Hong Kong Adventures: Day 6

Just in case my employer thinks I am slacking off at work to write this blog post out, I should just stress that it is pre-written and scheduled so I really am working at work, okay? Don't take away my salary or fire me, I love you. So as I've mentioned in my previous post, Day 6 is all about our trip to Macau. Our trip to Macau was fueled by 2 main things: my parents hasn't been there for the longest of times and I was finally of a legal age to enter a casino.

Our day kicked out around 8 AM and we decided to have breakfast at a little store near home before hailing a cab to the China Ferry Terminal for HKD 35.50. I should just note that whenever you watch people stealing away someone else's cab on TV, it gets funny but when it happens to you in real life, IN HONG KONG, it will get very frustrating. We bought tickets for the 10 AM ferry from a company called Turbojet for HKD 159 per person and rushed to the boarding gate immediately. A bimbo moment being shared: I always thought Macau is a part of Hong Kong. I never knew you would have needed to go through immigration and it would mean you're leaving Hong Kong soonest as you head to Macau.

Tons of people heading to riches!

And here I was, leaving Hong Kong already.

And as a visitor, you go to the visitor's counter!

We had to run all the way to the end of what looked like a mini airport in order to board the Turbojet ferry and it was all in a rush! Gladly though, we made it smack in time for boarding and I was horrified to find that there were so many visitors from the Mainland. While I'm at it and still angry over it, I should just say that Mainland Chinese are horrifyingly rude, obnoxiously loud and terribly messy! 

Thankfully though, nobody pushed nobody; unlike in Malaysia where everybody pushes everybody!

Inside the Turbojet.

In fact, they're so horrible that one of them was even sitting on Chef's allocated seat and when we insisted they move because IT WAS CHEF'S ALLOCATED SEAT, they stared at us then shouted that we were rude to ask them to move when they've already gotten comfortable. I had also tried to sleep through our 1 hour ferry ride but the lady who sat behind me kept slamming her body into my chair whilst her daughter kicked it, I just gave up midway. The ferry itself was generally clean and well lit however with 2, 3, 3, 3, 2 arrangements all the way. We also had to pass another immigration counter in Macau, as though we had entered a brand new country already.

And there were just so many rude and rowdy Mainland people!

Hello, Macau!

As soon as we left the immigration counters and got out to the jetty, we were approached by touting tour companies before we decided to look into a package that a certain Guia Tours had offered. The man was called Leung A Meng and he told us that our package would just be HKD 1,800 with a private van and a driver cum tour guide who would take us to anywhere we wanted to go. It was unlike regular tours where they wanted you to do nothing but go shopping so we thought, we might as well have taken it since we didn't know Macau at all. Our haggled price was at HKD 1,500 and we left the jetty. It's pricey when you think about it right now but I suppose it's the price you pay when you're a tourist.

Our driver cum tour guide is called Alex and I had the toughest time not to laugh at the way he pronounced his name. I know it's rude to have to say this but people in Hong Kong has such a cute accent with names and certain alphabets. He spoke decent Cantonese and sufficient English to get by and we believe that he is of a Portuguese descendent. Our first stop was the Macau Convention Center, a spot where people regularly take photos at but there was nothing so we decided not to waste time there and passed by the gold Kuan Yin statue with the face of Mother Mary etched on it. 

 The empty Macau Convention Center.

This was extremely interesting to me!

We were told by Alex that this was due to the beliefs of protestant Christians (Correct me if I'm wrong!) who did not want to pray to saints such as Mother Mary but somehow were okay when they asked for blessings from Kuan Yin hence the statue was built as such. He then drove us past the Macau Tower but only stopped about 5 minutes later in front of a lake in order for us to take pictures WITH the tower itself. He's pretty considerate at that, I suppose. 

A picture of Chef and I because...can you not feel our love?

 This is the view of which we were blessed to look at! Alex is so sweet, bringing us here!

We stopped pretty long there in order to look at people bungee jump off the Macau tower and when they did, we all got very excited to look at the silhouette of a person getting off the 61st floor of the Macau Tower to the 10th floor and back. I know that CheeChingy has tried the bungee jump and has all the necessary information on her blog so if you need those, go ahead and hit the link. We were also taken to an old church nearby and is fairly popular for wedding photography for the amazing view it offers.
 
Parents, because I love them!

Here's an inappropriate shot of Chef showing his stomach in front of a holy church doing a jump shot!

A family portrait taken by Shin Yi. Don't mind my hair, the wind was so annoying.

