"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Macau - Day 2, Part 2

"Look wise, say nothing, and grunt. Speech was given to conceal thought." - Sir William Osler


Day 2 - 27th February - Historic Sights of Macau by Morning (Part 2)

Exiting the Museum of Sacred Art, I explored the rest of the Ruins of St Paul's.

Apparently the rest of the ruins are still consecrated. I guess fire doesn't unconsecrate (or desecrate) a place.

Bones of the Martyrs of Japan and Vietnam

Information about the Crypt

"Please don't throw coins or garbage" (as you can see from the first picture, this sign does not work). Maybe notes are okay since they will contribute to upkeep.

List of those who disrupted the Religious Harmony of Japan and Vietnam Martyrs

They looped a recording of chanting. It was certainly cheaper than hiring monks to do the same.

Floor plans of original buildings

Looking down from the walkway behind the facade

I then exited the ruins and looked at other places of interest.

The small Na Tcha temple (1888). This honours Na Tcha - according to Strolling in Macau this is the Monkey God, but it is actually Nezha.

The proximity of this Chinese temple to the Christian church (or former Christian church, at any rate). I am reminded of a claim I heard recently: "Wow. Only in Singapore you see congregations of both mosques and churches going about doing their worships peacefully. Harmony"


Ah Ma at altar

Company of Jesus Square (Square below St Paul's Ruins)

Beside the ruins, I was very amused to see some evangelists:

Jesus loves you

The guy is chanting:

"耶穌愛你, 免費禮物送給你, 免費[?]物送給你。 耶穌的禮物是免費, [聖經?] 也是免費的。 耶穌是全[?]"
{"Jesus loves you, here's a free gift for you, a free [something] for you. Jesus' gift is free, [the Bible?] is also free. Jesus is the whole [something]"}

Some of them had jackets with "BJ" on them, supporting my observation that all the good things are abbreviated "BJ". I didn't understand what it stood for, though.

"God is Love". And free gifts too, apparently.

Next, I headed for the 17th century Mount Fortress.

Bird and Dog Toilet point

Fortress Exterior

As fortresses went, this was one of the less impressive ones I'd seen. Nonetheless, it had done its job in 1622 when it helped repel a Dutch invasion.

Portal to Fortress Proper - Porta d'Armas da Fortaleza

Nice alcove

Path up

Cannon. I declined to do the touristy thing and mount them, but it'd have been nice to use them to demolish the large ugly building you see in the background.

The Incredibly Ugly Skyline of Macau. It's no Florence, that's for sure. At least Singapore and Hong Kong have clean, modern buildings.

Bell with Coat of Arms

Cannon to shoot PRCs with

Overlooking St Paul's Ruins

I had intended to do the Protestant Cemetery before lunch, but I was slowed and fatigued by the weather, and so headed to lunch instead.

I saw one guy with a tattoo of the Virgin Mary on his shoulder.

Temple (I didn't go in)

I went to try my luck at Robuchon a Galera, set up at Hotel Lisboa by a Three Starred Michelin Chef.

I happened to go there through the underpass from the Grand Lisboa (to maximise the aircon and minimise walking through or across traffic). Fortunately or otherwise, this meant I emerged into the Hotel Lisboa in the East Wing Shopping Arcade - the location of the Shark Pit.

Even at this time, 3-4 tarts were walking about, but they still quoted me 800 patacas. So much for market differentiation.

Unfortunately not only was it full (well, Saturday lunch...) but I needed a collared shirt to get in (though jeans were alright). Perhaps if I ever go again; lunch is quite affordable at 398 patacas (~S$80) but dinner sets started at 1,588 patacas - ugh.

Walking around, I found a cafe serving Macanese food.

Boneless Hainanese Chicken Rice.
I am told by multiple sources that Hainanese Chicken Rice done Hainan Island style is greatly inferior to Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice. This is why I prize taste above authenticity where food is concerned.

Macanese Fried Rice. They told me it was Guangdong style, though I asked for local food (apparently they conflate Cantonese and Macanese cuisines).

The basic taste of the fried rice was Cantonese, but it wasn't entirely so. There was pork belly (sio bak), olives and European style sausage which looked like guan qiang and tasted like smoked sausage inside. Happily, the olives were not salty so I ate them. The rice also tasted like it was fried with some spices.

Most of the desserts in the place were variations on birds' nest, so I passed on dessert.

"Hemp flowers" - I suspect this is a translation error.

They only served warm water so I ordered this Tangerine Soda. It was literally Soda (Water) - I have no idea why (heat exhaustion?), but I was thinking of the US meaning of Soda. I should've ordered another option with 7-11. Luckily there was sufficient syrup at the bottom.

If you take out the Ruins of St Paul's and the Cross-Cultural factor, Macau is actually quite a mediocre tourism destination.

Mandarin seemed more spoken and understood than in Hong Kong (at least Hong Kong to 2.5 years ago), lots of places accepted RMB at par (I didn't recall any in Hong Kong which did), and I also saw/heard more PRCs around than in Hong Kong. The three were doubtless linked; Macau has 500,000 people to Hong Kong's 7 million, and Zhuhai is a lot nearer to Macau than Shenzhen is to Hong Kong, so they have to be more accommodating.

Macau was unseasonably hot when I was there - the temperature was supposed to be 18-23, but I got temperatures in the mid-20s. I have no idea how the school kids in sweaters and the women in boots stood it - after lunch I was still sweating, and it was only after my drink that I stopped.
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