Last Saturday we took our Zhuhai interns to the exciting city that is Macau. Being at such close distance – the border is just next to downtown Zhuhai – we can go pretty much any day or time we want (if we have multiple-entry visas), but it’s always more fun when you have a big group and lots of attitude!
Instead of walking across the border, we decided to take the ferry early in the morning, because it is faster to get through and we wanted to make the most of our day. After landing on the other side of the bay, we walked to downtown Macau and up to Senado Square. Macau is a great mix of Cantonese and Portuguese culture, so just walking around and looking at the colonial architecture is extremely interesting.
From there we walked through the alleys around the square, past shops selling typical Macau food like cured sausages and almond cookies. The best part is that every shop gives you free samples, so we were able to calm down our hunger before we went off to lunch.
We then arrived at the Ruins of St. Paul, one of Macau’s most famous landmarks and a very exciting sight for us who come from Catholic cultures, since it is very odd to see a huge cathedral facade in the middle of an Asian town. The fort with all the cannons facing the casinos was also very cool to see!
After checking out the sights in the city centre, we decided it was time for lunch and took taxis to the casino side of Macau. We arrived first at the Galaxy, where we had lunch at the food court. From there we walked to the Venetian, by far the most lavish and extravagant of the casinos.
The boys, of course, wanted to try out their luck so we went inside the gambling area and sat at the electronic roulette. Dina and I – the Intern China interns and the only two girls in the group – are not really into gambling so after a while we got bored and decided to check out the shops around the canal on the second floor. If it’s your first time at the Venetian, you might get a bit disoriented when you realise the sky is actually a ceiling and the great Venetian canal (with gondolas and all) is all a big replica.
As with all games of luck, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, and this time the boys had to go home with a few hundred RMB less than they came with. But no one can take away the fun they had betting it all away!
We ended the night on a great note at a small, cozy Portuguese restaurant where we ate a delicious grilled chicken, French fries and salad. Some of us took a chance with the lime-juice-and-chilli sauce: it was spicy, but greatly refreshing after a long day of walking! Then of course, some well-deserved beers and sangrias and soon it was time to cross the border and arrive back home in Zhuhai.
So, despite my “Crocodile Park” blog post saying that I was heading off to Macao this past weekend, I ended up going to 桂山岛 – Guishan Island, or “Turtle Island” with some friends. The island is home to (I am guessing here…) 500 or so people. It definitely has a small island/fishing village vibe to it. The beach was OK – it was no Sanya but it was definitely better than what’s here in Zhuhai! The beach on Saturday was bumping but Sunday we were the only ones there! A thunderstorm was rolling in late afternoon on Saturday but luckily the local police gave us a ride back to our hotel from the beach right before the storm hit! Now that’s rendering service to the public!! ☺
Saturday night was filled with delicious, fresh seafood – the best shrimp that I’ve ever had the pleasure to sink my teeth into along with some mildly inebriated karaoke. Although a Japanese import, Chinese girls have an insatiable hunger for karaoke that leaves you drunk and with ringing ears come last call.
Sunday we woke up, had breakfast, bought some random foodstuffs at the local general store and headed over to the beach. I lost my goggles. ‘Twas beyond heartbreaking.
At about 16.30 we had to depart from the illustrious Turtle Island and head back to Zhuhai.
Looking for cheap flights to go somewhere next weekend so expect something good come next Monday!
We all took buses from our host families and then met to ride the ferry out to Huangdao island not knowing that later the wind would pick up and we wouldn’t be able to get back. Funny story… We went to the beach and it was warm all day… and then the night hit and they shut down the ferry boat and we all had to ride a big bus home which they made us switch over to a different one and we waited one hour before we could leave because they wanted to fill the bus… It cost us 30 Yuan each… Great time all around anyways because we have such a fun group of people.