it’s funny about the perception of time, isn’t it? some minutes can feel like hours. we can flit back and forth between thinking our day (often work day) will never end, to feeling like it went by with the blink of an eye. it’s of course most common to reflect back on what you did a year ago when it is a specific occasion – an anniversary, a birthday, Christmas, New Year’s…maybe because the holidays are just around the corner, it got me to thinking…
i can remember this day, December 1st, a year ago like it was yesterday. it helps that i had arrived in a new place on my travels – Macau. i was excited to pay a visit to this former Portuguese colony, and happy the hour long ferry ride from Hong Kong wasn’t too bumpy (and thankfully, i’m not ultra sensitive when it comes to seasickness (knock on wood!)).
Macau always piqued my curiosity, mostly from family ties. the fact that there are now so many casinos (the Venetian, the Wynn, and others) didn’t interest me too much, although i am grateful for all the free hotel shuttle buses to and from the ferry terminal!
the historic centre of Macau is a Unesco World Heritage site, and many guide books will suggest itineraries for you to do your own walking tour. after jotting down rough notes for routes to see most of the sites, i spent a good part of the day wandering around, loosely following the path (ok, part of the time i ventured off was because i got a bit lost, like i always do) :)
without question, the Ruins of the Church of St Paul were mentioned in every suggested walking tour. with just the facade of a former great cathedral left standing (after a fire destroyed the building in the 1800s), this landmark is just one of many visual reminders of the European influence of colonization.
Macau is comprised of the main peninsula, islands just south of it (Taipa and Coloane), and filled in land that joins Taipa with Coloane called the Cotai strip (where you can find the Venetian). so while i spent December 1st on the main peninsula, the next day, i also ventured out to the other islands, for no visit to a new place would be complete without sampling some of the local food.
the version of the Portuguese custard tart at Lord Stow’s bakery (in Coloane, there’s also a cafe in the Venetian in Cotai) was divine. a creamy custardy centre nestled in buttery, flaky pastry – they are so in demand it seems rare not to get them pretty fresh out of the oven.
due to the tarts, it limited my stomach space, but i had to try a Macanese dish (Macanese food being a combination of Portuguese and Chinese cuisines). the fried rice at Fernando (in Coloane) was delicious, and the half portion was already more than i could eat.
as a food lover, it’s probably natural that a year later, i can still remember the taste of that amazing custard tart (and how i wish i could get my hands on one right now!). as a traveller fond of the melding of cultures, i enjoyed Macau and its unique history, knowing there holds much more to discover. for a return trip, in addition to exploring more in smaller towns/areas outside of the centre, i will also have to budget my eating better, to fit in more Portuguese and Macanese dishes :)