Monday, September 7, 2015

A Casino Resort, Taipa Village, and a Garden: The Photographed Portion of a Sunday in Macau

I have been to Macau many times, and planned to simply enjoy myself there for much of the day yesterday. Below are some photos. They don't cover all of my day. In fact, they don't cover what I would most want to share here from a more "local" part of the city less visited by tourists. But something unexpected occurred shortly after taking the last photo below.

My camera's battery ran out. Actually, that wasn't unexpected.

After putting in a second battery, I discovered it had no power left either. Now that was most unexpected. This has happened perhaps once before during years of photographing China.

So here is a light story for the first part of my day, which offers a somewhat unconventional look at Macau:

Yesterday morning I walked to the Gongbei Port immigration checkpoint in Zhuhai so I could cross the border to Macau. Since a work day had been shifted to Sunday to allow three consecutive days off for the recent holiday, I hoped there wouldn't be much of a crowd. Indeed, although it often takes around an hour, I made it through Chinese and Macanese immigration in less than 15 minutes.

Once in Macau, I bordered a free bus operated by the Galaxy Macau — a hotel, shopping, and casino resort. The already large complex had recently finished a major expansion I wished to see, partly due to interest in whether there will be sufficient demand for the still-growing number of shopping and entertainment options in Macau.

Before boarding the bus I was handed a pamphlet about the Broadway Macau, also owned by the Galaxy Entertainment Group, promising "hot girls with fire heating up the atmosphere", pedicab singers, a uni-juggler, and stilt walkers.

pamphlet for the Broadway Macau promoting PediCabs Singers, Girls on Fire, Uni-Juggler, and Stilt Walkers

The bus took a highway down the east side of the Macau Peninsula and over a bridge to Taipa. Soon I was at the the Galaxy Macau in neighboring Cotai.

Galaxy Macau

Once inside, I found an ATM and withdrew enough Macau patacas to hopefully get me through the day. I then walked into the new east portion of The Promenade, basically a large luxury mall. I noticed a message on one of the walls, but I could not decipher it.

symbols on a wall at The Promenade in Macau

The mall itself was just like a mall, most reminiscent of a luxury mall or two in Shanghai. I noted one of the signs included a possible reference to The Hobbit. Gollum himself would have recognized the significance of placing the word "Precious" near a man's hand in his pocket.

sign with the word "precious" near a man's hand inside his pocket at The Promenade in Macau

I quickly made my way through the mall and found the bridge over a wide road to the Broadway Macau.

enclosed pedestrian bridge with moving walkways connecting Galaxy Macau with Broadway Macau

The indoor entertainment areas were rather quiet — not unexpected since no shows were on at the time. However, I could see some of the promotions, including one for a magic show in December.

sign for "Cyril Magic Up Close & Personal" World Tour

Another sign promised "Broadway Babes".

Broadway Babes sign

Whatever type of entertainment you like, a hallway promised unlimited fun, which sounds like a lot of fun. The only catch was it appeared to be behind a locked door.

colorful hallway with the words "Unlimited Fun"

I then made it to the outdoor pedestrian street called The Broadway. It didn't look anything like New York's Broadway, but it did remind me of what some streets in Orlando might look like if they had a bunch of Macanese and other Asian restaurants.

The Broadway in Macau

The area was rather hot and notably quiet —no pink scooters, pedicab singers, or girls on fire. Apparently those are part of the nighttime festivities.

So I made my way back across the pedestrian bridge, through The Promenade, and left the Galaxy Macau. While crossing the street to head to my next destination, Taipa Village, I briefly looked at the progress on the Pai Kok station for the under-construction Macau light rail.

under-construction Pai Kok light rail station in Macau

I had timed my arrival in Taipa Village to match with the opening of my lunch destination. I will refrain from posting any photos of the edacious and potatory event since I had a nearly identical experience during an earlier visit to the Portuguese restaurant "O Santos".  The food was as good as ever, and I said hello to the owner who as usual enjoyed a meal at the front of the first floor dining area. Some changes since my first visits years ago included photos of more recent Portuguese football teams and Mick Jagger's visit there last year.

After eating more than enough, the results of poor sleep the night before encouraged me seek a bit more caffeine. So I walked to the nearby Taiwanese Fong Da Coffee and ordered a "South Italian" espresso — a more special experience than visiting the Starbucks also not far away.

Fong Da Coffee in Taipa Village, Macau

As the caffeine molecules began to do their work, I briefly checked out of the small Taipa Flea Market and observed a purchase.

jewelry stall at Taipa Flea Market in Macau

Now rather thirsty due to the hot weather, I headed toward a ParknShop supermarket where I knew I would find some items of interest. On the way I saw a taxi with an advertisement for place I had visited several years ago — Danang, Vietnam.

Macau taxi with advertisement for Danang, Vietnam

Upon entering the building with the supermarket I noticed a piano sale.

piano sale in Taipa, Macau

A collection of piano music had been left open, and I quickly recognized a great piece. Bonus points if you can identify it (the answer should be rather easy for piano majors).

great piano music

The piece is beyond my meager piano skills, so I headed inside the supermarket for a treat rather hard to find in most of mainland China — low fat chocolate milk.

three varieties of low fat chocolate milk

Since I was in Macau, a land with much Portuguese influence, I bought something else also not common in mainland China — Luso spring water.

Luso bottled water for sale in Macau

As I rehydrated outside, I considered the challenges and pressures many face in Macau, and the rest of China — owning a home.

two women with a little girl walking by an advertisement for housing loans

I was also reminded of how many cats love nothing more than a big cardboard box.

large cardboard box labeled "Hello Kitty"

Soon it was time to head to my destination for the afternoon. Just as I approached the bus stop the right bus arrived. I did not take it. A few seconds later another bus for the same route arrived. I took it. My final bus stop back on the Macau Peninsula was next to a peaceful site, so I decided to visit the Lou Lim Ieoc Garden.

I spent some time at an art exhibition there — more about that in a later post. I also watched children feed some turtles and fish.

children feeding fish and turtles at Lim Ieoc Garden in Macau

I also enjoyed the garden's winding paths.

path at Lim Ieoc Garden in Macau

And I saw a number of people enjoying the surroundings.

pavilion at  Lim Ieoc Garden in Macau

That's the unexpected end to this post. I do have a story sans photos to tell about what happened next, but I will save that for another day.