Monday, January 24, 2011

Checking Out Macau Part 1

It happened in the beautiful month of August, a trip booked on impulse thanks to an irresistible offer made by a budget airline. By beautiful I meant that the weather was just ideal — it was neither too hot nor too cold, and the occasional rains during our stay weren't strong enough nor didn't pour long enough to ruin our itinerary. By beautiful I meant that Macau, a place one would expect to be swarmed with tourists all throughout the year, seemed to have just the right amount of visitors during those days.

It was a three-hour flight from Singapore, getting us to the Macau International Airport at 2 a.m. Thankfully it was uneventful, and the only minor complaint I had was of the two ladies seated in front of us who were a little too enthusiastic about their storytelling that no passenger was spared of their boisterous laughter, which also made it impossible for me to get any sleep. We were met at the airport by our dear friend, kind host and would-be tour guide, Bel, who took us to her place, which was a mere 10 minutes away by cab.

We had about four hours of sleep that night. Despite this and what appeared to be early symptoms of a flu relapse for me, we felt energetic in the morning, and were excited to begin exploring the former Portuguese colony.

Our first destination was the Largo de Carmo or Our Lady of Carmel, a church atop a hill overlooking the Taipa Village where Bel was attending a Baptism. During our 10-minute walk going there, we learned from Bel that the Macau peninsula and the Taipa and Coloane islands comprise Macau. The airport, Bel's place and Largo de Carmo are all situated in Taipa.

The church, it turns out, was originally built in 1855. Just below was a lake, which used to be part of the sea before the land around it was reclaimed. It was a bit foggy that morning, but from the lakeshore we could make out the popular casinos, The Venetian and the City of Dreams on the other side.

When the baptismal ceremony was finished, it was time to cross over to the Macau Peninsula for the reception. It was held at the StarWorld's Temptations restaurant, and we had become guests. We found the restaurant's name undeniably apt, but not before we were tempted to eat more than we should have. Of course we also got to meet the proud parents of the newly baptized, the cute baby himself, and Bel's truly hospitable friends.

After having the equivalent of two meals in one sitting, it was only fitting that we took a walk. Our next stop was Wynn hotel, which was just across the street.

We were just in time for the Tree of Prosperity show. A lot of people had already gathered around the area where the spectacle was taking place, and we were fortunate to still be able to see in front of us. The crowd, who seemed to take the music that started playing as a sign that the show was commencing, began to settle in their places before falling completely silent. True enough dazzling lights soon filled the place; the show had began. The ceiling with sculpted Chinese horoscope animals slowly opened apart to reveal a holographic display of lights. Soon a huge chandelier descended, then the dome-shaped floor with sculpted Western zodiac figures opened to unveil a golden tree rising up. With apposite music playing in the background, the Tree of Prosperity made a 360-degree turn, like a ballerina in slow motion, dancing to the different seasons before it bowed down to a graceful exit, descending once more to the hidden cove where it came from. The show concluded with the closing of the ceiling and the floor.

To be continued...

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At March 17, 2011 at 7:18 PM , Blogger nirankar said...

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At March 30, 2011 at 11:25 PM , Blogger Bianchii said...

I started to write blog in English.
I will write about everything, will be a lot of pictures, reviews of books, films, songs etc.
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(Sorry for mistakes, I'm still learning English)
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At May 11, 2011 at 8:05 PM , Anonymous RingBali said...

Where is Macau anyway ? is that in China ?


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