Day 8 – Hong Kong and Macau

Woke up and spent a while trying to decide what to do with the day. It was a decision between Macau, Hiking in the New Territories, or Lamma Island. I decided on Macau, I think mostly because it was another country, and also I’ve done lots of hiking before.

After another large breakfast, I went out to the ferry pier, bought a ticket, got on the boat, and we headed out. Nothing remarkable to note. Read some and listened to music on the way. Got to Macau, and had to go through customs. That was a bit odd, and actually took a long time because there was a huge line. Once I got on land, it seemed there was no easy way to get into the city by walking. I suppose it was assumed that you would take a cab or a bus. But finally found a path, and headed off.

After walking for a long while, I was really doubting the amazingness of Macau. In fact, this place was really dirty and pathetic. It reminded me a bit of Reno and Detroit. Buildings that didn’t look cleaned in years. Also got a little lost and didn’t quite know where to go. There were sidewalks that just ended in the middle of nowhere, so I had to backtrack. Also found some small little park with dead fish in it’s fountains. Should have taken a picture of that. Eventually I started seeing all this Portuguese architecture that people were talking about, and once I found the main road and followed it to the main square, I finally saw what people were talking about. Yes, it was a very Portuguese themed road, but it was just a small little section of a large dirty city.

Walked along the main touristy area, and picked up 6 of those pasteis that were so popular for being from the area. That was good, and I continued on. Finally got to the Ruins of Paul’s Cathedral, which was a tourist mecca with everyone taking pictures like crazy. Tons of people, which was a bit annoying. I walked around it, and then headed to a nearby park which led up to the remains of a fort. There were hardly any tourists here, which was odd.

As a couch surfer explained to me later, the Chinese tourists always love to go to a place that is safe and people have gone there before, but will make no effort to go off the beaten track. They’re almost afraid of nature, and it’s unpredictable element. They like clean, straight forward tourist attractions. It’s the same thing I encountered at the Po Lin Monastery.

Anyhow, walked around the fort, which was sort of a museum. It was strange that there were all these viewing stations with telescopes, but the only thing you could really see were the hundreds of slums pasted over Macau’s cityscape. Not really something to look at.

There was also this cool room that was one of those pinhole cameras. When you walked into it, at first everyone was pitch dark, but as your eyes adjusted you could kind of make out the small inverse image of the outside world against the wall.

Left the area, and hiked all the way back to the ferry, stopping for instructions once I felt that I had gotten lost enough. Walked into the back foyer of a casino, but decided they probably wouldn’t have an easy path to get to the front entrance. Kind of reminded me of the poorly designed buildings I once walked around in Second Life. Like someone threw a ton of money at someone who had never designed interiors, and voila, Casino.

Forgot that Vivian’s family owned a place there, and I wish I had remembered.

Got back to the ferry. Took it back. No problems with customs. Then called up Kate to figure out where she was meeting this other couch surfer guy to get dinner. I only partially understood her directions, but I got the station. Went there, and 5 minutes past when we were supposed to meet I started walking around the station and luckily found her. We then found the guy just a bit later. His name was something like Chris, and he was from Amsterdam. He was starting a gallery there and was finding photographers in China to put into his gallery.

Walked around the night markets a bit, and got some food at a small restaurant Kate and her friends always went to. Had a few things that looked good, and they were except for the the soft boned fish. The bones were not that edible, and actually one got stuck at the back of my throat. Had to drink it down. Then we went to some bar on the 6th floor of some apartment. Very obscure, but they had a great 6 beer bucket deal, so we played some drinking games involving dice and drank. After finishing off those six, Kate was fairly drunk, and because I had to get up for the airport in the morning we decided to call it a night. Said goodbye to Chris.

I managed to wake up Kate by playing some card games with her, and we made it back and slept pretty much immediately.

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