Tuesday, May 25, 2010


So I was told that you can see Macau in one day from Guangzhou by one of the Chinese teachers at one of my schools, and I guess she was half-right...

I ended up discovering there was a bus terminal right down the street that would go to Macau's neighboring city, Zhuhai, then you simply walk across the border, much like the Shenzhen-Hong Kong relationship.

Really convenient location...

Only a few minutes away by scooter!!! I love these guys...

The bus ride actually ended up having 2 more stops in Guangzhou, and 2 in Zhuhai before we finally arrived at the border...so after all was said and done I actually entered Macau some time before noon.

Considering I left the first terminal at 7:20 AM, and the latest return bus I could get was 7:30 PM, I wasn't too thrilled about that.

However, the total cost of the bus, round trip, was 135 yuan, or about $20 USD, so I guess I can't really complain.

One of the most noticeable features about Macau: the scooters. They were...everywhere.

I stopped to get lunch at this promising-looking place. The menu looked amazing...

So did the food, but it was ultimately disappointing. So was the service...

Also, on a side note, if you ever find yourself walking across the border from Zhuhai to Macau, do NOT make the mistake of passing up the free shuttles to the casinos (all you have to be is 18 years old or older)...

After hearing over and over how "small" Macau was, I was certain I could take it on foot...oh man that was a bad idea...

...I realized I was lost once I noticed the lack of any foot traffic, whatsoever.

Luckily, I saw some stairs going up, and figured it should give me some clue to where I was. It turns out it was this park that surrounded some kind of protected body of water, and I had a clear line of sight to where I should have been...

The park actually had some pretty good views, too.

TurboJets arriving / departing. Their location didn't seem anywhere near as central to Macau as I would have expected, but it was better than where I entered...

I still can't figure out what I was looking at in this shot.

I think it's the mainland...

I was wondering what the deal was with these giant steps with grass, but it turns out this is where the annual grand prix flies by, so they are actually grandstands.

No idea what this cool building was; there was no signage around it that helped.

There turned out to be a pretty cool "Fisherman's Wharf" area here, but a ton of attractions were closed. I couldn't tell if I was too early in the season or too late, since I was there in the middle of the day on a Saturday...

Local museum, by the Sands.

Potato Momma. I thought this was hilarious...

Cool park.

Okay, this one's funny: I was so thrilled to see a place selling tacos, that I didn't even notice the accident in the center of this shot until after I walked past it.

After wandering around for a while, I finally found myself at the MGM Grand, which seemed to distance itself from its Vegas image, and try to be more like the Bellagio.

They even had the atrium inside, like the Bellagio.

Macau's tower, way off in the distance...way way off in the distance...

Heading toward the downtown area.

First view of the Grand Lisboa.

Closer view of the Grand Lisboa.

They still exist!!!

Art in the lobby of the Grand Lisboa - it was very impressive!

If you're wondering who the girl is in this shot: I was waiting for her friend to finish taking her picture and for her to get out of the way, but they took forever, so I got impatient.

Finally, some interesting architecture.

This was one of those quick-mask-changing performances (Google: "Bian Lian"), it was pretty impressive and well worth the price of "free."

I finally found some life!

Fantastic grilled ham and cheese sandwich and iced lemon green tea: $22 HKD. Well worth it! This place was packed.


Oh look, a fort.

I wasn't sure what the fort would have, but it was worth it for some pretty good views.

Macau seemed a lot more...cluttered...than Hong Kong.

Zhuhai in the distance.

The Ruins of St. Paul's. This was a nice surprise to see from the fort. Especially since this view meant I didn't need to go hike over to it.

Really cool street.

Back on the Zhuhai side of the border. I ended up taking one of those shuttle buses back from the Grand Lisboa, but you have to gamble inside their casino in order to get a ticket. This wasn't really a bad deal, as I'd just consider it the cost of the ticket for the shuttle if you lose a little, and well worth it if you win some. The shuttles went to the ferries as well as the Zhuhai border crossing. Additionally, it seemed that you only needed to be "seen" by the attendants of the casino in the gambling area or sitting at a table or slot machine in order to receive a ticket.

Zhuhai was a really beautiful city at night; I wish my camera was capable of some of the shots I wanted from the bus on the way out.

Overall, Macau was rather underwhelming. The worst part is that it was incredibly decentralized and disconnected. It's really only worthy of the title "Las Vegas of the East" insofar as it has gambling and casinos. Additionally, the table minimums are restrictive compared to Vegas, and they're definitely designed for more serious gambling rather than just fun. And, contrary to what I keep hearing, Macau is NOT small! I guess if you want to consider it its own country, then sure, it's small. Otherwise, that's such an incredibly bogus statement! If you're a history buff, gambling buff, or you have a day to kill in Hong Kong, I guess I could see its appeal.

Eh, I didn't really get it.


Local updates from Huangpu, Guangzhou

Just some generic things before the Macau posting:

Building demolition; something about this just doesn't seem safe...

One of my rare rides on the modern-day-rickshaws; these guys are elusive...

 Construction detour...um...thanks for the path?

Making my absolute favorite wontons on the planet; they combine it with what I think are called Hong Kong style noodles...I'm still trying to learn more about this dish....


 Wine tasting at a local shop - the people that run it are really nice and speak rather decent English.