Category Archives: Macau

All Thumbs Up and Two Thumbs Down

If you are in Macau and you would like to see 258 fountains in action and 8 ten ton elevators that change a stage from a 26 feet deep pool to a solid floor or any depth in between within a few moments…go see the House of Dancing Water at the City of Dreams.

Spectacular!

Two thumbs up, in fact, if I was all thumbs they would all be up.

Unfortunately, I only have one photo from before it began since I was one of the few who obeyed the “no photography during the show rule”. So, you might just have to fly to Macau to see it yourself.

This show in Macau cost almost 250 million US dollars and it took 5 years to plan and 2 years of rehearsals. The creator is Franco Dragone who was one of the original creators of the Cirque du Solei shows from 1985-98. I also loved his show in Las Vegas at the Wynn called Le Rêve.

The theatre is across the street from the Venetian so it was convenient to explore. Then a short taxi ride took us back to the Macau Peninsula and to the Wynn to see their water fountain show. Here is the view of the water just before the fountains start.

I read online it was better than the Bellagio fountain show in Vegas.

It was not.

Definite two thumbs down.

It only lasted a few minutes and there wasn’t even fire or the colored water/lights! It was completely different than the youtube videos I watched of the Wynn fountain show and it was a definite let down after the amazing water extravaganza we witnessed at the City Of Dreams.

I did like the view immediately after the fountains stopped with the Wynn sign in a rainbow of colors. Notice the Lisboa (upper right part of the photo) that looks gold during the day has a completely different appearance at night.

After the fountain show we wandered through the beautiful Wynn. My favorite thing about the Wynn might surprise you. To say I hate seeing animals or fish locked up in cages or tanks is an understatement. However, after a few jellyfish stings over the last two years, when I saw this tank, I decided locked up jellyfish are beautiful and I don’t feel sorry for them at all. In fact, I was even a little happy to see them in a jail where they couldn’t sting innocent snorkelers that were minding their own business. I am inclined to believe others who have been stung would feel similarly. Maybe Denise and Cheryl will comment their agreement with me since the three of us were all stung on the same day last year…some of us more than once…and one of us in her mouth… In fact, all thumbs down when it comes to jellyfish stings.

The Venetian Macao

40 Storeys located on reclaimed land between two islands called the Cotai Strip.

It’s the largest single structure hotel building in Asia (90 Boeing 747 jets would fit inside). At 10,500,000-square-feet (980,000 m2) it’s the fifth largest building in the world…and it’s pretty on the outside and on the inside.

With painted ceilings like a museum.

And sometimes the inside looks like the outside, with shops

and busy boats

and tethered boats near bridges and streetlamps with a sky that is always blue

and a patient husband waiting and watching while I photograph this indoor world. Love him.

Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16

If you’re traveling in Macau and you would like to stay close to the historic district and on the pennisula, I recommend the Sofitel.  It has a nice view of the inner harbor, especially at sunset.

It has a decent standard room with a great bathroom. If you look closely you will see a tv above the bathtub. Why would I read a book in the bath (my normal activity) when I could watch a show about bears attacking humans alternating with a story about jellyfish nearly killing snorkelers…It was the first time I’ve taken a bath and felt more stressed afterward. In hindsight, perhaps a book would have been more relaxing…

The population density that I was surprised to read about is visible in the city view.

The inner harbor was pretty in the morning too. There were several busy small boats.

I also liked the tower of flowers in the lobby.

Here’s the inner harbor view from the taxi stand in the morning.

Like other hotels in the area, they offer a free shuttle to the ferry boats that go to Hong Kong or to mainland China. Overall, it was a nice stay except for the occasional smell of cigarette smoke. However, when we were in the line for the shuttle, a guy behind us said, “It’s Macau, everyone smokes everywhere.” So maybe that is unavoidable.

A-Ma Temple

The A-Ma Temple was built in 1488 before the Portuguese came.  The temple is dedicated to Matsu who is the goddess of seafarers and fishermen.  Wikipedia says it’s one of the first scenes photographed in China.  It is also on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

It had all the same things I usually see in Chinese temples.

