Saturday, February 14, 2009

Macau: Part Two of Day 2 (Feb. 6, 2009)

Mr Lee (our tour guide from Win's travel) said farewell to us as he dropped us off at the ferry terminal after our half day Hongkong city tour.

Our next itinerary was a 2pm ferry ride (one way) to Macau inclusive of a short city tour. We had time for a quick lunch at the food court which is brimming with restaurants which serve different cuisine. Then we 'checked in' at the First Ferry counter, went through Hongkong immigration, painlessly. Then we walked to berth # 13 to board the 2pm ferry. The ferry ride is about 2 hours on the high seas. You are given a specific seat number but since it is not full, you can transfer to another seat once the ride begins. I took this opportunity to close my eyes and tried to sleep a bit.

Once the ferry starts its slow approach to Macau, you are greeted with a fantastic view of several majestic cable laden bridges which connect the Macau peninsula to the northwest coast of Taipa. It was a sight to behold - those suspension bridges were really magnificent! I was a bit drowsy from my nap that I forgot to take pictures besides the ferry was still moving so the pictures might be out of focus.

Anyways, our tour guide Roger met us at the terminal as we embarked on a complimentary city tour of Macau. The thing is when we bought our HongKong tour package, the local travel agency told us they have included a free half day Macau city tour. Since it is "free", we couldn't alter the itinerary in the city tour. So we just went along with the flow, so to speak.

The first stop was located on the outer harbor, this statue, dedicated to Goddess of Kun Iam (Goddess of Mercy) is 20 meters tall and made of special bronze. Then we passed by a local confectionery store which sells Macau famous pasalubong items - almond cookies of all shapes and sizes. I really don't have much patience for "store visits", so I stepped out to take some pictures of Macau from where we were located. But as I write this post I am currently munching on some mini size almond cookies which my mother bought for me. Yum.

This is the Macau Convention Center:

Here's a picture of a parking meter (something I haven't seen in a long time since there aren't any in the Philippines) notice the terms written in both the Chinese dialect as well as the Portuguese language, given that you all know that Macau used to be a colony of Portugal.

Here I noticed the huge disparity in the skyline. The contrast between an old almost decrepit residential building vis a vis a major hotel chain luring unsuspecting tourists to their luxurious suites and mostly a haven for gambling addicts to spend their time and hard earned money in the casinos.

The next stop was the famous Macau Tower. Original plan was to simply pass by it but we were willing to pay for the entrance fee (HKD 85/pax) so we could go to the viewing deck located on the 58th and 61st floor respectively.

From up there you are afforded a breathtaking view of the whole Macau peninsula, the Taipa coast and beyond. The Macau tower also offers for the adventurous at heart, several adrenaline pumping activities (for an exorbitant fee, of course!) like bungee jumping, sky walking and sky jumping! Good luck to all those thrill seekers. When we were there, there was a young guy who leaped his pants off, he chose to sky jump instead of bungee jump! We encountered him on his way back up and he was as pale as the moon, probably thinking how he was going to pay for the fee!

This is the wonderfully designed facade of the Grand Lisboa Hotel, Macau. Beautiful architecture!

I didn't know I actually had a fear of heights until I tried to look all the way down from the transparent glass area of the tower and felt dizzy! So these pictures were taken by my much more daring and adventurous sister who wanted to sky walk around the tower held only by a harness which enables you to circle around the outside walkway. Geeez. what a brave soul!

Ladies and gentlemen that seemingly barren landlocked terrain is already mainland China, specifically the town of Zhuhai. According to Roger (our tour guide), it only takes about 10 minutes to walk to this border town from Macau. Fancy that! It was my first time to have a glimpse of the sleeping giant China which I reckon isn't so sleepy anymore!

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