Thursday, February 11, 2010

Trip to Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea - Jan 26th 2010

Day 3

Up at 6am to have breakfast. Caught a taxi at 7:03 to go to our ferry for a 7:30 departure. The ferry terminal wasn't too far away and also on Kowloon. I told the taxi driver at the taxi rank in front of the hotel that we needed the Macau ferry and showed him where the terminal was on the map. He drove us around the block a couple fo times and dropped us off at another taxi rank - without charge. He said that the first taxi would take us where we needed to go. Bit odd I thought as it really wasn't far away.

I told the next taxi driver where we were headed and only when he was about to pay a toll for the Cross-Harbour Tunnel did I realise that he was taking us the wrong way. It took a lot of explaining, and almost arguing, before the driver realised what the mistake was - the mistake of the first taxi driver. Not happy, Jan. Perhaps that is why it is called the Cross-Harbour Tunnel as we were getting quite cross. The driver considered dropping us off at another terminal on Hong Kong Island but I decided it was better to head to our original departure point. We arrived a few minutes after the ferry had left. The driver refused to drop his fare even though there had been a misunderstanding. Miky would have made him accept a lower, or non-existant, fare but I ended up paying the full amount of HK$116. It was less than A$20 after all.

At the First Ferry gate they seemed only too happy to inform us that our ticket was for the 0730 ferry and that we had missed it. I asked about putting us on the next available ferry, as it was the taxi driver who had made us miss our boat, and he made us wait in another area in front of the desk. Just before I became really angry I insisted that they tell us which ferry we could get on. We were given seats on the 8 o'clock ferry. Gee, that wasn't really that difficult. There was no need to make us feel like we were being punished even though we had explained that it wasn't our fault.

Surprise, suprise! Or should I say, "Supplies, supplies!"? There was plenty of room aboard. Arseholes. Nothing much to see on the way to Macau because all of the islands were shrouded in fog.

Plenty of seats available. No need to make us feel guilty.

View from ferry terminal upon arrival in Macau.

Our ferry.

Disembarkation was quick as was the immigration transfer. No problems with our visas as the Cathay Pacific clerk had mentioned in Perth. And to think that I'd wasted time running around at the airport in Hong Kong to verify this. The public toilet offered was even less welcoming than the immigration guy as it was disgusting and someone was smoking.

Visited the tourist info after a guy offered us a tourist trip. Taken for a ride more like it. They told us which bus to take into the city to Senado Square. We didn't know where to get off so listened to someone else who told another tourist where the stop was. First stop was a noodles restaurant for a snack as breakfast hadn't consisted of much. Interestingly they served us warm water as opposed to tea that we got in Hong Kong. We ate at about 9:50am and my beef wasn't that bad but nothing to blog about. So I won't. They didn't accept credit cards so Miky had to pay. Luckily they accepted HK$.

Excited tourists.

Pig knucket and boiled intestine anyone?

Senado Square in downtown Macau.

McDonald's in Senado Square.

Even more luckily one of the ladies working in the restaurant took us to the nearby national tourist centre. We had asked some questions but English wasn't their strong point. The tourist centre wasn't a really inviting building from the outside but they were offering free Senado Square tours in English. Fanny, our guide, also told us how to get to The Venetian Hotel/Casino for free via shuttle bus and talked about some of the other attractions in the city. She photographed us in front of St Dominic's Church.

St Dominic's Church.

Family pic in Senado Square.

Lovely cobblestoned streets.

Do you feel like you're in China?

All types of jerky available.

Nice statue.

A quick walk up the hill through throngs of people and shops selling biscuits and jerky we reached the ruins of St Paul's Cathedral. Only the facade remains and it is quite a sight. It also overlooks Na Tcha Temple and is a short walk across a cobbled road to the fortress. It's not a bad view of the city from atop. From up there you can see the grim reality of how many people live in apartments and appear to lock themselves up in birdcages. I mean, even six stories up the balconies are fully enclosed with bars.

Ruins of St Paul's Cathedral.

Notice the fake plants.

Looking back from steps in front of St Paul's Cathedral.

Closeup of facade of St Paul's Cathedral.

Part of old city wall on the right.

Na Tcha Temple.

Walls of Mount Fortress.

Guns of Mount Fortress.

Squalid living surrounding Mount Fortress.

Entrance to Mount Fortress.

Facade of St Paul's Cathedral.

One last photo of St Paul's Cathedral.

Lovely buildings in Macau.

Looks like a bird cage.

Walking back down the streets, as we had on the way up, we tasted chicken/pork/beef jerky, almost cakes and ate egg tarts (we bought these as they weren't samples). The tarts were very much like custard and quite delicious.

Did some clothes shopping at Giordano and Bossini. Quite cheap as they were outlet shops. Got a little bit lost when trying to find the Leal Senado building. Then walked up to St Augustine's Church, St Augustine's Square, St Joseph's Seminary and Church and Dom Pedro V Theatre before finishing at St Lawrence's Church. You wouldn't think that you were in China at all, would you? Walked down to Nam Van Lakes before heading to Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro to catch the 3A bus back to the ferry terminal.

European-style bank building.

St Joseph's Seminary and Church.

St Augustine's Church.

Bird cage opposite Theatre Dom Pedro V.

Theatre Dom Pedro V.

Run down apartments were in abundance.

St Lawrence's Church.

Almost feel like you're in Portugal, not Macau (China).

From there we caught a free shuttle bus to The Venetian. Again, Miky had read about this on a blog. The bus went over the impressive Sai Van Bridge and only took 15 minutes. Seeing as Macau is only 30 square kilometres, although it has a population of 550,000, doesn't take too long to get anywhere.

Inside the casino was amazing. There were canals and gondolas (MOK$108/adult and MOK$80/child), specialty shops and a huge gaming area filled with cigarette smoke where, unfortunately you're unable to take photos or videos, there were hundreds of gaming tables and machines. I haven't seen many attractive women in HK or Macau, must say that the Chinese tourists are better looking than the locals, but I spotted three of the most attractive girls together in the gaming room and concluded that they must have been working girls. After an hour and a half we'd seen about enough of the casino, purchased our almond cakes that others were buying by the bucketload, and caught the free shuttle bus back to the ferry terminal.

Overlooking Nam Van Lake (from bus).

Inside Venetian Hotel.

The Boy overlooking the Grand Canal.

More of the excited tourists.

Grand Canal inside the Venetian Hotel.

Beautiful artwork on the ceiling.

Gaming table.

Entrance to the Venetian Hotel.

Venetian Hotel shuttle bus.

View behind the Venetian Hotel.

The ferry was much busier on the way back to HK. Perhaps that had something to do with the fact that the next ferry ran in the evening and the tickets were more expensive. Miky slept because she felt sick and The Boy and I played cards. Upon our return to HK we walked down Canton Street to head to SOGO for dinner. I had an eel and chicken bento box and okonomiyaki - delicious. Or, as Merrick Watts and I like to say, derishus. Had enough of Chinese food and the Japanese cuisine was nice. Back to the hotel just before 9pm. It was at this point that I discovered the phone in our room didn't work. So it wasn't the case that Disneyland didn't want to answer my call yesterday.

Friendship Bridge.

Looks like a bomb in the harbour.

Toilets at ferry terminal in HK.

Disabled toilet at ferry terminal in HK

Must sell those Ugg boots downstairs.

Arty shot - just for fun whilst waiting for the courtesy bus.

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