Sunday, December 7, 2008

Made in Macau

at the Grand Emperor Hotel

It's been more than a week since the Macau trip, and I can still remember the highlights of my recent adventure. The first thing I enjoyed was the fine weather, which I felt the moment I stepped out of the airport. Coming from a tropical country, the cold climate's definitely a treat!

We stayed at the Grand Emperor Hotel. I was really impressed with the accommodations. We checked in at two adjacent rooms, each with a flat screen TV. Hehehe! The hotel also exudes Russian glamour manifested by carriages situated infront of the hotel, paintings of royalties on the walls, and guards standing by the main entrance. If you have enough to shell out for accommodations, I'd recommend the Grand Emperor Hotel. With its strategic location, you won't have a hard time going around town.

After settling in, first challenge for us was to look for a church where we could hear mass. Since there are few Catholics in Macau (and probably the rest of China), it wasn't easy finding one. Too bad the mass was over when we finally found one. We simply headed to Largo do Senado to have dinner. Largo do Senado is said to be the focal point of the city. It is where travelers start their Macau adventure. This also leads to the Macau Museum and St. Paul's Ruins, which is one of the main attractions in Macau. Aside from the impressive tiled paths, Largo do Senado has shops where tourists can buy imported and local goods, especially dried beef, candies and other Macanese delicacies.

Our second day was spent to visit the very famous The Venetian resort and hotel. Before leaving for Macau, a lot of people were telling me that I shouldn't come back without visiting The Venetian. At first, I was puzzled why people are raving about this hotel-resort. When I got the chance to set foot on this establishment, I finally understood why. The Venetian is more than just a hotel. It is a hotel, mall, and casino rolled into one. The interiors are consistently designed to emulate the ambiance of outdoor Venice. Even the food court feels like the European alfresco. There are intricately designed walls, bridge over waters, complete with gondolas and gondoliers who serenade passengers with Italian songs. Our gondolier, Celeste, is a Filipina! The ground floor of The Venetian is filled with everything casino - electronic slot machines, poker tables, and the like.

The next day, we went to St. Paul's Ruins, the Macau Museum, and the Macau Tower. St. Paul's Ruins is one of the remnants of the Portuguese rule and influence. The original facade of the church still stands and serves as a reminder of the efforts of the Portuguese to Christianize the Macanese residents. More of Macau's history can be learned from the Macau Museum. Though relatively small, it does not compromise the information that one can learn about the city's history, culture and lifestyle. Moving on, the view from the Macau Tower is breathtaking, but scary at the same time. Hehehe! I'm no acrophobic, but when I realized I was standing on glass floors, I nearly panicked.  For extreme sports enthusiasts, you can actually bungee jump from the Macau Tower.  Being the highest bungee jump in the world, you'll get a certificate if you do so.  I actually wanted to, but the fee is as steep as the tower.

At night, I walked around the city with my camera and captured the colorful lights displayed by the hotel-slash-casinos. There were a lot! Afterall, Macau is the Las Vegas of Asia. If I were fond of casinos, I would have spent the nights in them.

Overall, I enjoyed traveling to Macau. I am happy to be able to experience their culture, marvel at sceneries, and indulge in the cuisine. Though I encountered some difficulty with the language barrier, being able to communicate without really speaking the vernacular was something worthwhile. Also thanks to the Filipinos we met at times. They really helped us a lot!

I'm not sure if I'll be able to go back, but if given the chance, I would.

Click here to view the pictures.

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