We got into Hong Kong, and walked around for the day with Annemarie’s cousin Melissa and her husband Simon. She showed us the area in which they live, Sheung Wan, and then took the Star Ferry (infamous ferry in HK) over to Kowloon. We finally got to have some Dim Sum, which never crossed our path while in Beijing. While over in Kowloon, we stopped by a tailor that Simon uses to get custom suits made. I figured while in Hong Kong, I must get one made and get my measurements on file in case I want another one in the future. The lady that he uses seems to be pretty well known, and the only store in the area that didn’t have a guy on the street begging you to get one made and follow them to their place of business. This particular shop makes lot of suits for military when on leave in HK, as well as commercial airline pilots, and at least a couple of celebrities.  Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jennifer Lopez both had thank you letters on the wall.

After that we walked around a bit more, tried out the local subway system called the MTR, which was great as it took you between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, as well as to the airport. It’s also extremely cheap just like taxi’s in HK, but the budget gets a little out of whack from there as HK is not the cheapest place in the world. Melissa also took us to the KCC, Kowloon Cricket Club, which has its own ground and it quite nice. It’s one of few club’s in the city that still has their own playing field, as many have sold their land to developers to put up more buildings, seeing empty land here it at a premium. Most apartments that are for sale in Hong Kong average around $1,000 per square foot!

On our first full day, we decided to knock out two of the biggest attractions in Hong Kong: a day trip over to Macau, and a journey up to The Peak to get the best skyline view of the city from above. We hopped a boat called the TurboJet from the boat terminal and headed out to Macau, which was about an hour ride. Macau is the Vegas of SE Asia, and the locals along with the Chinese from the mainland, LOVE to gamble. There were not many other people on the boat that didn’t have luggage who were heading over to Macau for something other than a gambling holiday. It was ridiculous. I’m not a fan of Vegas, and as soon as we landed in Macau, I knew I probably wouldn’t dig this place either.

We got to Macau, and headed through immigration and customs, because if you didn’t know, Macau is pretty much it’s own country. Until recently (I think within the last 10 years), Macau was a territory of Portugal. It has since been handed over, but is still not considered part of mainland China, just like Hong Kong or Taiwan. We stepped outside the terminal, only to be faced with about 100 rickshaw drivers who wanted to take us…..anywhere! We passed them by, as we had gotten pretty good at ignoring people in Beijing. We walked down the road to see the mass construction that is happening there. Lots of hotels going  up, and these hotels are big. Wynn already has two hotels there, and the Venetian in Macau is three times the size of the one in Vegas. For those that have been in the Vegas Venetian, you can imagine how big and ridiculous this hotel is. They also have a hotel called the Grand Lisboa, which is a mammoth replica of a lotus flower, which is found on the Macau Flag. It is the gaudiest thing I have seen in Asia, let alone anywhere. You can agree or disagree:

Grand Lisboa Casino in Macau

Grand Lisboa Casino in Macau

After passing all of the hotels, we finally hit the historical area of Macau…..unfortunately most of it is under construction or is being torn down for new buildings. The only thing in Macau that is from the past that is preserverd are the old pedestrian roads and the ruins of St. Paul’s Church. The ruins are going to be ruined in years to come if they continue to allow tourists to climb all over it, but at least we saw it before it falls down. You can see a sample of the roads below, which looks like a small street in Europe, and the ruins of St. Paul, which many people have probably seen pictures of but never knew where it was:

Cobblestone Streets and Euro looking architecture...rarity in Macau now

Cobblestone Streets and Euro looking architecture...rarity in Macau now

ruins of St. Paul

ruins of St. Paul

I’ll fill you in on the peak in the next post, as well as the rest of Hong Kong. By the way, on our walk back to the boat to get back to Hong Kong, I made us take a wrong turn, and it ended up that we walked the Grand Prix of Macau. It’s a regular road 364 days out of the year, and then is used for the Grand Prix race on the other day, so safe to say there are no exits on the road except in one area, or sidewalks for that matter. Lets just say that was an interesting walk, and when we finally got to an area that was a bit more open and had cabs, he took us right back to where we started, and took the right turn, which took us to the boat terminal in minutes. I don’t think we’ll ever be visiting Macau again 🙂

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