We were also taken to the A Ma Temple (妈阁庙), the oldest temple in Macau for the sake of the history it had. Built in 1488, the temple has been dedicated to Matsu, the goddess of seafarers and fishermen. Macau has always been a little island for fishermen back in time so having the goddess overlook them has been a norm and an age old belief.

 The outsides of the temple.

 This is the the "百年夫妻树" (Bai-nian-fu-qi-su if you need to know how to pronounce it!)

 Word has it that couples just has to buy one of these dingle dangles, write their names on it and they will be united forever!

 Rub-a-dub-dub...

Yes, those are my hands.

I've just got to tell you about this thing in detail. What you see above is a copper basin and on it are just heaps of Macau currencies. Alex filled it up with water from a basin nearby and told us to rub the handles of the copper basin in hopes that the water "jumps" from the friction of our hand rubs. Daddy didn't quite get the water to jump, Chef's try had the basin literally shaking from too much "jumping" and mine was just mediocre. According to Alex, the belief from locals of Macau is that the higher your water "jumps", the richer you'll be in the future. I suppose I won't be that rich after all. I shall forever leech off Chef. I love you, kor kor. COME, LET ME HUG YOU.

Mummy looking pretty with some rocky backdrop in the temple.

Alex somehow knew what to do after when he brought us over to Koi Kei Bakery, a renowned pastry  store available in Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore and even in Malaysia if I'm not mistaken. Luckily for Pui Yi (Ahem, you better be reading this!) who Whatsapp-ed me a lot earlier in the morning, I managed to grab a box of almond cookies for her and a few packs of peanut candies for the beloved Nuffies. Koi Kei Bakery has always been famous and their popularity soared beyond belief after the screening of TVB's 2013 hit, Brother's Keeper where they supplied the biscuits and candies for the fictional Law Sun Kei in the series. Trivia 101, do you see what I have just did there?

Brimming with visitors!

Preparing the all time famous Koi Kei almond cookies.

Outside Koi Kei Bakery where daddy had a...moment with the Portuguese chicken.

They said we could take free pictures here! Look at daddy... "go".

 And then Chef...didn't quite go.

We were taken by Alex to a shop called Praia Grande for what was known as "really good" Portuguese food for lunch before heading to Senado Square. Sporting buildings with a historical feel, Senado Square is somewhat like the central of Macau where visitors come by to get the Portuguese touch before leaving elsewhere. Each building is now tenanted by regular retail stores such as Bossini and McDonald's but features the old school front anyway. According to Alex, all the buildings are to be painted once every 2 to 3 years in order for Macau to always look fantastic and to keep the visitors coming back.

The very pretty Senado Square.

It's always so packed, according to Alex.

A very pretty back lane along Senado Square. How could this be a BACK LANE? Have you seen Malaysia's back lanes? What a joke!

The St. Dominic's Church, in the middle of Senado Square.

 Check out the details on the walls of the St. Dominic's Church!

Constructed in 1587, the St.Dominic's Church lies in the heart of Senado Square and is known as the oldest church around Macau! There is a certain kind of joy to know that you've been to such places sometimes because you actually feel like you're historical. The black and white tiles you see as in the pictures above for the floor are also from old days when the Portuguese ruled Macau and they never bothered to take them back anyway so we were technically standing on history itself! Please tell me you can feel how smug I am while writing this!

Sidetrack moment: As we finished up walking around Senado Square, we walked back to where Alex was supposedly waiting for us. For some reason, Alex insisted not to follow us whenever we walked around these places; mostly insisting that we enjoy ourselves and he will guard the car...and not have to pay for parking fares. Unfortunately when we got back, he wasn't there and neither was the car. I think that was the point when my dad was fairly worried that Alex had abandoned us! You see, my parents and Uncle Eddie were in Macau once almost 20 years back and they were left behind by a taxi driver at the Ruins of St. Paul's when they refused to lend the cabbie their passports to buy some duty free electronics and such! Terrible taxi driver!

We sighed a breath of relief when Alex came back about 10 minutes later and it turned out that he had to take a huge turn around because the police came and ordered that he move the van. I'm sorry we doubted you, Alex! Our next destination was an all-rounded, extremely famous spot of Macau. In fact if you haven't been here, you can't quite say you've been to Macau. That's right, it's the good old Ruins of St. Paul.

The Ruins of St. Paul's. Now if all the humans can just vanish in this picture!

I tried a jump shot. I failed in the jump shot.

Spot the happier Lam child!

Because the happier child is always much more annoying!

If you didn't already know, the Ruins of St. Paul's has been around since 16th century serving as one of the largest Catholic churches in Asia at a point in time. Now held together with steels in order to preserve this huge piece of historical artifact, the Ruins of St. Paul's has become such a must-visit in Macau. We also got to walk behind the wall and that was when my parents noticed something that was never there before- an underground crypt and museum. 

