A mere 60 minutes from Hong Kong on ferry, I found myself on the Island of Macau. Once through the scantily clad casino girls, touts and hawkers – presumably hawking anything that they hope you might buy, it was a quick trip on the shuttle bus to the Royal Hotel. The Royal is a little gem hidden away slightly from the Casino district of Macau – which only made it more appealing to me. Redolent more of past glories, the facade did not peel off to show a rotten core. On the contrary, this hotel lived up to expectations and more! Large rooms with slightly faded colours and a lift with an “impatient” button. If you dared to press the “close door” button on the lift, the doors would generally open and start to close again – an elegant solution to those Chinese and Hong Kong women (generally) that are desperate to get everywhere before the next person. Looking out the room window, there is the Vasco de Gama Garden.
Once settled in, it was time to look around. Senada Square is a short walk away – once there I saw St Dominic’s church, replete with the same colour green as the school! Noticeably, the traffic is less frenetic, the people even more friendly than in Hong Kong. Back to a beautiful meal of Crispy Duck – better than I had in Beijing and at a price that was hard to believe, given that it is a hotel. Service is great without being obsequious – a good start to the stay.
Next day dawned fine and hot! Time for a walking tour of the Island….The ruins of St Paul’s, Chinese library, City Wall, Macau Museum, churches – there is a constant reminder that this is a place with a delicious mélange of China and Portugal. Towards the end of the afternoon, after looking over at a temptingly close Macau Tower, I decided that I did not really want to suffer any more in the heat and instead went back to the cool of the hotel air conditioning.
Buffet breakfast at the hotel ironically cost more than the delicious dinner – and was not nearly as good! today was time to investigate the tourist section on the waterfront which was mostly closed! Time spent at a Casino merely reinforced why I am not an inveterate gambler! I spent most my allotted money learning how it all worked! Still that was an entertainment in itself. At midday one of countless casinos here ….and it was comfortably busy with the owners no doubt making a fine profit out of people’s ignorance and greed. In the afternoon, it was time to walk up to the fortress and light house which is the highest point in Macau.
This is not such a pedestrian friendly place. Pavements occasionally stop without warning and you are left to take your life in your hands to cross roads etc…..still I am writing this a few days later, so I must have survived!
Chinese the first night, Portuguese the second night, it had to be Japanese the third night. Macau is well known for its cuisine. the first place that I have found where Japanese cuisine is not desperately expensive in comparison to other cuisine. This was a fine and well-priced restaurant, which only improved in comparison to one I tried in Hong Kong a couple of days later!
It was with a whiff of regret that I left Macau. Pace of life is slower than in Hong Kong. with its eclectic mixture of European and Asian, this is a city that has a lot fo pace of life in Asia tempered with european elagance.