Macau - Portuguese China.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
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Trip End Dec 31, 2018


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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The man strode purposefully into the park with a tiny round bird cage tucked under his arm. Where was he off to we thought? After a few moments we decided to follow him and spotted him sitting with his bird on a garden wall chatting away to it. Fast forward 15 minutes in which time we had wandered through the park and we spotted him again - sans the bird! What had he done with his bird? We watched for a while as he put crumbs on the ground and we wrongly concluded he had lost his bird and was trying to get it back. But it all became clear as we moved towards the park exit. There in a tree were purpose built hooks and birds in cages. Macau residents actually take their birds for exercise (in their cages!) in the park and for fresh air and companionship (for the birds!). He had hung his feathered friend alongside the others for a little bit of social interaction outside of apartment life, then wandered off to talk to some of the park birds.

The one word that comes to mind when recalling our experiences in Macau is - exercise!

The natives of Macau take exercise very seriously indeed, and parks are set up with amazing circuit gym equipment free for all to use. There are jogging tracks and parks to do Tai Chi and parks for the birds as mentioned.

Macau is an unusual mix of cultures with evidence of the Mediterranean influence of the Portuguese blending in with the dominant Asian. There are cobbled streets and architecture that is so Portuguese it feels that we have been transported back to Europe. Macau's rich European history is 300 years older than Hong Kong and it was an important trading centre for Chinese merchants who were forbidden to leave the country but could trade with the Portuguese on Macau. Since 1999 Macau has belonged to China as a "Special Administrative Region".

Macau is famous for two other things and they both begin with G - Grand Prix and Gambling. Each year in November the streets resound to the roar of the racing cars but all year round the jangle of slot machines can be heard as the Hong Kong gamblers come in their droves to try and beat the casinos. Not being in the slightest bit interested in gambling we have to admit we didn't actually set foot in a casino but we did walk for a little on the Grand Prix track.

For our two days spent at Macau we walked everywhere to see the sights, including up two peaks which required quite a bit of energy. And every now and then we couldn't help ourselves and tried out some of the Macau gym equipment along the way. It is winter in Macau now and so the temperature is quite suitable for getting plenty of exercise.

The comfortable ferry that took us to and from Hong Kong was the first ever we have travelled in that has seat belts for the passengers. It felt like being in a bus but watching water go by out the window.

Footnote: The Historic Centre Of Macao is UNESCO World Heritage listed.
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