedral--another reminder of Macau's Portuguese heritage:

The interior was very simple and pretty, and reminded both of us of old cathedrals we've visited in Mexico.

We continued our walk up towards the ruins of St. Paul Cathedral.  There were masses of people on the steps leading up to the facade:

Interesting decorations on the facade:

While we were admiring the pretty church two young Asian (Chinese or Japanese??) girls asked if they could take our picture.  We were a little puzzled, but said sure.  One of them joined us, flashed the usual "photo peace sign" while the other snapped the photo with her iPad.  While we were posing I said to David "They must think we're cute, or something".  The young girls evidently understood me, and answered "Yes"!   I can just hear them back home showing off their travel photos:  "Here's that cute old couple we saw of the steps of that church"!  We're still shaking our heads over that one.

By now it was absolutely mobbed--way too many people for our liking.  We left the central area and wandered down a side street.  It was filled with small antique shops, and I really enjoyed looking in the windows at the beautiful old clay figures, porcelain bowls and vases. lovely painted scrolls and even some old Mao memorabilia.  Much of the clay figures and porcelain dated back to the Ming Dynasty, pretty stuff but way beyond our budget!

Soon we came to another pretty public square in front of a large park.

We strolled through the park, it was beautifully landscaped and very lush and green:

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:


We just laughed at ourselves--it was an expensive trip to Macau.  The seats in 1$t cla$$ upper deck were very comfy, though.  I even snoozed a bit on the way back to Hong Kong.

Back in Hong Kong, and another trip through immigration, then onto the MTR and back to our hotel.  We stopped at our neighborhood grocery to buy our dinner--two cup-o-noodles to eat in our room.  They have shelf after shelf of instant noodles--it was a bit of a challenge to pick one--can't read Mandarin!  So we "dined in" tonight, our 50 cent cup-o-noodles should help our budget busting day!

Tomorrow is our last day in Hong Kong, and our fingers (and toes and eyes!) are crossed for decent weather.  Hoping to take a trip up to Victoria Peak and also a ride on The Star Ferry.


  1. Casa del Wong Fat Shin? Now there is just something wrong with this combination!

    The buildings in Macau are beautiful.... even if it was a bit expensive. I've been reading a little bit about the history of China - very interesting..... Sorry that you are continuing with the 'monsoon' weather. Love your posts.

  2. Well I certainly liked Macau....pastel colors...interesting to see even the streets.