Burning Joss sticks

Incense coils

Chinese writing

Circular Architecture

Workers

Firepots

Other offerings

And something new. A Chinese Singing Bowl or Chinese Spouting Bowl. It is possible I’ve seen one of these before and not realized what it was because this was the first time I saw it in use. First you wet your hands, then you rub the handles and after a few seconds the bowl starts to hum and then the water starts to dance. I was very impressed. If you would like to watch someone else’s video click here.  After a few minutes of Google research, I learned rubbing the handles causes a vibration.  The vibration makes standing waves.  When the standing waves hit each other water droplets bounce.  Depending on how you rub the handles the water can go up to 2 feet high.  Someday, when I have a garden again I want one.

She did not make the water dance 1 or 2 feet high.  Since I did not realize it could get that high, I was impressed by the 4 inches of dancing water.

Senado Square

The Portuguese traders settled in Macau in the 16th century and it remained a colony until it was handed back to China in 1999.

Random facts about Macau.

●It is sometimes spelled Macao.

●It is the most densely populated region in the world.  Are you as surprised by this as I am?

●It’s revenue from gambling has surpassed Las Vegas to become the world’s top casino market.

●It used to be 3 islands but Macau became a peninsula from a changing sandbar and the two other islands are now connected to the peninsula by a landfill/reclaimed land and bridges.

●The Historic Centre of Macau is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Here are my photos from the Historic Centre

I loved the blue and white tile street signs

Senado Square and the fountain

When you walk through this part of the square please look closely at the mosaic walkway…do not look up to the left at the Starbucks or to the right at the McDonalds.

St Dominic’s Church built in 1587. I love the yellow color with the contrast of the green shutters.

We took the steep scenic route to Fortaleza do Monte.

We were the only ones, most likely because it was 95 degrees and 95 percent humidity. We might have slightly sweat through our clothes on our walk…

Why take the steep scenic route when there is an escalator on the other side of the hill? Because I love steep streets and steps, they have so much character. And because my guide book told me to go that way (although my guidebook did not know it would be so hot). It was worth it.

The Grand Lisboa is a landmark hotel and casino in Macao. Here is a view of it through a hole in the fort, the building is designed after the shape of a lotus flower.

Another view of the Lisboa.

A view from the fort of the Sofitel at Ponte 16 where we stayed for two nights.

We did ride the escalator down from the fort to the ruins of St Paul. This building was originally built in 1582.

The Start of Egg Tarts

Eggs in Asia in general are popular. You find them on burgers, in sandwiches, on noodle and rice dishes. At almost all the hawker centers (think outdoor or indoor cheap Asian food court) you can add an egg to most dishes for a dollar. You can find salted eggs, fried eggs, fermented eggs and eggs from all types of birds.

However, in researching my recent birthday weekend plans, I kept coming across different places who claimed to have the very best egg tarts.

How did I choose? This place in Macau claimed to have the egg tart that started it all, in fact the “original” egg tart. The logo below is difficult to read but it says, “Creator of the egg tart now famous throughout Asia”. Now, I realize just because they claim to be the original egg tart maker they may not be telling the truth.

Gasp.

This could be like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand all claiming to invent satay. (Greg and I mutually decided we don’t care who invented satay, it’s delicious and we’re perfectly happy to eat it in any country and even nod our heads in agreement that they are the original satay makers as long as it tastes good).

Nevertheless, this may be the original egg tart maker, but it is not the original “Lord Stow’s” location because that was a drive that seemed unnecessary when they had a branch at the Venetian.

Now, I am certainly not an egg tart expert. But is it not common sense to ask for seconds if they bring out a warm tray of just baked tarts? And when they try to give you an old tart what should you do? Even if you don’t speak Chinese and you aren’t certain they speak English? Obviously ask, gesture or dance, whatever it takes, to obtain the hot one they just placed under the counter. Because the fuss you make for the warm just baked egg tart is totally worth it. Please enjoy the flaky and buttery crust with a warm custard filling because it is delicious.

If this is a good egg tart, what does a bad one taste like? Scrambled eggs with a gooey shell?