This was my first hint that I wasn’t in China anymore.
Well, that and the massive fake volcano that towered near the ferry terminal. I don’t really remember many of those in the Mainland.
In the video, a young couple is sitting in a restaurant. The boyfriend, a decidedly surly-looking character, lights up a cigarette much to his girlfriend’s chagrin. The boyfriend is promptly kicked out of the restaurant while his girlfriend flashes him an I-told-you-so look.
Moments later, the same young woman twirls around in an open field underneath a blue sky.
She didn’t look like she was missing the boyfriend much.
I have to say I knew exactly how she felt.I wasn’t missing my boyfriend much, either.
You know… my boyfriend… China.
(Stop rolling your eyes at me.)
But this may very well be my last post about China. So can you just give me this? You know, for old time’s sake?
Not that I’m making any promises, you guys. I may start mooning over photos of China should I have a few too many margaritas. And then post them on Facebook at about three o’clock in the morning. Because, you have to admit, we did kind of make for a cute couple.
Where were we, again?
Ah, yes, in Macau. At the ferry terminal.
Where I wasn’t exactly missing China much.
Probably because I’d only just left China an hour ago.I’d enjoyed my time in China, but I was ready to move on.
Even if I wasn’t really moving that far on.
You see, I probably could have swum to Macau from the Mainland. That is if I were any good at swimming. And any good at dodging gun-toting immigration officers.
I could even see China from where I was staying with a friend in Macau. When the sun wasn’t glaring off the massive sparkly casino that was standing directly behind her apartment.Even though Macau is so close to China, I assure you it is no China. (Although it is technically part of China. Or not. I can’t really say as I still have no idea what a Special Administrative Region is.)
I grew to love China. I really did. But it was a tough place to love, you know. Probably because China was always trying to kill me.
Whereas, I was instantly enchanted by Macau.
In fact, I’d say Macau was the perfect rebound.
(Go ahead. Roll your eyes. Things are only going to get worse, you know.)
5 Things I Really Kind of Liked About Macau
1. The RulesThere were plenty of rules in China. Just nobody really seemed all that keen on following them.
At first, I found China’s devil-may-care attitude towards stuff like traffic laws and no smoking signs endearing. After all, I have always had a thing for bad boys.
But, after a while, you start to miss being able to cross the street, you know?Whereas China was the quintessential bad boy, Macau was the well-behaved good guy you could bring home to the parents.
(See? I told you it was only going to get worse.)
Cars stopped at crosswalks. Instead of speeding up.
Signs all around town reminded everyone of the smoking ban. You know, in case you’d missed the video at the ferry terminal.
And there were a whole bunch of other signs reminding everyone of all the other activities that were off-limits. Like whatever this dude is doing:
There were even signs telling the dogs what they could and couldn’t do. I guess, dogs are not allowed to relieve themselves in public there. Instead, they have to use specially designated doggie toilets.
Oh, sorry, WCs.
Because even the dogs are well-behaved and speak in posh British accents in Macau.
2. All the Portuguese StuffWhile its days as a Portuguese colony are long over, modern-day Macau is packed full of plenty of Old World charm.
Many of the city’s streets are still lined with crumbley buildings the color of after-dinner mints.
Blue and white tiled mosaics adorn back alleys.
Pretty churches overlook quaint town squares that swirl in black and white.
And, of course, there are egg cream tarts.
When I was twenty-three years old.
And I took my first solo trip.
And I fell in love.
Did you think I was going to say I fell in love with an actual human person? It’s like you don’t even read my blog sometimes.
3. The CasinosMacau is often referred to as the Vegas of Asia.
Mostly because of its prevalence of casinos. Not because it’s the kind of place where you wake up covered in body glitter and tequila and married to an Elvis impersonator. NOT THAT I WOULD KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THAT.
To be honest, I’m not a big gambler.
I’m bad at math and can never remember the rules for card games.
Plus, if I’m going to throw away my money, I’d rather I get something to show for it. Like, dessert.
Besides, do I look like a girl who’s capable of maintaining a poker face?
Yeah… ummm, no.I still visited almost every single major casino in the city.
Because, hey, I may not like to gamble.
But I sure do like shiny stuff.
And swanky bathrooms.
And huge fire-breathing dragons that come out of the floor of the lobby every hour.
And cupcakes.I did attempt to play the slots once while I was wandering through one of the casinos staring at shiny stuff. But I couldn’t figure out where to put my money.
I decided it was probably best to stick with something I knew.
Like cupcakes. After all, I always know where to put cupcakes.
4. Its Size
At only eleven square miles, Macau is itty bitty.
Given its diminutive size, it’s easy to see why Macau remains relatively unknown. Especially in comparison to its glitzy, next-door neighbor, Hong Kong.
In fact, when I first announced to everyone on Facebook and Twitter that I was in Macau, the most common response was, “That’s nice. But where are you?”
After spending a year and a half traveling through massive, sprawling China, which often required hopping on trains that take twenty-four hours to get anywhere, it was nice to go somewhere a bit more manageable.In the four days that I was in Macau, I got to hang out a lot with my friend and see almost everything there was to see.
Like the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
And the Macau Tower.
And the pleasant Hac Sa (black sand) beach.
And more shiny stuff than I could shake a stick at.
(Not that I’d go around shaking sticks. I have a feeling Macau might have some rule against that kind of thing.)
5. The DiversityFor such a teeny, tiny little place, Macau was surprisingly diverse.
Walking down the street you could hear people speaking everything from Cantonese to Portuguese to French to Tagalog.
Which also meant you could get pretty much any kind of ethnic cuisine you could possibly want.
From Portuguese food.
To British pub grub.
They had it all.
And, trust me, I ate it all.
Because, hey, breaking up is hard to do.
But it’s a lot easier when you’re stuffing your face full of meat pies and cupcakes.What’s been your favorite rebound location? (Just humor me, okay?)