It's 7:00 when we get up. Fast breakfast and subway (4 HKD each) to Sheung Wan, to catch at the terminal Macau Ferry the Turbojet (134 HKD each) of the 8'15 that will take us to a new territory, after passing the respective customs (no visa is needed either).
There are really more options, but Turbojet is the fastest ... mmm ... for water, since there is also a helicopter.
What a stupid 1 hour we spend. The truth is that it is an inventazo these jets, go full milk and have departures every 15 minutes (except from 00:00 to 7:00 that do it every 30 minutes).
We arrived in Macau. The day has not improved much compared to Hong Kong. Since yesterday afternoon / evening we tried to see something since the Peak Victory in Hong Kong has become "weird" time. It is raining here, so an umbrella of 20 POTATOES each one will come great.
¿PATACAS? Yes! Patacas is the official currency of Macao, although they accept perfectly the HKD in all the sites. Another thing that surprises us is that as soon as we arrive we are bombed 4 or 5 sms from the main casinos of Macao with their offers.
Macau day was already quite thoughtful. It is a day to which I have put a special affection. Finally we have made a route similar to the following:
When it starts to rain harder, the first thing we have done is to take a taxi (30 PATACAS) from the jetty (1), passing by the Guide Lighthouse (2), on top of a hill built by the first Portuguese, Towards the ICON or SYMBOL of Macau, the Ruins of San Paulo (3)
It is raining very hard and we are looking for a place to shelter and have coffee and some cakes (101 PATACAS), a cozy place that the truth has been a success to find it.
He has finally stopped. Now yes, we approach the Ruins of San Paulo (3), that in fact belonged to a Church, the old Church of "Mother of Deus" but was destroyed by a fire in 1835, leaving only the portico, now a symbol of the city.
These ruins, along with the Do Monte Fortress (4) to which we climb, they are a World Heritage Site by Unesco. The views from here are stunning all over Macau.
This fortress was built by the Jesuits in the 17th century and was designed to protect themselves from the attacks of enemies coming from outside the city. There we can still see the different canyons of the time.
But what really surprises us about Macao is not its cultural part, but it is a city that encompasses and it contains three faces, the filthy, the colonial and the casinos.
From here you can see perfectly integrated, such as between lower houses erected real skyscrapers and casinos (among them perfectly the Grand Lisboa). A hard contrast, really.
We will start talking about the filthy. I find it incredible to see how a city with so much history and culture, has collapsed presenting an image of decline in many districts really amazing. Today, if it were not for the arrival of the casinos, this city would have been a true place without interest, because they would have finished with its colonial part.
We go down the streets, and we see that there are stores that are not yet open (they have casino hours). We also check those that have opened that prices are expensive, at the level of Spain or even in some things a little more. It is logical because here comes people with a lot of money to play casinos.
We are also surprised to see that although it was a Portuguese colony, they drive like the British, as in Hong Kong. We keep going down and start watching colonial areas…
... until you reach the Senate Square (8) which for centuries was the administrative center of Macao and where some of the most significant buildings are located
Here you can see the true historical center and the heritage of Portugal in Macau, even with similarities to Lisbon itself. Even with all this, we have barely found almost anyone who speaks Portuguese. Here everyone speaks Chinese and a very small population, of its 500,000 inhabitants, conserves Portuguese. We continue to see the Loyal Senate (7), the Holy House of Mercy or the Church of Santo Domingo (5)
We go down the street Almeida Ribeiro, or here also called Sang Ma Lou, a huge commercial avenue, full of shops. Strolling around we begin to see very curious shops of all kinds. By the way, that strolling is a pleasure, here there are no burdens of Guangzhou or Hong Kong.
But without a doubt, what surprises us most is that of types of food (Some tried 35 POTATOES) that we had not seen before, from the famous Macau egg tarts to a kind of sweets, buns or churros / batons ...
Following between the streets we arrive at one that has made us especially excited, the so-called Rúa da Felicidade (6)
IMAGES: Who does not remember the persecution of the gangsters from the local "Obi Wan" to Indy to the Airport? It's already a classic ...
We continue down to the sea, and here we come to the third change. If we have already gone from seeing the most filthy and neglected area of the city, to the wonder of the colonial streets, right now we change third and go to the most luxurious neighborhoods (jewelry, brand stores, casinos ...). Here is the contrast ...
