AsiaMacau

This friggn' place is my hometown!

Macau Travel Blog

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Yes,yes. Casinos. Who doesn't know that you come here to gamble? But I don't believe so, aside from the influx of gamblers,I truly believe that there are still people who don't come here for the ugly,monstrous casinos,oh jeez, and the artificial volcano across the ferry terminal?

Macau is my home. But I haven't gone home in three years already,how I miss it!

If you're planning to travel to my hometown, chances are you've read that it's a tiny place and that most places worth seeing are the heritage sites,hotels and casinos. Well, that's kind of true. Heritage sites are cool (though crowded,like everywhere else), but not the casinos unless you like seeing a clone of Las Vegas and really have a lot of money to burn. This is not really a tourist guide, I'm just a fuzzy college student who want to tell you bits of Macau in the eyes of a local.

To see the real Macau, I suggest that you learn some Cantonese, at least the local names for places so people don't look at you with a blank face when you ask for directions. For example, a famous,populous, almost entirely touristic place officially called "Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro", or Almeida Ribeiro Avenue, is not a common name at all for us local macauese. We simply call it "Sun Ma Lo", meaning "the New Road." Sometimes, in fact, most of the time,places in here don't go by with their official Portuguese names, afterall,Macau's population is 95% Cantonese-speaking. I laugh my butt off whenever I hear someone calling Sun Ma Lo with the long boring Portuguese name translated in Cantonese...it sounds really funny in case you wonder why.

Second, get to know some local people,maybe the ones who can speak your language (if you're reading this,I assume that you speak English). One of the easy ways to do that is go to any McDonalds and start talking to young customers,preferably those wearing a school uniform. Most of us,especially the young people, are very friendly. We don't all necessarily speak English, but if you see a bunch of girl students holding textbooks in English, chances are they'd want to practice their English with you. Starbucks is also a good place if you want to find local people who speak English. An interesting fact about Starbucks in Macau: most people who go there are not necessarily coffee drinkers, but the place is considered "cultured" and "hip", and therefore you see people sitting outside the store to show off their cultureness generated by coffee drinking...because we think drinking coffee is a very Western thing and thus more cool.

If you're a bookworm, I'm sorry to say that you won't find many bookstores here that sell books in English, so supply yourself with paper packs. But there are some and they are cool, in case you wanna see how Macauese bookstores look like you can keep on reading.

Bookstores and libraries are one of my favorite places to go so I want to share them with you. If you really feel the thirst of reading, libraries are probably the best place to find an english book. The central library for example, located at Tap Sec, is a public library that also provides books in foreign languages, such as Portuguese and English. There are several other libraries in our small city (about 5 to 6?), so ask some locals and mark your map, you'll like them if you like books.

Old buildings. Need I say more? All our government advertise, besides the casinos, is the old Portuguese buildings scattered around the city. Note that there are also many Catholic churches, which make our city with one of the highest density of Cathedrals( funny,isn't it? A Chinese city with a high number of Cathedrals!) You'll see Portuguese-fusion buildings everywhere. The place where I had my piano lessons when little, is actually an old Portuguese building (now a kindergarten). It is in a place called "Sai Wan," that area is considered one of the neat places in Macau. To buy an apartment (not a house) there often costs you a million USD. Housing in Macau is getting more and more ridiculous, I won't comment on it right now since having left home for so long I don't even know the economy there now.

In general, accrding to my mother, inflation is going on and everything is getting really expensive for the locals (and maybe tourists as well!). To save your pocket (if you're a poor student like me) you'll need to visit places that are non-touristic,expesially when you're hungry. Oh,Food! I'll talk about this on my next entry since I need to go now, but thanks for reading anyway and I hope you get to know Macau a bit more now:)
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