Last week, I went on a spontaneous, last minute trip to Macau with a few of my co-workers as we had a visiting colleague from Boston. I received a Whatsapp message that simply read, “Macau tomorrow night? ~Charlie” To which I replied, “Sure.” (More or less.)
Love the Portuguese-Chinese text.
The journey was surprisingly pleasant, due to present company. We had lots of great conversations on the ferry, including ghost stories and our experiences growing up as Chinese-Americans. By the time we were queuing for the taxi I was very hangry as it was nearing 10pm. First stop: food!
Estabelecimento de Comidas Lusitania
The food was delicious. Everything was so creamy and flavorful! I preferred the veggie dishes to the meat ones as there were too many bones in the chicken and fish. I am a lazy eater so I got a bit annoyed. Doesn’t the rice look like pizza?
After dinner, we went for a stroll around our temporary neighborhood. We walked past the giant Sands casino and saw (what I thought) were ruins. I got super excited and practically ran across the street. Turns out it was a replica of ancient Rome, maybe. I know Macau is the Vegas of Asia, but I was hoping to see some of the old Portuguese architecture, and from a distance, I thought that was it. Not gonna lie, I was pretty disappointed.
The landscape was quite strange and surreal to me. Las Vegas is a weird place in itself, but the location of the main strip is kept away from suburban life. In Macau, gritty urban buildings and modern apartments peek out from behind massive casinos and European replicates. Visitors and locals are interchangeable; you can’t tell who lives here or who’s just dropping into gamble. At least I couldn’t.
It was nice to finally walk around spacious streets with public squares lined with trees. The scent of jasmine flowers filled the air as water dripped from the branches above. Because of the light rain, snails also came out for a night stroll. The snails here were massive! I haven’t seen or picked up any snails for years now so it was lovely to reunite with my gastropodic friends.
By then it was nearing midnight so we decided to call it a night and head off to the massage parlor, where we’d also be sleeping at. A 90 minute, full body massage was 416HKD (something like that), and you can just sleep over after the massage is done. I shared a room with one of my co-workers, a small space with two massage beds and a television.
We got our massages at the same time, and let me tell you, it was the best massage I’ve ever received. I’ve gotten massages in Bangkok, Bali, Hong Kong, San Gabriel (that was the worst and weirdest), and none could compare! Perhaps it was the price as it was the most expensive one I’ve paid for, but having a place to shower and sleep over made it feel like a great deal.
My masseuse did not skimp out. She was very thorough with my back and gave me the best head massage ever. Massages are usually painful and torturous for me (my muscles are very stiff and tense), but I knew I would sleep well that night, and I did! Best sleep I had in months at that point. After the massage, we were given warm, thick blankets and I knocked out immediately. I woke up at 5:30am to shower. We left the parlor at 6.
We arrived at the Macau ferry pier around 6:30 and bought our return tickets. Ate breakfast at McDonald’s since it was the only place opened. I decided to try a typical Hong Kong breakfast of soupy macaroni. It wasn’t good. Very bland, and I personally find it weird to eat a sausage patty in soup.
The ferry ride back to Hong Kong was not as pleasant as the ride to Macau. I was really cold because the a/c was pretty much blasting me from above, and then I took a gross nap that made me feel terrible when I woke up and left me in a grumpy mood for much of the morning. -_-
All in all, my trip was enjoyable and left me wanting more! Macau often gets a negative rep around these parts because of the massive tourism and gambling culture, but there’s a local culture that needs to be explored. And next time, I will make sure I stuff my face with Portuguese egg tarts.