Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Afterthoughts of Macau Holiday Trip with The Changed Man (Day 2 of 3)

Day 2/Dim Sum Breakfast/Macau Island/0900hrs

It was a really cold morning and our stomachs were grumbling for a nice hot breakfast. Not knowing which shops were opened for business, we donned on our jackets and started searching the streets of Macau until we found a corner-sited Chinese restaurant selling dim sum. We ordered meatball porridge, shrimp dumplings, some roasted pork buns and washed them down with hot Chinese tea. Satisfied, we pored through the tourist map, deciding that day to be spent visiting the various world heritage sites on Macau Island.

Day 2/Visiting World Heritage Sites/Macau Island/1000hrs

We started by heading towards the famous A-Ma Temple at the south-western tip of Macau Island and as we walked through streets of Macau Island, I could not help but be amazed by how narrow the pedestrian walkways were and how the residential houses reminded me of Hongkong. They were really tightly-packed, a tad dirty and gloomy but all of these were muted by the shivering cold in the morning. We passed by only a handful of locals and odd backpacking tourists before we arrived at the already crowded A-Ma Temple - so that was where they gathered in the morning.

Both the Changed Man and myself bought huge incense sticks and began praying at the main temple hall (there were quite a few small temples including a huge Tai-Yi stone at the top of the small knoll). There was also a bronze cauldron for people to try and rub their hands on until the cauldron vibrates but we were interested in pressing on as there were at least another ten more sites to visit.

Subsequently, we visited the Lilau Square, the Mandarin's House, St Lawrence Church, and stopped at St Joseph's Church. The latter was worth a more detailed mention here because it was such a beautiful Portuguese church, with every nook and corner filled with something divine and related to Christianity. The whole place was imbued with a solemn and stately feel that one cannot help but keep one's volume down to really enjoy the visit there.

We then moved on to visit the signature Senado Square, Ruins of St Paul's, Mount Fortress and of course, the Macau Museum at the summit of Mount Fortress. The Museum was very well-decorated with relics from both Portuguese and Chinese heritage, which showed the fusion of the two cultures on Macau itself. I loved the display formats within the museum as they had very clear and different ways to present actual artifacts or even replicas with minimal barriers so one can get really close to the artifacts.

Day 2/Buying Local Goodies To Bring Back Home/Macau Island/1200hrs

The Changed Man dragged me into this store Koi Kei Bakery to buy some of the local goodies to bring back which includes black sesame biscuits, almond cookies and egg rolls. Not wanting to miss out since I like to eat, I bought as much as I could carry before we headed back to Metropole Hotel to unload and take a small break from all the walking up and down the slopes, nooks and corners for the entire morning.

Day 2/More Casino Visiting/Macau Island/1500hrs

The Changed Man fell asleep again and not wishing to wake him up, I took the liberty to watch more television until he managed to rouse himself up again. The poor sod was overworking and the trip was more like some form of escape from the drudgery. Feeling hungry again, we hunted down the elusive Portuguese egg tart store (which I could not remember the name..haha) and shoved down some egg tarts before proceeding to visit more casinos - Casino Wynn and Casino MGM Grand. I remember Casino Wynn better because we managed to catch a mechanized performance of some golden tree and a beautiful rooftop that opened up to reveal a gigantic chandelier. A lot of the gamblers were throwing money onto the tree, hoping to get some good luck for their gambling later on. Casino or not, I like places that offer a twist for the people milling within because they add that kind of excitement and anticipation which is seriously lacking in Singapore's shopping malls.

Day 2/Dinner at Portuguese Restaurant/Macau Island/1900hrs

The Changed Man wanted to watch some soccer match at any pub he could find in Macau so we went to look around but after more than one hour, we still could not find any working pubs. We settled down for a nice dinner at some Portuguese restaurant located at the south-western tip of Macau Island with red wine and a five-course dinner. I remembered I had some appetizer vegetables, soup, some really interesting sardines, steak and desserts with some odd nut powder I could not recognize. It was one slow dinner but we were more than happy to be out of the way of the coldness.

Day 2/Soccer Pub Hunting/Macau Island/2200hrs
Rejuvenated by the food, we kept on asking passers-by until we managed to find a small stretch of soccer pubs on the far side of that section of shops near Avenida de Sagres. Most of the pubs were quite poorly decorated and the only one which seemed decent enough with a proper screen and live singing performances was that place called Moonwalker. On hindsight, Singapore has a much better pub culture - more variety, better pubs and crowds. We ordered some gin volka and chicken wings and watched the match before Manchester United and Wolves but the Changed Man was actually trying to find the Arsenal match. By around 0100hrs, we were heading back to Metropole Hotel again for the closure of the day.

(Stay tuned for the third and final blog post on Day 3 of the Holiday Trip to Macau)

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