27 Nov 2009

On vacation but still have to wake up at 6.10am. Going to catch the 8.30am ferry to Macau. from Gravity

And that was the only tweet for the day, because as I headed to Macau, I do not have pre-paid SIM GPRS service.

This was our breakfast, taken at a nearby restaurant just a minute’s walk from our hotel.

We took a cab to China Hong Kong Harbour Ferry where we boarded the First Ferry Macau ship. We bought the tickets in Singapore via the Internet and so we just went to the e-ticket counter to get our tickets printed.

We chose First Ferry instead of TurboJet because
1. First Ferry offers a free upgrade to Deluxe Class for 8.30am timing.
2. First Ferry is slightly cheaper.
3. First Ferry is nearer to our hotel.

Deluxe Class serves free food and refreshments, but Angie felt seasick and I wanted to save my tummy for Macanese food.

Halfway the voyage, my ST550 battery indicated “low”. My fault for not charging overnight, but the battery indicator was full. I should not have trusted the indicator. Afterall, the ST550 is good for only 180 shots.

The above photo is Ponte da Amizade “Friendship Bridge”, the man-made structure linking Macau with Cotai.

Once we arrive at Macau, we were advised by the tourist office to hop onto Lisboa Hotel’s free shuttle bus that will bring us into the tourist belt.

Above: Grand Lisboa

Armed with the tourist map, we just walked down the main road and traced across several tourist attractions.

Below: this shop looks so rustic that the shop owner placed a “no photo” sign. Obviously his shop is a frequent target for avid photographers.

Finally approaching the main draw of Macau: The Ruins of St. Paul’s.

Below, shot with Nokia E72. Looks fabulous!

From here, we walked back to Lisboa Hotel and checked out the casino. Angie played jackpot and initially lost almost half the capital. Then when she won back, I told her to let go, and so she won HK$9.50 (less than S$2). Wahahah. Then she went to another table to play some “wheel of fortune” thingie and lost HK$100.

By then it’s already 1pm but we weren’t hungry. I remembered there was this “Fisherman’s Wharf” mentioned in the tourist map that there are some entertainment and shopping and I recalled it was near the Ferry, so we tried to head back to the Ferry by hopping onto the Hotel Lisboa’s shuttle bus. But neither did we realise that you can only take the bus if you had a ticket, and the ticket was given free inside the casino. We went back to the casion, found the staff and requested for tickets. She thought we were free-loaders, but we indeed played in the casino. Anyway, we got it and so headed back to Ferry.

Once we reached there, we found that the Fisherman’s Wharf was actually quite a distance from the Ferry and didn’t seem walkable, so we took a public bus and got off the next stop. And once we got off, reality set in: it’s a freaking theme park!

I felt kindda cheated and embarrassed to bring my wife all the way there for nothing. So we decided to just grab a cab to The Venetian Macao, where it’s guaranteed to be happening. With no cab in sight, we walked to Sands Casino and before we hopped on a cab, decided to visit the casino first. And wow it was much better than Hotel Lisboa. They had live shows featuring a guy performer with many other cabaret girls, with cheezy songs and dance movements.

And so we left the casino and walking towards the taxi stand when we saw The Venetian shuttle bus at the Sands Casino lobby area. Thinking that we might be able to hitch a ride, we walked further, and lo and behold! There really is a shuttle bus from Sands to The Venetian! We saved our cab fare!

So travel tip: if the Venetian shuttle bus at the Ferry is too crowded (and usually is), just hop on the Sands shuttle bus and transfer to The Venetian one.

Needless to say, The Venetian was breakthtaking. And by then, my ST550 totally died, so I used my E72 to shoot.

I had a great time shopping here. Bought some shirts, pants, a watch, some souvenirs. You can use HK$ in Macau cos it’s about 3% higher value than MOP$. Technically, you lose when you use HK$ to pay for MOP$ priced items. Interestingly, some merchandise are quoted in HK$, like the G2000 I went. But when I paid by credit card, they will use the same amount and charge in MOP$. So you gain that 3%, but not withstanding the banks exchange rate.

We took the 8.30pm shuttle bus back to the Ferry terminal. Our e-ticket was pre-bought for 9.30pm trip, but it was just 8.50pm and we were already at the Ferry gate. We asked the gate keeper if we could just hop in the 9pm trip and he said no problem. Interesting, we thought. What if the Ferry was full? Perhaps they knew it won’t be.

Back to HK! Waaaa! What an adventure in Macau, feels constipated not able to go online to share my experience. Now i can! from Gravity

So we saved half an hour’s wait and reached HK around 10pm. We grabbed a cab back to hotel, but instead of heading back to our room, we walked to the nearest Guilinggao 龜苓膏 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guilinggao) stall, the famous “Hoi Tin Tong” for our nightly bowl. And also got some BBQ sticks for supper.


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