A statue from the museum.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I trust this is an engraving of Jesus, aye?

The crypt contained the remains of someone historical; I apologize because I had forgotten and I was too creeped out to take pictures; and was fully air-conditioned. It was also well guarded with securities watching from above, CCTVs on full recording and there was a calming chant-kind of music playing in the background. The same went on in the museum and through the short walk, you could see how proud people in Macau are of such historical matters that has happened in their lands albeit it being so long ago! While it was eerie for me (Mostly from the lighting and the music setting with the thoughts of it being someone's remains!) to walk around there, I still think it was an amazing eye-opener to have been there. 

Hi, I was there.

The tour with Alex ended when he dropped us off at the Venetian Hotel as we agreed at the beginning of our package bargain. To be honest, it still feels quite steep a price to have paid at HKD 1,500 but we had no idea how else to move around Macau if it wasn't for this. Known for its intricate insides and the beauty of being in Venice without quite being there, the Venetian Hotel is a really new hotel so a lot of people somehow throng there anyway.

I only noticed much later that they weren't done with their signboard!

The lobby of Venetian Hotel. Can you get anymore grand, excuse me?

I was excited when we got to the hotel because it meant I would finally be entering a casino! Do you know how it feels like to finally be 21 and entering a casino? Extra smug storytelling moment: the lady at the entrance of the casino stopped me and insisted on seeing my passport so I turned over to daddy who kept all our passports in a stack for convenience then flashed it over to the lady. "You read it from the year to the month then the day for Malaysian passports," I told her. Clearly thought she was an idiot or something. And then...

I GOT IN!

Excuse the fact that the background is blurry, the casino is a no-picture zone so my mother snapped this REALLY quickly. In fact, we had completely forgotten about that rule until my brother told us off and my mum kept her phone almost as fast as she took it out. Unfortunately, the casino is just a place full of Mainland Chinese, stinks of cigarettes (I've stopped really smelling cigarettes since the break up) and was nothing to shout about. I had initially wanted to pull a lever on the slots machines but even those were run by cards and levers were replaced by buttons. I was disappointed. 

We ended up at a roulette table just for the fun of watching the little ball spinning around and I changed HKD 100 for chips and bet them on the numbers 1, 2, 14, 17, 27 and 31 before...losing them all. So it turns out I cannot be a God of Gambler anyway and I've come home poor anyway. We headed onto the canal shops for souvenirs and were at quite an awe of how they had decorated the insides of the hotel. It was convincing enough, complete with a stream for their running gondolas to be rowed around. 

They even had the ceiling concealed to have blue skies with fluffy white clouds!

I cannot look anymore touristy, I swear.

Portuguese egg tart for HKD 4. Really yummy but so pricey!

We rushed off to the bus stop to catch the free shuttle that the hotel provides to everyone in order to get to the jetty because we had expected a more than an hour's worth of travel back to Hong Kong around 5.45 PM. While managed to rush for the 6.30 PM Turbojet, we also realized that the prices have been hiked to HKD 184 per person on our return trip. That's about HKD 25 more per person! The price however was justified much later when our return trip lived up the name of "Turbojet" because we got back to Hong Kong about half an hour quicker than we did to Macau. I was counting my lucky stars because there were lesser Mainland Chinese people on board and even if there were, everyone was just fast asleep; including myself at a point of time. 

Our day didn't end there however when we took a taxi back home then met up with the rest of the family and went over to Elements; a mall in Kowloon for dinner at a restaurant called Tasty's (正斗). The mall is called Elements for an obvious reason; their wings are sorted as the 5 elements in Chinese known as Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth. They even have a mini skating rink inside and the mall was already decorated prettily in Christmas spirits! It's a whole month more and they were ready for the season!

With my grandmother, Aunt Sylvia, Aunt Cindy and Santa!

And that's the wrap to my Day 6. While the experience in the casino was something very new, I felt like there was nothing in Macau that distinctively stands out above the rest. I mean, sure it's very historical and what not but otherwise, it's just as Hong Kong is. I felt like the ferry tickets were overpriced just as the tour package we had taken but sometimes when you're a tourist, you just have to go on and spend that little bit of money and enjoy life a little, right? 

Day 7 was significantly the best of all days but you've seriously got to wait because I have some Hong Kong Eats to catch up on from Day 4 onwards for the next few posts! It's time to get hungry again, peeps! I'll try not to pick the wrong times for posts, okay? I will TRY. But no promises!

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