We arrive at Hong Kong's International airport at noon-ish, ready to jump on a fast ferry for the short journey to Macau, our first day's destination. Oops...the ferry service is located PRIOR to immigration. We discover this after passing through immigration and stopping off at the first information desk we can find.
And so we have our first glitch of the trip. They won't let us walk the 200 meters back to the ferry station since we have passed through immigration. Instead, we have to take the 30-minute train ride to Hong Kong, walk to the ferry terminal there, and catch the 1-hour long ferry ride back to Macau.
Hrmph. I planned to go to Macau first because it's closer to the new Hong Kong airport than HK is itself. So much for careful planning, huh? Note to the Lonely Planet: mention of this in your book might have been nice. We've included a "back-up" travel guide for this trip as well, the Timeout Guide to Hong Kong. It fares no better in relaying this key fact.
So we end up getting into Macau around 3 p.m. It's sunny and HOT. Mel takes a quick pic of the first rickshaw she sees, and we're off in the shuttle bus to our hotel, the Beverly Plaza.
We booked online...always a concern when different languages, currencies, and hotel standards exist. The hotel is surprisingly nice, if a bit run-down. While Bill and I try to stay out of trouble, Mel and Sarah try to get recommendations for a "Macanese" restaurant for lunch. They receive numerous quizzical looks - apparently the Macanese don't consider themselves to HAVE such a cuisine. We get directions to a good Portuguese place instead and jump into a cab for the short trip downtown. The sight of a female cabbie is unsettling to all of us...you just don't see that in Korea.
We decide to save the debate over what is and what isn't Macanese cuisine for later and enjoy. A little sangria? Well certainly! Thank you!
After lunch, we make our way through the narrow streets, bound for Senate Square - start point for a recommended walking tour in the Lonely Planet.
Once I get myself oriented (using my never-quite-calibrated watch compass) we're off and marching.
From Senate Square, we eventually wind our way up to the Monte Fort overlooking the city. Built in the 1600s by Portuguese colonists, the fort offers a commanding view of the city and its surroundings. Today, its lone defender is a dog sprawled out at the main entrance.
We spend some time wandering the fort's grounds and taking pictures of the city as the sun begins to set.
The ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral are only a short walk away from the fort. We manage to get there shortly before the sun sets. While we tour and photograph, a group of Macanese school girls strike up a conversation with us - an assignment from their English teacher. I THINK they understand what I tell them...
As the sun sets and our self-guided (occasionally MISguided...but we won't dwell on that) tour continues, we gradually twist our way through the downtown area, coming out once again at Senate Square, now beautifully illuminated.
After numerous reviews of the Lonely Planet, the Timeout Guide, and every bus sign we come across, I have scientifically determined which bus we need to take in order to reach Fernando's at Hac Sa Beach on Coloane Island. The Timeout Guide tells us this is "Portuguese dining at its best."
Somehow we manage to hop the correct bus, figure out how much change is required, and emerge within 50 meters of Fernando's about 30 minutes later. We celebrate this accomplishment with Portuguese beer while awaiting a table.
The place is crawling with expats. American English and German seem to be the two most widely spoken languages we hear before being ushered to our table. The food lives up to its billing in the Guide. It's cheap and delicious. According to our best estimation, we manage to get a photo with Fernando himself. That or the janitor. Whatever. At least he speaks Portuguese, right?
Finding the bus for our return trip is much simpler...there's only one running and it's goin' our way. We hop on and get dropped off a short walk from our hotel. It's nearly 11:30 p.m. and, being lightweights, we decide to wrap it up. We'll be leaving early tomorrow morning for the ferry ride back over to Hong Kong.
We wisely decide to skip the Crazy Paris Show.
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