With Macau being so close to us and wanting to see some cool Portuguese architecture, N and I took the ferry there one afternoon. It would’ve been morning, but we didn’t realize just how popular this route is, and all ferries for the next few hours were booked solid. Except in Super Class, which ended up being double the price ($40 per person). While this might not be very much if we were employed, we aren’t and we try our best to stick to our daily budget of $100. But we didn’t want to wait for the next Economy Class seat at 1:30pm so we sucked it up and bought one-way tickets.
The trip ended up being a slightly rocky 45 minutes long, so we willed ourselves to sleep to avoid getting nauseous from the motion of the ocean.
Immigration wasn’t as bad as we thought and took only 15 minutes (compared to the one hour we had read about) to get to the front, where an uninterested immigration official barely looked at our passports and gave us a slip of paper in lieu of a stamp (this also happens in Hong Kong, which can be problematic because it is very easy to lose the tiny slip of paper).
We took a bus to Senado Square and were disappointed to find out that it’s like Times Square in New York, complete with tourist traps selling everything Mainland Chinese tourists would want. Like imported beauty products and powdered baby formula (as with many other consumables, the Chinese don’t trust their own baby formula and they shouldn’t).
We were swept along in a sea of noise to St. Paul’s Church, or at least the one facade that remains of it.
We eventually found ourselves at the Fortaleza do Monte next to St. Paul’s which overlooks the city.
We were getting hungry by then so we walked to a small restaurant called Riquexo, which serves Macanese food. It was just alright. The grilled sardines were fresh and tasty, but the feijoada (bean stew with pork innards) was just OK. Not somewhere we would go out of our way for.
It was getting late and we wanted to check out the casinos before we left. We took the free shuttle bus from the ferry station to the Venetian. Macau is now the most popular destination for gamblers in Asia, and we know how much the Chinese love to gamble. I felt like I was back in Vegas or A.C., where tour buses unloaded hordes of Chinese from Chinatown. But with China being so close, the Macau casinos cater to them, with tons of Baccarat tables and one Craps table in the whole of the Venetian. One very unlucky and unplayable Craps table.
So we wandered out of the casino and to Lord Stow, a famous Portuguese egg tart place with a store in the Venetian mall. A Portuguese style egg tart has a buttery, flaky crust and a burnt top compared to the Hong Kong style one, and it is so much better. We savored a nice warm one before heading to the ferry for home.
All in all, I didn’t think the day trip was worth the time and money. There are too few sights to visit and it is extremely crowded. If we were going with friends to spend a weekend sightseeing and gambling, then maybe. If we wanted to spend a lot of time with flashy Mainlanders throwing their money around, then definitely. I do have to admit that the egg tarts were kind of worth it.
* Our friend Peggy hails from Macau and says the hotdogs on the ferry are very good. Who knew?