I believe that some TVB series seriously damaged the reputation of Macau by constantly having its viewers believe that this ex-Portuguese enclave is the place where Hongkies go and gamble at one of the many casinos of Macau, lose so much money that the protagonists are scared to go home to face the consequences (or become the target of loan sharks), or was so engrossed in winning money that the TV characters lost track of time and eventually missed the last ferry back to home sweet Hong Kong.
But if you pay a visit to this lovely place once, you’d want to come back – for the food, the lovely views and the glittering casinos, of course.
I won’t be drawn into comparing Las Vegas and to deliberate derisory statements like ‘Macau is the Las Vegas of the East’ or ‘Las Vegas is the Macau of the West’. As far as I know, this tiny enclave at one of the many southern tips of Mainland China has dreamt big and have acted accordingly as well.
The impressive Hotel Lisboa taking a peek from a distance.
St. Dominic’s Church.
We were obviously looking for the St. Paul’s Ruins.
Koi Kei Confectionary outlets leading the way to the Ruins. Competition law in Macau isn’t in place yet, so we may see monopolies like these ruling the roost for years. The next is famed jewelers, ‘Chow Tai Fook’.
In a taxi on the way to Senado Square, we saw no less than seven (7) branches all over the routes leading there. In one street alone, we counted five outlets in one golden chain. Five! Why does one company need five shops selling more or less the same things in a tight vicinity?? The mind continues to reel at what Macau has to offer.
Remember to buy these Portuguese egg tarts early. These pastries are very popular and will be sold out fairly early.
(These pics were taken back at the hotel. The egg tarts still taste good despite not being consumed immediately after purchase)
Ok, we’re almost there…
That’s it – that’s it! I managed to capture the entire frame!
The Ruins from the side profile.
To the right is Fortaleza do Monte (Mount Fortress)
Sunset from the top of the Fortaleza…
The entrance to the Fort…
Wow, the fortress was ‘only’ demilitarized in 1976. In the age of modern warfare, the fortress is probably only a fickle idea of militarism, not one of practicality.
This is another ‘If that guy is not sitting there, this would be a great pic’ moment. Ah well…
A small map of the fort and surrounding areas. Don’t get it why Portuguese town planning is so weird. Just look at the Malacca map of old.
At the top of Mount Hill at last…
Grand Lisboa is owned by Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, SA – you’d be better off remembering that Macau gambling mogul Stanley Ho founded the company.
This is the Museum of Macau. It was upon closing time when we decided to take a peek at its exterior.
While we were not allowed into the exhibition area, we were permitted to take the escalators down to the base of the hill, which is cool because we don’t need to walk all the way down using the fort’s primitive staircases.
Here are some external exhibits which are on display…
St. Dominic’s Church at night.
One more longing look at the square…
How to get there: Take a cab to Senado Square. Macau doesn’t have the ease which the HK MTR affords, so most of the travelling is either by cab or by the hotel shuttle vans/buses.
Macau cab drivers are also quite rude, so be prepared to swallow your pride if you could look beyond their petty remarks. They also tend to return your cab fare in Macao Pataca (MOP) which sucks because the HK dollar is worth slightly more (troublesome when you return to HK and want to convert the cash back), and also because most Macau casino slot machines only accept HKD. Therefore, try to exchange your MOP with HKD at casino cashiers, who usually have no problem accepting such conversion.
Come to the Senado Square for the historical culture and for the delicacies to take home for your family and friends. There are also breathtaking views of the city – we watched the sunset from the fortress itself. The place itself is also clean and well-maintained – there are also public toilets within convenient walking distance from the main tourist attractions.