Day 4 – Hong Kong/Macau
After a tiring day yesterday, today we woke up early to catch the earliest ferry to Macau. We left the hostel at 7.15 am only to find ourselves lost trying to find Canton Road, where China Hong Kong City Building is situated. We walked from one end to the other and due to blistered feet, I was a little bit whiney. (A little bit only ok!)
When we reached China Hong Kong City Building, where we supposed to go to get our ferry tickets to Macau, tickets were sold out for the earlier trips. The First Ferry goes to Macau every half hourly. We settled for the next available trip at 10.30 am. It costs HKD277 for a return ticket. Probably, it is advisable to pick the tickets a day or two earlier before departure time to avoid such blunder.
Since we had more than two hours to kill, we sat at the café and ordered breakfast. We were disappointed that we didn’t get to Macau to have authentic Macau breakfast of Portuguese egg tarts.
It’s a miracle how Hongkis could eat so much and never seem to get fat. I saw a girl ordering a plate of fried meehoon and a bowl of congee. She washed it down with milk tea and yet, she is as thin as a stick insect. Okay, I am exaggerating. She still looks good. I find Hongki can really eat a lot without getting fat. I am so damn jealous.
We slept throughout the entire journey to Macau. It was an hour journey to Macau. The moment we got off the boat, we were greeted by the chilly air. It was freezing cold!
The immigration counter at Macau was packed to the brim. We quickly hustled ourselves at a lane. 10 minutes later, another swamp of people came. Most of them are elderly people who came in tour groups as you could see them in their yellow hats or purple sweaters, depending on which travel agency they were with. There were arguments everywhere as some people were cutting queues. I began to see the ugly side of people who were impatient to get to Macau and wondered what the fuss is all about? Then I realized – the Casino! There were so many gambling kakis. You could tell from their faces – lan tou kwais! Hahahaha.
We waited almost 45 minutes to get our passports stamped, partly due to the immigration officer who took his own sweet time. He didn’t have any expression on his face other than being utterly bored and somewhat disgusted.
Mdm Katak lost her immigration card but she was lucky enough that the immigration officer didn’t even bother to ask for it when she left the Hong Kong immigration counter. Or else, I think we would have left her there and then for her lack of common sense.
When we got out from the immigration, it was close to 12.30 pm. We wasted too much time at the immigration counter. There were hordes of people haggling to ask if we would like to hire them to take us around Macau. We politely turned them down and headed towards the bus stop. We were advised by the information counter to start our visit at A-Ma Temple. We took a bus no. 10 to A-Ma Temple and it costs only HKD2.50 per person. The bus driver was an unsmiling person but he answered every question we threw to him politely. A passenger even joined us in our conversation when we saw people carting away big bags of goods from a major sale at a local shopping mall. They had a year end sale and quilt covers came cheaper by at least MOP400.
There was nothing much to look at A-Ma Temple but it was said to be the starting point of trade which made Macau the most hustling and bustling harbor in the yesteryears. We took pictures quickly and started our walk.
We came across Pastelaria Koi Kei – the famous pastry shop in Macau and started to splurge. One Portuguese egg tart cost MOP6 (RM3)!!!! So bloody expensive. It was good. But I find the Portuguese egg tarts in Malaysia from King’s Bakery are equally tasty and they cost only RM1.20 each.
We did another blunder. We bought the pastries and biscuits way too early and forgotten that we still have 3 more hours to walk about. It was so silly of us not to know there were many other Pastelaria Koi Kei on the way to St Paul’s ruins. We could have bought it there and didn’t have to carry the big bag all over Macau, snapping pictures with one hand. Unless you hire a tour guide van, I think you shouldn’t purchase anything till you leave Macau.
I thought we still have time till 5.30 pm but was shocked that Ms Sure Win bought the 5.30 pm ferry back to Hong Kong. It was too late to complain anyway. My mistakes for not communicating clearly. We tried our best to make the most of the 3 hours we had left.
It drizzled when we walked past the Moorish Barracks towards St. Joseph’s Seminary and Church. Rule no. 4 – always bring an umbrella or raincoat! I always bring umbrella for trips but this time, I totally forgotten about it.
We decided to have lunch at a small eatery near the church. We didn’t get to sample many things and only ate the beef noodles and the pork chop bun. The beef noodles’ potato was delicious, so was the pork chop bun which I failed to take picture because it was gobbled up the moment it reached the table.
The rain amicably stopped by the time we finished our lunch and we headed on to the La Senado Square. I love it here! There were so many people even if it was a Wednesday. Most of them are foreigners and it’s impossible to take pictures without people in it. Since we did not have much time left, I made sure we go to the St Paul’s Ruins or else, we would not have been to Macau at all.
