Jun 13 2012
A busy day today! Woke up early and headed to the ferry terminal to catch our ferry to Macau. Our departure was scheduled for 9.30am… but when we checked in around 8.55am (cos they had asked for us to check in at least 30 mins in advance), they asked if we wanted to take the earlier ferry scheduled for 9.00am instead…
Of course! We could set off, reach Macau, and start our adventure earlier? Why not?!
It was an hour journey and it was a smooth sailing ride. The girl was kept entertained by her favourite iPad, and it seriously felt like a flash when we finally reached Macau. (Maybe cos i slept half the journey there – best way to prevent sea-sickness for me!)
Landed at 10.00am and cleared customs in a flash! Maybe cos it was a Monday, tourist crowd was super low. Coming out of the ferry terminal after grabbing tons of Macau brochures, we saw hotel/casino mascots and staff standing there, waiting to welcome us.
But we walked on ourselves towards Fisherman’s Wharf… only to find that nothing was opened! It was already past 11am and the whole place looked like a ghost town! NOTHING WAS OPEN!!! So much for being termed as Macau’s number one themed attraction… Total waste of time and effort…
Okay, so the landscaping was pretty. You have scenes of China… Tibet… Arabia… and even Rome.
BUT NOTHING WAS OPEN!!! Not even a restaurant for us to stop for lunch… But no matter where we went, or how disappointed we were, the girl remained oblivious as anywhere can be a playground to her.
Even if it were just an empty space, the little one would use it as a big race-track.
A bad start to our Macau adventure… So we crossed the road towards SANDS instead…
Even though it wasn’t much with us not being able to enter the casino, at least it was opened, and my girl was visibly MUCH happier. It was probably just the amusement center… though I think the air conditioning had a huge part to play too.
Lunch at McDonalds there before taking a cab to the Ah Ma temple.
Great thing about travelling to Macau from Hong Kong, we didn’t need to change currency! Everyone everywhere accepted Hong Kong dollars… and the best thing was, they would even return change in Hong Kong dollars too! Perfect for lazy bums like us who didn’t want to do separate budgeting for Macau nor look for a money changer.
Ah Ma Temple – dedicated to the goddess of seafarers and fishermen… But there were also tons of other deities with shrines built on the slope of the hill. One of Macau’s UNESCO World Heritage site, and possibly the origin of Macau’s name, of course we had to pay a visit here.
They have a 百年夫妻树 (loosely translated: Hundred-Years Husband-Wife Tree), which apart from prayers to find a lifetime partner or for a loving marriage, also hangs a lot of wishes for health, wealth, brains, and happiness…
And my girl? Well…. she has found a new play-slide at these circular doorways (moon-gates)… *sigh*
… or seriously anything at all like kicking the pebbles along the steps up to the various shrines on the hill…
Along the way, we overheard one tour guide and got to know about this metal bowl within the temple, that if you rubbed the handles and the water within “jumped”, it meant you’re blessed with good luck. The higher the water “jumped”, the better your luck.
Sent the husband there to try… and the man just effortlessly succeeded. I was desperately trying to capture the moment while the girls standing beside him went oooh… doe-eyed at his “ability” and started asking him for tips… Needless to say, his ego probably inflated to the size of a huge DHL-balloon. :p
And the next part of our trip was to follow the walking trail downloaded from Frommers. To walk the whole historic town of Macau is easily completed in one day… unless you have a little 3-year old who INSISTED on taking control of the map and giving directions… *needless to say, we had to skip several recommended sights to keep time*
One of the places we did manage to go to, was Mandarin’s House. The former home of Zheng Guangying, a forward thinker who wrote “Words of Warning in Times of Prosperity”… (not that I’ve actually heard of it before though…)
And my girl somehow found the study room and helped herself to one of the manuscript and started reading… top to bottom, right to left.
Now restored as one of the masterpiece of the World Heritage Site’s Historic Centre of Macau, it showed the architectural characteristics of Guangdong’s residences with influences from western cultures. Nothing much there really… but my girl somehow found climbing up and down the stairs, running in the courtyard, and sitting on every single antique furniture amusing…
Evacuated fast before she breaks anything…
… and continued our walking trail down… (at least the adults walked while the girl insisted on being carried)… towards Lilau Square…
… St Lawrence’s Church…
… and St Augstine’s Church.
The churches in Macau are yellow, Portugese styled, and look pretty similar from the outside. St Lawrence’s Church, while having quite a modest interior, has a very pretty and serene garden with palm trees and several glass etchings of various scenes of Christianity (such as the Last Supper). St Augustine’s Church, on the other hand, has a more elaborate interior deco, with a small plaza outside for people to sit around and relax.
No time to sit around and relax with a full travel itinerary, we moved quickly towards Senado Square. It’s really the city center, paved with a wavy pattern of black and white cobblestones. It may be a Monday, but the place was still crowded with tourists armed with bags of Macau’s souvenirs and goodies. With so many people buzzing, we kept a tight grip on the girl and moved towards…
St Dominic’s Church. It is very grand… And you get to go up the stairs to the second floor where there’s the free Treasure of the Sacred Heart Museum with 3 floors of religious artifacts etc. But my girl wasn’t interested. She climbed the stairs to the second floor, took a look at the exhibits, and went back down the stairs again…. AND THEN up the stairs… and down… and up… and down… Until we decided WE had enough following her and working our calf muscles and pulled her out of the church.