Before starting the visit to this "third face" of Macau, the stomach call starts ringing, so we decided to ask for a typical site. A friendly villager has indicated a place on Central Street, going up, called Alfonso III, of Portuguese colonial cuisine. Here we go…
!! What a success! After several days asking for Chinese food (the least), Japanese, Italian and everything we could, today we have touched something similar to "Casa Pepa" to the Portuguese, in a small and very local place. We have been delighted with our cooked soups, grilled cod, shrimp skewers and "lamb" leg, accompanied by a good wine (810 POTATOES). We could not have chosen better.
But if Macao is known for something, it is for their casinos, for being "Las Vegas of China", and since 2006 the number 1 place in the world in collection obtained. The very simple reason, less than 5 hours live 3 billion people, while in Las Vegas "just" 400 million.
There are many and hundreds of casinos, more and more, because it is the only place in China where the game is legalized. They are true pharaonic works, especially three, the Grand Lisboa (9), the Sands (C) and the Venetian (D). The first we approached ...
If on the outside it is spectacular, no less are its "halls". But what impresses most is to see hundreds ... or thousands of people playing and playing in their casinos, many of them very young, even seeing losing € 400 in just 5 seconds. There are all kinds of latest generation machines. Of course, PHOTOS THE FAIR.
The time to see the second largest casino in the world has arrived, for this we take another taxi (47.50 PATACAS) and cross the Friendship Bridge, a viaduct of length 800 meters and maximum height ede 30 meters above the sea that connects the Macau peninsula with the taipa island
Really here you can move from the jetty in free casino buses, but since we only have one day, we have decided to optimize the time since taxis are very cheap.
Macao is really made up of 3 islands, being in Taipa and Coloane its International Airport
Taipa is the island of casinos. If Macao already had dozens of them, here we can see real mega constructions side by side. And many who are still older. Let's see the most famous casino in all of Macao, The Venetian (D) and the second largest in the world after The Palazzo in Las Vegas. Almost 1,000,000 m2, 3,000 suites, 3400 game machines, 800 tables, 15,000 seats for entertainment and sporting events ...
Its interiors are wide and it would not be surprising that they had a map to know how to get to the sites. It is divided into four different game areas called Golden Fish, Imperial House, Red Dragon and Phoenix
But what has really impressed us, like its twin in Las Vegas, is to see VENICE inside. Yes, an unbeatable recreation of Venice with the simulated sky inside the building, with gondolas and gondoliers singing in Italian at full speed, canals, bridges and other details, all surrounded by shops of impossible price for our pockets. We have had a coffee and some ice cream (252 PATACAS! Not even in Venice itself!), Yes.
We leave there and a new taxi (50 PATACAS) returning to the island of Macao, stopping at the Macao Tower (10). Today we are not going to do yesterday's. The day is bad, and although we would like to, nothing is going to be seen from above and they have also suspended a "small attraction" that I wanted to do. So after a short walk around the mall, we also go by taxi (30 PATACAS) to the area of Sands Macao (C), where we will not enter.
Where we go is in a kind of shopping center with restaurants and shops called Fisherman's Wharf (B), with replicas of temples, the Coliseum and a beautiful side to the sea
It's time to return to the pier (1) and dare again, this time below in our Turbojet (270 POTATOES each night), the Friendship Bridge Heading to "home", to Hong Kong. Beautiful all lit.
Macao, a city of contrasts, a luxury city where they reach the best Spanish wines, where motorcycles and cars, poverty and the McDonalds intermingle, hundreds of taxis at a frantic pace, shops of true glamor ... and not so much, buses, posters, and power lines. A city that lives with three fused faces and whose 70% wealth comes from casinos ...
Now I write from the Harbourview Hotel (complete analysis of accommodation in THIS ARTICLE) from Hong Kong once arrived by subway (4 HKD each), as always with the bay lit in my window. I would not know how to say the feelings I have of Macao, a city concept as different as my hot vision of it. Maybe I let a few days go by to know what the memories bring me. Family, friends and readers ... !! we are still great !!
Isaac & Family, photo of Macao but already in Hong Kong
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 576 HKD (approx. 51.99 euros) and 2414.50 POTATOES (approx. 217.92 euros)