When we were at the Senado Square, our chronic shopaholic Mdm Katak disappeared into the watch shop and never resurfaced. Both myself and Ms Sure Win were just standing in front of the watch shop chatting while waiting for Mdm Katak to do her window shopping or what-not. It was indeed frustrating that we were already running out of time and she still went window shopping.
We waited for about 20 minutes and decided to walk around Senado Square to scout for her. She didn’t appear till another 10 minutes later and she said she went to the other side to look for us.
I refrained myself from rolling my eyes in disgust and wanted to offer her my spectacles since she couldn’t even spot me – probably the biggest sized person in Senado Square at that point of time. We were standing right in front of the shop and she could somehow manage to slip past us.
Rule No. 5 – Remember to bring a leash if you have a chronic shopaholic among the group.
We were looking for ways to get to St Paul’s Ruins without realizing that it was just a few minutes walk away from where we stood. The map made it look as if it was such a bloody big place. We went to hail the bus and was told, St Paul’s ruins is just behind Senado Square! Geez! How embarrassing!
When I think back now, I find it’s quite ridiculous of Mdm Katak for not informing us that the structure was there where she claimed she went loitering looking for us. Memang katak! I think she didn’t even know that St Paul’s ruins is the major landmark to identify Macau and she just walked past it without noticing.
Rule No. 6 – please do some homework before traveling. It doesn’t pay to go with the flow at times.
To benefit those who are traveling to Macau soon, this is the order as recommended by Macau Map is as follows:-
A-Ma Temple – Moorish Barracks – Lilau Square – Mandarin’s House – St. Lawrence’s Church – St. Joseph’s Seminary and Church – St. Augustine’s Square – Dom Pedro V Theatre – Sir Robert Ho Tung Library – St.Augustine’s Church – “Leal Senado” Building – Senado Square – Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple – Holy House of Mercy – Cathedral – Lou Kau Mansion – St. Dominic’s Church – Ruins of St Paul’s – Na Cha Temple – Section of the Old City Walls – Mount Fortress – St. Anthony’s Church – Casa Garden – Protestant Cemetery – Guia Fortress
I have made a decision to visit Macau again in near future as we didn’t quite get to explore the entire place. I am charmed by the old rustic buildings in Macau and the perfect blend of cultures from East and West. It would be a good place to take good pictures.. if only I could have more time.
We rushed back to the ferry and went back to Hong Kong. To ease the pain of our sore feet, we went to Sweet Dynasty along Canton Road for their supposedly famous tong sui. The mango pudding or the mango tofu, which I couldn’t recall reading about it anywhere. Ms Sure Win said this place is a good place for the famous dessert as recommended by the internet. We were utterly disappointed.
The dim sum were worse. They were so hard that I think if you fed them to the dogs, they might get choked. Looking at other people’s tables, we were curious that everyone ordered their supposedly famous fried rice.
I have only one word to describe the fried rice: salty. I should have practise my limited Japanese with the Japanese couple sitting next to us whether the fried rice is any good. And to make the matter worse, one plate costs HKD66!!
I couldn’t help noticing a guy sitting across me. He looked like V in V for Vendetta even without the mask. He refused to eat anything when his dinner companions asked him to order. He just look at them eating and didn’t have anything for himself. Now I understand why.
I made a request to drop by Temple Street or the Goldfish Street to see the market set up but the girls were reluctant. Mdm Katak was more interested to go to Ladies’ Market to shop till she drop and I wanted to experience the night life at Temple Street – I heard of the sidewalk opera singers and fortune tellers.
We ended up going to Temple Street (nobody dares to mess with me!) and didn’t somehow managed to spot the opera singers. We only saw one fortune teller guy having brisk business.
The Temple Street traders are like the gangster triad. They don’t give a damn about you and they were utterly rude and ridiculous. Ms Sure Win wanted to get some shirts as she didn’t pack many clothes and expected to make some purchase. The attitude of the traders is an utter turn-off. We ended up buying some shirts from one elderly gentleman who was polite enough. We didn’t even bargain as we believe we should give business to people who genuinely wanted to do business and at least courteous.
We scrapped the plan to go to Goldfish market and went back to the hostel. It was a very tiring day – traveling via train, ferry, buses and cabs, the waiting at the immigration counter, filling in immigration cards for umpteenth times till we could remember our passport numbers and carrying the bags of pastries all over Macau and Hong Kong.
The girls hesitated on the idea on whether or not to go to Lantau Island tomorrow. I didn’t insist since I barely had any strength left to walk that much anymore. I think most of all, I didn’t want to encounter another episode of unwarranted rudeness from the locals again. Most of the locals are reluctant to explain to you the way and some don’t even look at you when you place orders at the restaurants or the stalls.
The girls already started to miss Shenzhen for its cheap food, great hospitality and good place to stay. And I miss home.