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Sleepy Portuguese Backwater Turned Gambling Resort

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

So, where does the 2012 Winter Beers N Noodles Adventure find me? The Chinese people have stood up, they’re off to Macau and so am I.

Chairman Mao (who coined the first half of that sentence) must be spinning in his glass coffin. Mainlanders can’t get enough of this once sleepy Portuguese-administered backwater turned gambling megaresort. Such has been its explosive growth in the last half decade that it is commonplace to refer to Macau as the Vegas of the East. It might be more appropriate to put that the other way round, since Macau has long since eclipsed its American rival in gambling income.

Hitherto, Vegas has been able to relax, safe in the knowledge that it is better at putting on a show, although perhaps, not for much longer. Big name entertainers are flocking to Macau, while the scale of construction along Macau’s Cotail Strip beggars belief as they are just at the beginning of the city’s bid to become Asia’s leading arts and conference destination, an aim underpinned, of course, by ever more gaming tables.

Beyond the neon gaming halls, Macau offers the visitor a captivating mix of historic Chinese and Portuguese influences.

Handsome colonial houses line cobblestoned streets punctuated by baroque churches and stone fortresses. Restful pockets of greenery, thirty UNESCO listed historic sites and beach resorts of Coloane Island more than match the casinos for diversion. Macau’s unique mix of Chinese and Portuguese ethnicity has also created some mouth watering culinary fusions in Macau’s justly celebrated marriage of southern European and Chinese flavors.

Macau’s proximity to Hong Kong means that sadly most spend just a day in the former Portuguese colony, before heading back to Hong Kong in the evening.

Cobbled together by the Portuguese centuries ago, a map is a must, thanks to the warren like structure of Macau’s streets. Luckily streets are well signposted, in the Roman alphabet, and Macau is a compact city with most of the sights within walking distance. Thankfully it has been far more protective of its colonial heritage than Hong Kong and, for the most part, the churches, squares and government buildings constructed by the Portuguese are still standing throughout the city. Most of the best Portuguese Macau sights are clustered around the Largo de Senado and can all be visited comfortably in around half a day, with a further hour or so needed to visit the Dom Pedro Theatre and Moorish Barracks.

Made up of three islands, Macau is blessed with a selection of beaches. One of the best, on the furthest Island of Coloane, is Hac Sa Beach which means black sand beach. The beach itself is around four kilometers long, meaning you won’t find your nose in someone else’s swimsuit, and also has a convincing selection of amenities such as beach bars, picnic places, as well as hire facilities for water-skis and other water-bound activities. Macanese cuisine is unique; a blend of Chinese and other Asian flavors, as well as influences from Portugal and its colonies. Despite the misleading name, Macau's most famous specialty is African Chicken, which is chicken baked in coconut and peanut paste, with garlic and chilies.

Budget hotels and accommodation in Macau is not a family.

The city and its hoteliers have their eyes firmly on the high rollers who pull up every weekend and most of the city’s new hotels are attached to casinos. While the room rates are fair for what these luxury pads offer, they aren’t cheap. At the bottom end of the market there are also a good number of absolutely bargain bucket guesthouses. You won’t find a website, you won’t find anyone who speaks English and you’re unlikely to find the place has been cleaned since the ill-fated Dutch invasion of the island back in 1622.

<u>Now For A Bit Of History</u>

Portuguese galleons first visited Macau to trade in the early 16th century and in 1557, as a reward for clearing out pirate’s endemic to the area, they were allowed to establish a tiny enclave here. As trade with China grew, so did Macau, which became the principal meeting point between China and the West. However, after the Opium Wars between the Chinese and the British and the subsequent establishment of Hong Kong, Macau went into a long decline.

China’s Cultural Revolution spilled over into the territory in 1966 and 1967.

The government reportedly proposed that Portugal should leave Macau forever but, fearing the loss of foreign trade, the Macau Government refused the offer. In 1999, under the Sino-Portuguese Pact, Macau was returned to China and designated a Special Administrative Region (SAR). Like Hong Kong, the pact ensures Macau a 'high degree of autonomy’ in all matters (except defense and foreign affairs) for fifty years.

<u>What Language Is Spoken In Macau?</u>

Cantonese and Portuguese are the official languages of Macau, English is harder to find here than in Hong Kong, but in most mid-ranged and top-end hotels, casinos, restaurants and tourist zones it is easy enough to get by. Mandarin is reasonably well understood, though most written Chinese is in traditional characters, not the simplified forms found on mainland China.

Glitzy Casinos, un-spoilt beaches and top-class restaurants, Macau is a glorious slice of the Mediterranean tucked away on the South China Sea. A Portuguese colony for nigh on five hundred years, Macau has retained much of its colonial charm and if culture doesn't interest you, there is always gambling.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Rose Tattoo The album was &#8216;Nice Boys & The Extras’ ____________________________________________________________

Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure

Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure


Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure

Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure


Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure

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Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure

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Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure

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Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure

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Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure

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Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure

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Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure

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Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure

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Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure

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Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure

Macau 1st Night Walking Adventure

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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