Too bad, so sad.....the weather is worse today than yesterday. Besides to low clouds, or should I say lack of sky all together, it is raining. We purchased tickets for the Hop-on Hop-off bus yesterday so we ventured out anyway. The main objectives were a tour of the city (without walking), a stop at the A-Ma Temple. Then we would venture out on foot exploring the multiple World Heritage sites of old Macau.
We left the hotel under a very slight drizzle and walked about 10 minutes to the Sofitel hotel at Ponte 16. Here we boarded the double decker open top bus. Yes, you read it right: OPEN TOP! And for those of you familiar with such tourist contraptions, this one does not have a covered lower deck. The open air is your only option even in the rain!! We were the only two crazy people there!! Luckily at another stop, we were joined by a couple of ladies. We got a lot of smiles and waves from the locals!
Just like Hong Kong, Macau is on an island and therefore real estate is at a premium. Most people live in tall apartment buildings. Some of them have very small balconies which for the most part, are completely surrounded by some sort of metal work making them seem as small cages. Even those on the top floors (20+) have the same metal work.
We passed the Red Market, a great place to stop and have a bite of authentic Macau food. This wold have been real fun, but due to our circumstances, we thought it best to bypass the stop and make it to our "higher value" targets. We ended up taking the Ponte de Amizade (Friendship Bridge) between Macau island and Taipa island which is also part of the Macau SAR. This is where the airport is located along with some ginormous hotels & casinos such as the Venetian, Galaxy Macau, and Hard Rock Hotel to name a few. They make Las Vegas look small!!
Small bit of language barrier with the host on the bus, when we returned from our pit stop at the Galaxy, the bus was gone so we had to wait another 30 minutes for the next one. We hoped on the bus and made our way back over the bridge to Macau which we could not see at all from Taipa. The sky had literally fallen!!
I have only experienced this once before where there was absolutely no difference between the "sky" and the earth. It was in 1991 somewhere in the deserts of Iraq/Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. But I digress, back to Macau.
As we approached the Macau Tower,
the top was still in the clouds but we could at least see the base now. Sure glad we opted to visit there yesterday. I wonder of the top was above the cloud level? I doubt it. We got off the bus at the A-Ma Temple, the oldest temple in Macau and a UNESCO World Heritage site listed since 2005.
The A-Ma temple was in existence long before the city of Macau came into being. It is a melting pot of Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and folk beliefs representing a treasure of Chinese Culture. While we visited a couple of people lit large amounts of fire crackers. Let me tell you, it was LOUD!!! There are multiple chambers and pavilions up along the hillside. Prayers & sayings are carved into the rocks. Large incense spiral cones are lit and provide a beautiful fragrance to the area. There were a lot of tourists with their umbrellas, but it was still a very nice experience.
By now, it was raining really hard. I had planned on walking the rest of the old city and visit the other 24 World Heritage sites, but alas it was not meant to be on this trip. We stopped and had a couple of Portuguese Egg Tarts - you must have them when visiting Macau, they are to die for!! Less than a block away, I saw the Moorish Barracks up the hill. So close, I just had to walk up there and at least take a few photos. The weather was so bad that at noon, the street lights cam on!!! I am not kidding.
We walked back to the hotel in our yellow rain coats, soaking wet but with a smile. We did what we could, had fun doing it, and accepted the fact that a full of sightseeing was just not going to happen today! It rained so much that our fingers were like prunes, feet completely wet, and pants wet up to mid-thigh.