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Sunday, October 05, 2014

Macau

I climbed the steps of the passenger ferry to its wet deck and was almost blown out by the ferocity of the wind and drizzle ,managing to  reach the railings gingerly I faced the fury of the splashing surf which hit my face .
It was exhilarating though dangerous .
I was in the ferry from Hong Kong to Macau and my daughter like the rest of the passengers was dozing off in the comfortable seats below while I lumbered up to get a taste of the sea ,after a few minutes of the Titanic experience I soberly came down to sit in the many empty seats .
It was late afternoon .
we had stayed in Hong Kong for three days touching the most important places including its famed Disneyland and the Buddha at Nong ping village though the fog hid the Buddha amongst its white folds and now we were off to Macao . read  http://hariwrite.blogspot.com/2014/03/hari-in-hong-kong.html
Macau got its name obviously from the Portugese who till 15 years back ruled it and according to their treaty with China gave it back in 1999 ,
Macau is famous for its casinos and is as capitalistic as China is communistic !
of course we all know how China turned chameleon and got the best of both these days but they kept Hong kong and Macao as specially administered regions with only defence and its major policies under them while local government managed the  currency laws and taxes ! !


The A..ma temple is one dedicated to Matzu or Godess of the sea ( Amma in tamil is name given to Durga goddess and Matsya in Sanskrit is fish )
one needs to dip into history  to realise that the whole world was a village always !,
This temple was facing the sea and had guided the ships in the ocean by its lights from its lamps and fire  ,
when the Portugese sailor Alvarado and his fleet came here in his fleet in the 1530 probably from Goa and kerala in India they asked the locals the name of the place and got the  answer as Ma ge and they probably indicated the temple but the Portuges thought it was the name of the place and Ma Ge became  Macau in their language    .
Like any smart colonist the Portugese put their foot in  as merchants initially slowly taking over the place .
For years they ruled the place in a pattern of continuous journey of conquests from Goa to Malacca in Malaysia ,Timor and finally to Macau and along with them they brought their language culture religion architecture cuisine and also sowed their descendants on these countries !



We alighted in the huge Macau port and went through immigration quickly
 it was visa on arrival ,most countries that depended on tourism had least restrictions for entry into them
we came out to a bus stand where buses belonging to several luxury hotels were waiting for their customers ,
Our West End hotel did not have one
 I just managed to call them with my Hong Kong sim and was told to get into a bus of a particular hotel as they had an arrangement with them and we did that .
We got into Hotel Sintras bus !

















Macau was a busy city with huge casinos, it was  a mini Los angeles where all major casinos like MGM had their presence
 it was raining when we got down in hotel Sintra


The spacious lobby was gaily lit and to our surprise ladies in full regal attire danced with lamps in their hands to welcome the guests !
we shied away as we were not from the said hotel !
we realised we had to walk a long way to reach our west end hotel  which was not very pleasant task as we had to drag our heavy suitcases through busy roads ,finally we reached our hotel and complained to the receptionist on their misinformation they just stared at us in response and gave us our keys !

















After quickly freshening ourselves we were off to the Historical Senado square laid with geometrical patterns on its floor ,this patterned floors in major squares was a Portuguese style and was also said to be there  in Lisbon and some south American countries
There were lot of shops as it was a touristy area and  a coloured fountain and as it was raining we returned quickly with just having a quick fried rice as dinner .
Back in the hotel we had a restful slumber as the rain lullabied us to sleep .
The next morning I could see the wharf from my window and the distant seas with boats and ships bobbing up and down it was through these waters that the Portuguese would have sailed into the country slowly taking it up to make it theirs .

























We walked to the famous A-ma temple through a city waking up to another day ,
old men and women crawled along painstakingly slowly
 small food places were already open serving hot chow mein to their hungry customers
 suited and booted executives and smart well dressed women were seen scurrying to their jobs in Casinos or in nearby Hong Kong
children waked with their bags in a world of homework's and imaginations
workers jaunted around purposefully with their tools hanging on them
the pavement shops were opening up as their owners arranged the wares .
We reached the temple after a walk of more than three kilometres
 it was a nice alcove of trees a square with lots of shops small statutes and a big crowd for that time of the day
incense smoked from everywhere and the main temple was on a small hillock
the steps ahead had several landings with smaller idols all revered with incense and candles
many prayed in these places while others gazed from the balconies at the horizon and the city that lay before them .


































Getting down from the crowd we walked back to the square which was the historical part of Macau the Senado Square .
Largo do Senado is a public square in the centre of Macau
The square was said to have been there even  during the Ming dynasty and the Portugese had their parades here ,a statue for a Portugese soldier called Mesquita had been removed by the Chinese as he was responsible for many Chinese soldiers to die during their hostilities and instead there is now a colourful fountain and the place is called the Fountain
The Portugese have paved the floors of the square with designer stones into a distinct pattern and the square has an array of heritage buildings around it like the St Domingos church ,the Cathedral,the ruins of St Pauls cathedral the museum etc and hundreds of designer shops Chinese food restaurants snack bars and it was full of bustle and activity .
The steps to the ruins of st Pauls cathedral led to its magnificent fa├žade which is the only thing left after its three major fires and the museum nearby treasured many valuable artifacts it also gave alofty perch to view the city nearby was the Grand lisboa one of the many casinos dotting the city
we went into the St Domingos church which is a heritage site and awed at its cavernous hall and ornamental altar












we restricted our trip with this small bit of history not venturing to the rich luxurious happening world of the casinos and their ambiences as we had to take a cab after a quick lunch back to the port and check in for our flight to Malaysia from Hong Kong
the flight was direct from Macau port
one got into  the ferry after emigration and transported by ferry ( almost an hour and more )to Hong kong airport port !
This  took us straight into the gate in  Hong kong airport and to our flight to Kuala Lumpur and back to Brunei !!!!

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