Macao

Trip Start Aug 30, 2006
1
7
36
Trip End Feb 03, 2008


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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dan and I will travel hours for cheese.

I'm not kidding.

We've always liked dairy products--I'm a big fan of yogurt, Dan loves a tall glass of milk.

But cheese, ahh cheese. We miss Western food, but cheese probably tops the list.

Milk products are not an appreciable part of the Chinese diet. We buy a liter of milk for cereal once a week. It costs 11 RMB and is made by the "Canton American Flower Lounge."

To put the price in perspective, yesterday Dan and I had a whole meal for 12 RMB-one won ton and noodle soup for him, 3 RMB, one peanut-sauce noodle soup for me, 4 RMB, and a plate of delicious fried won tons for 5 RMB. Usually, we skip the fried won tons.

Buying a 20-liter bottle of drinking water and having it delivered to our home and installed in our water dispenser only costs 12 RMB, total.

The other day, we had people over for dinner. Scrounging in our kitchen for something to give them as an appetizer, we served Kraft singles on saltine crackers. That's about the most ghetto hors d'oeuvre I've ever seen, but the guests, all Westerners, clamored for seconds.
 
So when we heard there was a Mexican restaurant in Macao that served authentic Mexican food, including cheesy quesadillas, guacamole made with real avocados and decent margaritas, we decided a weekend in Macao was in order.

Macao, a former Portuguese colony now again part of China, is beautiful, and not just for its restaurants.

We stayed in the former red light district, in a nice but noisy hotel. From there we walked all around the downtown area, to the forts and the waterfront, taking pictures of the European-style architecture and visiting every free museum we could find. The art museum, while not free, was excellent. They had an exhibit from Shanghai of different styles of Chinese calligraphy, and some contemporary Macanese artists' work on the top floor.

The Macao Grand Prix was the weekend after, so we went to see some of the streets blocked off for that, and we heard racing crews talking in the customs and immigration lines while leaving to go back to China proper.



Macao is famous for its gambling as well, trying to style itself an Asian Las Vegas. We didn't go casino-hopping though, preferring to save our patacas for our Mexican feast at the restaurant on one of Macao's outlying islands, Taipa. We ate ceviche (pickled fish), burritos, enchiladas, chips and salsa, and drank nowhere near enough margaritas.

We are really enjoying life in China, and we love Chinese food, but it was a nice treat to venture back into a Western atmosphere for two days.

It was long enough for us to get excited about finding a bookstore with books in English, moan longingly about Mexican food, hunt for cheese and chocolate at the supermarkets, and explore some museums.

It was also long enough for us to realize how expensive and unhealthy that atmosphere can be, and feel pretty relieved to start the bus ride back home to Foshan, during which we devoured a large block of Cadbury's fruit and nut. Oops.

See more of our pictures from Macao at http://bethverde.fotopic.net!
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