Thursday, 20 December 2007

Um pouco portuguese


Macau is a slightly strange entity. Despite never leaving China, I still had to invalidate my Chinese visa and clear customs and immigration to get there. Like Hong Kong, it's retained a special status for 50 years after it's handover (in 1999) It definitely feels different than the rest of China so far, especially in your pocket, with prices closer to it's former ruler than it's current one. But it's got a good vibe to the place, with European like streets and people crowding around shopping, hitting the delicious bakeries for breakfast and the Macanese eateries serving a mixture of specials from places like Goa and the old and new homeland are very good.

After struggling with Mandarin I now have to try to understand Cantonese, but at least the signs are in English or at least Portuguese. For a small place there are plenty of interesting cultural sites around to pass a couple of days. Wandering around the backstreets especially in the hillier parts almost makes you think your in Lisbon. Well, with a heck of a lot of Chinese tourists.



Macau is also becoming something of an Asian Las Vegas. It's had legalised gambling for a long time, but only recently is it taking on Vegas style theme hotels and casinos. You can now wander around mini amsterdams, miami beachs and Colosseum type buildings. All quite tacky but somehow impressive nonetheless.
One final strange thing about the place - despite being a former Portuguese colony and currently Chinese, they drive on the left. Weird. And I didnt even notice until I was leaving.

4 comments:

cariaso said...

sounds great, but I wanted to know more.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macau

so I'll do this to save someone else the typing. And ask that rtw do similar for a few of the future spots.

seanmullins said...

yeah i do dometimes (well i did) but have gotten lazy of late...

dermdaly said...

Hey Sean, Its 20th December. Christmas is very close. Hope you have a good one wherever you are

Triple D said...

Mr Sean, will you be passing through Glasgow soon for some festive shandies? Ledushka's shoes are pining for you...