Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Macau--Small in size, big on charms (Part 3)

Wandering around Macau, I was in awe of the generous acres of space, especially around the waterfront. I was overwhelmed by an inner urge to roam, to run, to to yodel, to be free. Macau may be a tiny enclave, but she is the perfect antidote to people from Hongkong and Guangdong seeking respite from urban claustrophobia. I haven't been to Portugal, so I cannot quite pinpoint who were responsible for the city layout, but kudos to the planners for creating such a unique dash of space in an urban setting!

Apart from being politely accosted by ladies of the night near Avenida de Joao IV, there was absolutely no trace of the sin city image Macau has been unfairly tagged with. Instead, Macau has an undeniable charm for everyone, from history buffs to avid gamblers. While there is still much to be done--witness all the empty apartments in Taipa (not to mention the absence of Texas Holdem in a self-proclaimed gambling haven)--the Portuguese are justifiably proud of Macau. As one official puts it,"In Macau, we have the chance to write a nice ending to what once was a grand empire." And he wasn't just referring to the egg tarts.

53 Wide Open Spaces
Macau is a city of wide open spaces...

55 Wide Boulevards
...and bold boulevards.

56 Morning Breakfast
A cup of tea, a few slices of bread and a table of friends...start your day the Macau way!

57 A beautiful Claustrophic morning
A beautifully claustrophobic sight greeted me from the window of my apartment. To be frank, the building I was staying in didn't look to have passed fire safety inspection and I already made out my escape route just in case.

59 Bus stop in Taipa
Lady in red waiting at bus-stand in red, presumably for the bus in red.

58 Dog Toilet
The Paris mayor would do well to follow Macau's example and implement public toilets for dogs.

68 The grand dame
Casino Lisboa, looking a tad tired and run-down, is relinquishing its role as the premier Macau casino to swankier American ones.

69 Rows of trishaws
Trishaws around the Guia Hill.

83 Lusofonia Games
There is the Commonwealth Games for the English, and there is the Lusofonia Games...for the Portuguese.

77 Sentinel over the city
The fortress of Guia stands sentinel over the city.

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