17.7.14

A day in Macau - part 2

As I was explaining in the last post, we arrived to the A-Ma Temple, next to the Maritime Museum in the southern part of the Macau peninsula.


The temple already existed when the Portuguese arrived and it was also described in ancient Chinese texts. It consists of the Gate Pavilion, the Memorial Arch, and several prayer halls dedicated to the worship of different deities in perfect harmony with the natural environment.The Temple is a perfect example of Chinese culture inspired by Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and multiple folk beliefs.
The front façade features a moon gate, elaborately trimmed in granite and is richly decorated with colourful wall sculptures as well as delicate ornaments under the eaves.




Around the corner from the A-Ma Temple, we stopped for lunch at the Portuguese-inspired restaurant A Lorcha. It was the first place in our Asian trip where we found forks and knives in our table and not the usual chopsticks - which I was starting to master.
We had octopus salad as a starter, good but too much garlic and onion, then clams with garlic and yummy prawns A Lorcha style, judge by the photos, they were all as delicious as they looked. All paired with a fresh Alvarinho wine (190 MOP), total for 2 was 502 MOP including the wine (about 46 euro). Atmosphere was nice, there were some tourists but also local families having lunch, Portuguese cuisine, delicious seafood but perhaps a bit too much garlic in some dishes.


After that we took a cab (poor cab woman with our garlic breath!) to the Venetian Macao, the world's biggest casino. As I was saying, Macau is a hot destination for gambling, with many Chinese and foreigners coming everyday to try their luck in the city's many casinos. Besides the "traditional" casinos like the Grand Lisboa, the Sands and the Wynn in the south part of the peninsula, the new casinos are being built in the Cotai strip, which is connected to the peninsula by some bridges. Here you can find the Venetian Macao, the City of Dreams and others that are also being built as you read.
Something we didn't know, there's no Texas Hold'em poker in these casinos (there's probably something at the Grand Lisboa but we didn't go back there), so we just wandered around and played some roulette. The casino is obviously huge and they have lots of slots and other games that we were not familiar with - even the roulettes were strange, with smoke coming out of the roulette as the ball stopped, it didn't seem fair not to be able to see where the ball stopped with the smoke so we moved to a classic roulette table.
After the casino, we walked around the shops and stopped at the Venetian branch of Lord Stow's Bakery for some typical Macanese pastéis de nata (egg tarts), delicious crispy tarts with a soft and sweet filling. Prices of shops were the same as what you would find in Hong Kong so we didn't do any shopping, just looked around and then took a cab back to the Ferry Terminal when we were done. (there are some casino shuttles which can take you back to the terminals but we had time and also some Patacas to get rid of so we got a cab). We bought a ticket for the next Turbojet ferry at the terminal and were back to Hong Kong by 8pm.
It was an excellent day trip from Hong Kong and although we were expecting something more from the casinos (perhaps we thought it would be a copy of Las Vegas), we had a great time exploring the city and the sights and we had delicious seafood.

A-Ma Temple
Largo da Barra, Macau
http://www.macauheritage.net/en/default.aspx
Opening Hours: 07:00 -18:00

A Lorcha
289A Rua do Almirante Sergo, Macau 
Tel. +853-2839-3193
Opens daily except Tuesday from 12:30-3:00pm; 6:30-11:00pm
https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Lorcha/150676078311322

Venetian Macao
Estrada da Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança, s/n, Taipa, Macau
Tel. +853 2882 8888
https://www.venetianmacao.com/index.html