Macau Chic

9 03 2013

Just back from presumably sunny Macau (presumably sunny because the sun, if it was there, was hidden behind the pollution haze for my whole trip). Macau is a mecca for Chinese gamblers and it’s glitzy (and a bit gungy) “glamour” has not entirely eclipsed the faded Portuguese colonial air.

Macau

It’s not a cycling city, and only a very few do. It is also a city not too kind to its pedestrians with numerous street level pedestrian crossings where the buses, cars and scooters don’t stop, and on the busier roads, underground passages or pedestrian overpasses which curiously seem to cause rather than reduce any inconvenience. Mostly it is a cacophony of 2-stroke scooters (a very big reason why the sky is grey and rarely blue). With all the buses waiting to ferry casino customers to and from the ferry terminals and the border posts spend their whole time idling belching diesel, the ever present stench of Chinese cigarettes and the aforementioned 2-strokes it doesn’t really add up to a place I’m going to think is very enjoyable, but Macau does have its charms. Mostly they are the variety of good restaurants, and there are a couple of pleasant neighbourhoods to hang out in, where there is a lot less vehicle traffic, Taipa Village being one of them. So the guests of the world’s biggest casino, the Venetian in Cotai, can get to the village without breaking a sweat there is a moving pedestrian walkway between the fantastically named street, Estrada Baia de Nossa Senhora de Esperanca, and the lake. If you always thought these would be  a good idea since you saw them in the Jetsons as a kid, you’ll be disappointed. You can walk faster than they go.

Pedestrian Walkway in Taipa

My favourite picture that I took in Macau was this one, where I asked a man if I could take a picture with him and his bike, a classic Chinese single gear situp with some of the tools of his cleaning trade:

Man's pride and joy in Macau

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2 responses

11 03 2013
Alastair

Interesting account, Matthew

I biked into Macau from Guangzhou in 1985 – was a bit of problem finding the border crossing in the building site that was the Zhongshan new economic zone! Biking was fairly pleasant then – on a morning bike ride I was “adopted” by a group of Lycra clad locals on their regular peleton ride, which ended at a cafe – very European even though the riders were ethnically Chinese!

11 03 2013
Matt

Alistair, It’d have been the Zhuhai SEZ. Zhongshan is the next city north (unless one has been spun out of the other). I think if you did it now it wouldn’t be as pleasant as it was in 1985.

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