Macau has an airport but I think most tourists arrive in the country by way of ferry as side trip from Hong Kong. Ferries dock at Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal where most of the free shuttle rides are located.
On our second day in the country, we visited Ruins of St. Paul and Senado Square. Macau was a colony of Portugal until December 1999 which explains the architecture of buildings. Now, if Wikipedia is reliable, it’s one of two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). PRC’s Central People’s Government is responsible for the territory’s defense and foreign affairs while Macau maintains its own legal system, police force, monetary system, customs policy, and immigration policy. The currency in the country is Macao Pataca (MOP).
There were lots of people in Senado Square which was expected since Macau’s economy is based largely on tourism. We were accompanied by Reyma’s cousin and I asked her why sometimes Macau is spelled with the letter o. She said “Macao” is the English spelling while “Macau” is Portugese. Free food samples were abundant along the square ranging from cut meat to peanuts and oatmeal and i-dunno-what-else but they were not my type. The roads were made with traditional Portugese pavement and stores ranged from antiques to McDonald’s and Starbucks.
We stopped by a souvenir store and the merchandise were cool. They sold these really cute lighters in the form of casino chips (I regret not buying). There were ref magnets and poker sets and miniature slot machines as well. A testament of the country’s lucrative casinos. Of course, there were lucky cocks. We were advised to blow all our MOP on goods since we would be leaving the next day. Apparently, HK dollars were accepted as a form of payment in Macau but not the other way around. They have almost the same value (depending on where you had your money changed).
Ruins of St. Paul or Ruinas de Sao Paolo (because we had two semesters of Spanish, hell yeah!) is probably Macau’s top tourist destination after you factor out all those glitzy casinos. Famous and historic that in 2005, it was officially enlisted as part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the name implies, the building (or what’s left of it) was the facade of St. Paul College and Cathedral of St. Paul aka “Mater Dei” from the 17th century. When we came, the doors were closed so we were not able to go behind the ruins. The place was so dense with people it was impossible to take a picture without some stranger poking in your photo.
So long sweet summer, I stumbled upon you and gratefully basked in your rays…