Last year before departing for Canada (for good, we thought at the time) hubby and i decided to visit Macau, a place so pathetically close to HK it always bothered me why we never went before.
8:30- boarded the Turbojet. as usual when travelling with hubby, everything is photofinish! we arrived a mere 7 minutes before boarding. good thing the lines at immigration were short and quick.
9:45- got a map from the tourist center and asked where we could eat a traditional Portugese/Macanese breakfast. told to hop on bus no. 3 to the main plaza, look for McDo (i almost had an attack! McDo for breakfast in a foreign country? what the hell were these tourist officers high on?), turn at an alleyway beside it and have breakfast at any of the coffee shops lining the street. (ah! that's more like it, now they're behaving like true harbingers of culture). arrived at the plaza and took photos of the fountain and neo-classical colorful buildings, like any self-respecting tourist. found McDo (hubby had the gall to suggest we eat there!) and discovered a small coffeshop manned by Pinoys. ate chorizo bread (more bread than chorizo, but the chorizo was sooo flavorfully good), smoked ham and cheese on brazilian bread (the smoked ham was delicious, the rest ordinary) and a Macau-style bibingka (tastes like egg-tart, looks and feels like a smallish bibingka-yummy!). had galao (traditional coffe and milk).
visited St. Dominic's Church for some quiet prayer time. the museum of sacred arts on the top floors is very interesting. walked to the ruins (of course!). took more photos of the steps, ruins and fortress with hubby hamming it up.
loved the Museum of Macau. i think i took more pictures there than anywhere. museums and dioramas are my thing. the beautifully resored traditional Chinese sala of old and portugese dining room were exquisitely detailed. i took a picture of hubby offering a drink to one of the chinese statues sitting on a bench (who rudely ignored him). some caucasians commented happily that we were being so silly (better silly than bo-ring!).
bought some repro figurines and a carved wooden panel to bring to canada. so very cheap compared to HK! we asked the museum guy for a good Portugese eatery. we had reservations at Fernando's but he said it used to be good 10 years ago. so we asked him to tell us where the locals ate. he recommended A Lorcha and Dom Galo.
we wanted to see the sights in barra so we opted for A Lorcha. ordered bacalhau fritters (thought it would be salty and oily but it was crispy and whetted out appetites); clams with coriander, garlic and tomatoes (we loved the sauce and used the warm bread to finish it off); african chicken (to me it tasted like a cross between mild curry and afritada); and baked beef ribs (carnivorous hubby was swooning over this one! thankfully the staff were all Pinoy, so i got the recipe). we paid a mere HKD 310.00 for this feast, which included drinks and the Portugese dessert serradura (milk and cream pudding with crumbled biscuits on the menu, rich and thick vanilla ice cream/sylvanas to my taste buds. nice, but too sweet).
visited the a-mah temple and moorish barracks--nothing special. got lost in the streets of Barra looking for the Penha Church. asked for directions from locals who scratched their heads and smiled and pointed every which way. after minutes of bickering we found the church. outside is a tourist trap of a table selling religious wares for sky-high prices! while waiting for a taxi to take us to the Macau Tower which we could see in the distance, a man offered to take us there in his mazda for HKD25! we didn't want to be fodder for robbers and the like so we opted to walk down. it was quite a walk but we saw really unique and spacious homes on the steep way downhill (much like the Peak). we found ourselves on the promenade by the lake and decided to walk all the way to the Tower, which was a bad idea because once we got there, we didn't want to shell out HKD70 each to get scared shitless!
more cultural and artsy stuff beckoned at the Museum of Art. while derrick sunned himself in the open lobby, i drooled over the visual masterpieces on display. more photo ops at the golden statue of Kum Iam (goddess of mercy) by the promenade (reminded us of Roxas Blvd), then we were off to Sands to try our luck with the slot machines (no such luck!) and partake of the Las Vegas 888 Buffet. too many choices, most of them mass-produced and commercial tasting. i only enjoyed the oysters, prawn, lamb and dessert. the rest? substandard fare for such a hyped-up place. we should have tried Litoral but Sands was nearer the ferry and as usual, we arrived 11 minutes before boarding and had to run all the way to the gangplank.that's our macau rush-rush trip for you. the weather was cool, the sun shone intermittently, we had a good lunch and took a hundred pictures to prove that we've been there and done that.
postscript: we've been to Macau twice since this trip and were finally able to try Litoral and Fernando's. The Litoral oxtail stew in red wine was rich and mouth-watering but the bacalhau fritters in A Lorcha tasted so much better. Litttle boy loved slathering butter on their freshly baked bread. Hubby enjoyed the tender grilled lamb chops. At Fernando's we tried the famous mildly spicy garlic prawns which my little boy loved, crispy roasted pig (hubby was in 7th heaven with this one, imagine golden reddish-brown crackling skin hiding a layer of juicy meat interspersed with some fat), and grilled lemon chicken ( a bit too dry and ordinary). At A Lorcha, which we never fail to visit, the grilled chorizo platter was gone in a jiffy, and we were tempted to order more. Portugese and Macanese cuisine have such tasty, thick sauces bursting with various flavors that leaving them on the plate to be scraped away is a sacrilege. Most restaurants offer warm, home-baked crusty-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside bread that is perfect for absorbing the richly infused sauces of their dishes. Ahhh, the mere thought of it makes me want to board the Turbojet today, right now.