Macau, Àomén for Chinese people is a name that evokes charm and throws you in the ’Far East’! It is easy to get there from Hong Kong. The two towns are connected by a fast hydrofoil that in one hour takes you to destination.
Although Macao has been returned to China from Portugal in 1999, it retained a certain autonomy and to go there you need to bring your passport.
It is a place with a colonial charm that you can breathe in the old town where you can still admire the architecture of the houses pastel-colored, the streets paved in black and white stone, the ‘azulejos’, the blue and white tiles typically Portuguese , the churches in the classic Baroque style. The names of the streets are still in Portuguese but also in Chinese language. The rhythm of life seems to be slower, perhaps more on a human scale and has nothing to do with the chaos of Hong Kong. In the narrow, winding streets, there are all kinds of shops, selling dried meat, ingredients of the Chinese cuisine but also the … “Pasteis de nata”, a sweet little cakes made of puff pastry and filled with egg custard. It is a typical sweet of Lisbon!
What a fascinating “mix” of European and Asian cultures and traditions!
But … just move to the new town, to be in the heart of the “Las Vegas” of the Far East. In 2001, Beijing has put an end to the monopoly of gambling held by a Chinese billionaire and many major Las Vegas casinos have opened here their “houses of temptation”, among the largest in the world, crowded with tourists but mainly from the inland of China and Hong Kong. Lights, special effects, huge ‘gold’ hotels connected to the Casinos …
It is worthwhile spending there a day experiencing at the same time two opposite realities!