Nothing was for sure when we realized how close we were to missing our first free international flight. The bother came due to So Myeong's and Patrik's international card application (per mandate for foreign students exiting the country). There was so much to loathe about that day. But we chose to love. Blah! So instead of wasting our time grumbling over the things that happened, we chose to think about the things we missed to plan out for Macau.
Self-we instead of loathing.
We were out of the airport at 12 midnight after solving some immigration issues between Patrik and Macau. Probably because we were sleepy or maybe because I was just playing dumb with the map, we took the wrong bus from the airport and ended up in what turned out to be the border of Macau to Mainland China.
Brothers, if you are reading this, I have to confess. I really didn’t know the bus number. Hahaha.
One thing I must say though, getting lost happened for a reason.
When I took the lead that night, there was only one sure thing, we were hungry. Nobody could speak English. Everything's Chinese. Myeong is Korean. Patrik's a Filipinized Armenian raised in Iran. Priority-wise, we were hungry. So we decided to stop by the first eatery we saw regardless of nationality issues or whatsoever.
Whilst the hotel was a bit rundown, everything else was functional. The hot shower was the best part. And there was unlimited supply of purified water. The place, albeit simple and ancient, was cozy and homy. Well… yeah… except for the bedbugs. It didn't kill me, so I've forgiven them.
Fortaleza do Monte
Ruins of St. Paul's Church
We tried out street goodies and went through lunch time with just beef jerkies. Chanced upon peanut samples too from stalls lined up on one alley past the St. Paul Ruins. Just like opportunistic bacteria.
Macau is still the same half-Chinese, half-Portuguese city region with plenty of mazing narrow alleys. Its origin is not entirely Chinese. Beyond the casinos that cohabit with the Macanese, its Portuguese touch is another thing that made it to China's Special Administrative Region. So we didn't just want to experience something Cantonese, we explored everything "de origem Português" or… of Portuguese origin. Blah!
In the afternoon, with our cameras fleeting, we decided to go to Taipa, the second half that make up Macau. Another thing I didn't learn on my first visit in Macau (package tours, ugh) was commuting. Hence, for the first time, we had to orient ourselves with the bus numbers and the stops. Details on getting around Macau were in my handy travel guide. Then we learned that since instructions in the bus are translated to English and Portuguese, it wasn't really that difficult to get around. We only had to prepare the exact amount to pay to the bus that don't give change. Plus the drivers don’t speak English by the way.
Then lo and behold, we got lost again. We alighted from the bus with nothing to expect. All I knew was that we reached Taipa when the bus crossed the bridge. Originally, we wanted to go to the A-ma cultural village, which in my previous visit, as far as I could remember, was located at the rear end of Macau. Ergo, lost was lost, we wanted things to surprise us and walked around the unknown.
When traveling, experiencing the local feel is one thing that the three of us share in common. So as we stumbled upon a random park in Taipa, we decided to stop over and look around, pry into what locals do on siesta hours, and chill. The place is beautiful. Peaceful. It made Patrik open and read his Bible while walking around. :P
Lao Tzu once said, “A good traveler has no good plans and is not intent on arriving”. He’s no god, but I love what he said. Without any bragging intentions, among the three of us, I am more of the well-experienced backpacker type. I've learned from my previous travels that there will never be a perfect plan. There will always be loopholes. Though not all the time, but most of the time (I insist, haha), loopholes give better thrills and experiences. Of how loopholes give you a better chance to understand the place you explore. That when nothing is for sure, anything can happen. And that when anything can happen, everything is possible. So without any fixed itinerary, we walked around with less inquiries of our map and travel guide and then found a much more better spot to check out, make fun of ourselves, and use up the remaining battery life, and understand the city region.
Our day was quite slow but it was good. There were still plenty of things we wanted to see but decided to save it for the next day and wait for the lights to show up by the beaver pond we found instead.
Taipa Houses Museum Area
We continued to walk around at night and crossed the footbridge to The Venetian in the reclaimed area of Cotai to check out the casinos. As we walked, the buildings around us started to light up with The Galaxy, the most recent casino resort in Macau, shining the brightest.
For some split seconds, Myeong and Patrik thought they were in Venice upon entering the The Venetian. To me, the place looked familiar, but the beauty remains the same and I still got to appreciate it.
Our batteries finally gave in.