|Chinese sausages in Macau|
Today we left the “luxury” of the Wang Fat hostel and headed over to Macau. The MTR took us down to the ferry terminal and we were just in time to make the eleven thirty crossing. The ferry is a Sea Cat and was very unsteady as we were getting on board, making it difficult to shed our packs before taking our seats.
We had been given the last two seats on the top deck so we had good views… or would have had it been clear weather. The foggy weather that surrounds Hong Kong followed us out and all the way to Macau which we reached in about an hour. Here we collected another entry stamp for our passports and as with Hong Kong I can stay here longer than Stef if I want to. We went in search of a hotel, and were strongly guided to the East Asia. It is in Lonely Planet so we decided it could not be totally horrific and booked in for two nights.
The directions for getting there were to take the number three bus and get off at the point the lady circled on the map. Not much help when you are not familiar with the town. Needless to say we realised we had gone past our stop, had much struggling to get our bags off a very packed bus and then started to get our bearings. We were actually not too far away but as sod’s law dictates we started to walk the wrong way.
Being by the docks neither of us felt we were in the nicest part of town and we quickly sussed we had gone wrong. Another hop on a bus took us back in the right direction and before long we found the hotel, tucked away up a side street. Our first impressions from the outside were not great but we have a large room on the eighth floor with great views out over Macau.
The last few days of pretty busy wandering around in Hong Kong, and walking about today for quite a while with our full packs on, had taken its toll and our tempers were fraying slightly. We had a breather for a while and then headed out to start to explore Macau, quickly having our first impression of a dirty, seedy place put into perspective.
We did not go far, having decided to have an easy day today and then sight see in full again tomorrow. First stop was to check information on buses up into China. The bus company is fortunately just down the road from the hotel and with a little gesticulating we managed to find out when the buses go and how much it costs.
From here we wandered down the Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro and to the main square, Largo do Senado. Back in bus travel mode we checked the information we had just been given at the Tourist Information office and I was glad we had. We have to get off one bus at the border, go through immigration and then walk through a shopping centre to get a different bus to take us to our destination. We are really now getting into territory where English will not be spoken and communication is going to be a big challenge.
We stopped for a drink and a bite of lunch and then ambled about for a little while in search of a supermarket. It is great going into them in different countries and here again familiar brand names were to be seen. We found everything we needed (washing powder, water and a notebook – not the most interesting shop I have ever done!) and started to make our way back to our hotel.
There is a fascinating array of shops here and only a few global chains in evidence. Starbucks has just opened up a branch (there are loads in Hong Kong) and we passed two McDonalds which were in sight of each other. Mostly it is the same mad mix of clothes, jewellery, electrical goods and pharmacies that we saw in Hong Kong. Roadside food stalls sell sheets of beef and pork that have been marinated in honey and then barbecued. It is snack food and we got a free taster at one of them – delicious, but we are dubious about how long it has probably been sitting there between being cooked and being eaten.
One shop had a fantastic array of sausages hanging from the ceiling and all sorts of different fowl hanging on racks around the shop. They looked like they had been cut in half, de-boned and flattened and then either boiled, smoked or barbecued. Stef got some great photos, moving away just as the owner started to get shirty with him.
We chilled out for a while in our room and then headed out to find somewhere to eat. As an ex Portuguese colony we were expecting quite a diverse culinary mix, although the bacalao (salt cod) fishcakes we had when we stopped for a drink were a bit disappointing. We gave another Portuguese place a try, this time a tiny little “greasy spoon” style café on the Travessa da Sao Domingos.
It was run by a big chubby Portuguese chap and what looked like a Macanese (mix of Macau and Portuguese) relative. Filipino girls seemed to be doing the work in the kitchen. A father and son, who we again thought were part of the family, were also in for a meal. We had mixed views on the food – Stef = good, Me = not so good – but it was relatively cheap and a quick in and out.