Day one. The morning ferry to Macau.
Not surprising really but even with the aid of a map I keep getting lost. After a satisfying breakfast of soup with fried egg, ham, noodles and some sort of green leafery in it for about 40 cents US I headed for the Macau ferry. My concierge changed his mind about the Visa, apparently Brits don’t need one to enter Macau.
Walked and walked until I ended up on Austin Street, I recognized it from the airport bus ride last night and thought, this ain’t right. Reversed route and then found the right building emblazoned with huge letters China Ferry Building. How did I miss it ? Joined the 10.30 ferry line and looked about, everyone was clutching a ticket. Bailed from the queue and found the ticket office, bought ticket and rejoined embarking line. Went through immigration, found correct dock and then MISTAKE.
With 20 minutes to go before sailing I looked around for a loo, saw sign, got on elevator, noted floor number one and descended. No loo. Went to top floor, no loo. Then, oops, couldn’t get back to floor one. Obvious really as I would have avoided Immigration. Raced down the Arrivals Concourse thinking I’m about to get arrested for illegally arriving before I had left ! Explained situation to Immigration Lady, got the “foolish foreigner” smile and was escorted back to Dock 12 on floor one through all the security doors. Phew.
Off to Macau. Well it’s no Staten Island nor even a Larkspur to San Francisco ferry. It’s all enclosed, you can’t get outside. Very disappointing. The sea was quite choppy, people were sick and I didn’t see a Junk. Arriving in Macau I was confronted with huge Sands and Jai Alai casinos and thought uh oh, this ain’t for me. Reminded me of the famous quote from one of those Brit sisters, the Mitfords, about a certain Bay Area City, but better not go there for fear of offending.
The afternoon was quite eye opening. I took one of the famous Star ferries across the harbor to the Central Pier in Hong Kong, what a tremendous experience. It was rather like riding on British Railways back in the days of steam. If that doesn’t help, think Harry Potter. All polished mahogany, mechanical cranking noises, the smell was amazing.
Then a long wander through the streets and back alleys of downtown. The juxtaposition between the old and the new is what struck me the most. Seeing Bentleys parked outside what appeared to be falling down tenements, besuited bankers perched on street stools eating lunch, on their phones, stilettoed secretaries
tackling steep uneven alleyways, it was all sensory overload.
The noise is overwhelming, everywhere there is building, cranes, cement mixing, hydraulics and that on top of the horrendous traffic. Double decker buses grinding uphill, flying through intersections, trams, clanging, pedestrian crossing buzzers. Quite a cacophony.
Returned to hotel in Kowloon to spend some time keeping in touch and tea ! I can’t say enough about Skype, though additionally the Tunein Radio App is really useful, I can listen to KALW and KQED from back home in the Bay.
Off now to watch the Orchestra of Lights and find dinner.
What a stimulating day and never a sight of a Windows PC !