July2, Tuesday. Our destination this morning was
Macau. We walked to the ferry terminal and took a one hour
hydrofoil trip over to the island. Most of its modern existence Macau was under Portuguese rule
years; then was transferred over to the the Chinese in December 1999.
Although its heritage is as a trade city, today the city relies on gambling and
tourists for its economic base. It is obvious that China and Hong Kong
have left this island behind economically in moving forward in the millennium.
We spent time walking through the Old Town enjoying the
small shops and watching the masses of school children pouring into the narrow streets.
Macau is a furniture center for the region both antique and new pieces - it is
where people go to get cheaper deals on furnishings.
From Monte Hill, we were able to see the site of Sao Paulo, Church of St Paul, built by the Jesuits between 1602-1627. The church also was burned in 1835 such that its stairway and facade are all that remains of the building. Behind the facade are the excavated crypt of the church founder, Alessandro Valignano. The church also served as one of the first western-style universities in China.
The brief reprieve from rain caught up with us as we started walking back toward town. Our wanderings took us to Penha Hill, the Beverly Hills of Macau. The pastel pink homes with large yards and massive gates had great views of the city and islands. From here we wandered back down to the other side of the island where we caught a good view of the new Macau Tower, 1,115 ft, built by Stanley Ho (major casino, landowner and promoter on Macau) as a tourist attraction with observation desk and rotating restaurant. We finally hailed a cab and returned to the ferry terminal for our return trip. Although our rain gear keep us dry, it is so hot wearing it that we were soaked anyway.
Upon returning to Hong Kong, we took the Star Ferry to
Kowloon where we walked along the waterfront and then headed over to the
Peninsula Hotel for an afternoon drink.
On July 3ed we went to Happy Valley and Stanley
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