Oh, one thing I almost forgot. These churches, and even the Mandarin’s House, have a commemorative stamp for you to stamp on your guidebook etc to remember your visit. Needless to say, this duty was handed over to the girl who loves stamps. She’d take my walking-guide printout and *demanded* to be carried up to the table so she could stamp on the book.
By the time we left St Dominic’s Church, it was almost 3.30pm. There wasn’t much time left to complete our Macau walk-about if we went at the daughter’s pace. So we decided to break for tea, fill the girl’s stomach with food, and then let her nap (blood in stomach… blood in stomach…).
Brought the girl to a dim sum restaurant where she “ordered” her own food… (More like, we showed her a picture… she chose what she wanted, and then find the corresponding number and indicated on the order chit).
Her accomplishment? 3 egg tarts, 4 dumpling fillings, and a whole glass of watermelon juice! Woah!!! Since when was my girl such a big eater???
Took the chance while she slept to buy some yummies back too. This walk from Senado Square up to the ruins reminds me of our climb up to Kiyomizu-dera. Shopkeepers were handing out samples to tourists and passers-by and asking them to try and buy. We did… and realised that the cookies and goodies in Macau were cheaper than Hong Kong’s Wing Wah etc. (Regret buying so much a few days back).
Carried a 12kg daughter up to the top of the Ruins of St Paul’s… (clocking my exercise requirement for the month ) Nearly collapsed once we reached the top and told the daddy to carry on up the steps of the facade himself while I take a breather…
Started off sitting…. and then gradually slouching…
And finally gave up and laid back on my bag as I waited for the daddy to return and take over the load.
And this photo shall tell my daughter someday that, yes, you’ve been up here before.
Alas, she didn’t sleep long, waking up while we were trying to get a cab to The Venetian. The interior really looks like The Venetian in Las Vegas… (Save effort on architect fees and headache, doesn’t it?) And when we reached, there was a gondolier singing and that got my little girl dancing on her feet…
But the main reason why we came all the way down to Cotai…
… was for this! The original Macau’s famous Portugese egg-tarts from Lord Stow’s Bakery!
It was in my original plan to travel all the way down to the Coloane Village (on the southern-most tip of Macau) so we could find the original original Lord Stow’s Bakery… but again I say, travelling with a 2+ year old means you’re walking at the pace of a toddler. She actually
walks runs very fast! But she likes to backtrack alot . So we just had to settle for their branch at The Venetian instead – which was yummy too, nonetheless!
So while Papa went to buy his famous egg-tarts… Mommy orientated herself with the map to see which other casinos we could visit… and the little one helped herself to the bubble-wrap tied around the handles of our shopping purchase in Macau. (So thoughtful of them to use bubble wrap on the handles so we can could carry it around comfortably as we tour!)
After The Venetian, we took a free hotel shuttle back to Taipa, SANDS (to save on taxi fare), and then a cab to Wynn Hotel.
Came here for the water fountain display which occured every 15 minutes… FREE!
And then headed inside for the Tree of Prosperity performance occurring every 30 minutes… ALSO FREE! The ceiling was a elaborate design of the 12 zodiac animals, and at the bottom, an equally elaborate design of the 12 zodiac signs.
When the show started, you could see the heavens (or at least the 12 zodiac animals ceilings) opening to reveal a big grand crystal chandelier to some orchestral music. And then gradually, the earth (the 12 zodiac signs) parted too and a tree started growing (or at least rising) up and out from the earth (the globe like thing on the ground).
And funny too… Once the tree appeared, we could hear people throwing coins in at the Tree. WL joked that, “No wonder this is called the Tree of Prosperity. So many people throw money at it, of course it’s prosperous. ”. And then we decided to join in the fun and throw in the few Macau coins we have too. *HUAT AH!!!*
That being our last stop, we took the free hotel shuttle again and headed back to the ferry terminal. Our original departure was scheduled for 9.30pm… and again we reached early enough to catch the 9.00pm ferry back. Good for us too! Cos we got caught in bad weather and the sea got very choppy. What would have been a one hour return journey ended up 1.5 hours… and many of us got sea-sick.
I got my head stuck inside a paper-bag, and the girl spent the journey in the daddy’s arms, just so she won’t fly out of her seat each time the ferry rides the wave. She got visibly very scared… and probably kindof queasy too. So we stuffed her with her favourite sweets for her to chew on while she looked on in fear each time she “flew” into the air.
After a very long 1.5 hours, we finally reached Hong Kong… and thankfully cleared customs quickly again… Had a quick rest at McDonalds, and then walked back to the hotel to rest for the night.
If I could plan my Macau one-day trip again, I’d plan for the day to start at the Ruins of St Paul’s and take the same route in the opposite direction. At least then I’ll end up at the south of Taipa… Nearer for us to take a cab towards Cotai where the casinos are, and probably try to really squeeze some time so I could visit the Coloane Village. Next time then.