On the other side

 

We felt we’ve seen what there is to see in the old part of the city, so decided to venture over to Taipa this morning.  Formerly a village and rather rural area, it’s now the site of a great deal of development on reclaimed land and unsurprisingly, quite a few very large casinos.

 

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We’d taken the recommendation offered to us by several people, to get tickets for a performance of the House of Dancing Water show. The theatre for this was also in that part of the city early this evening, so the day had more or less planned itself by the time we set out this morning.

 

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Our first stop was the little row of pale green houses, now the Taipa Houses Museum.  Although they were interesting, they didn’t keep us very long. The first had been left as furnished in the style of the time, “as if the family had just stepped out”.  The second, above, was used for a display of costumes and traditional dress and was probably the least interesting of the three. 

 

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The third held an exhibition of postage stamps and first day covers with some information about the artist whose designs have frequently featured on them.  We’d noticed a great deal of interest in things philatelic and it was good to see this colourful exhibition of charming watercolours so well displayed.

 

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Outside, there was a kind of lake between where we stood and the new “Cotai Strip” casinos and hotels.  Formerly this had been the coastline, as we were able to see from photographs of the original houses.  Now it was a small park and we strolled through the trees hoping that at some point, the way around the lake would become clear.  We were headed for the terracotta block in the photograph, actually “The Venetian” hotel and casino, where we thought we might spend an interesting hour or two.

 

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As it happened, we were more or less led by the hand there, because just on the edge of the park was a moving walkway to whisk us the half mile or so to the Cotai Strip and a few steps away from the Venetian.  We smiled as we got close enough to see the detail in these themed buildings…how strange is this?

 

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Outside the hotel was chaos in the form of a bus terminus with shuttles taking people all over the place.  Long queues stretched from door to bus stop, a complex queuing system was in place and it appeared that most of the population of China was there, not only waiting for a bus but shouting to their friends to tell them about it too.

OK, slight exaggeration, maybe only half of the population of China seemed to be there at the bus stop, because it seemed as though the other half was inside.

 

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This was an enormous place with miles and miles of corridors. Anyone who has been to Las Vegas will recognise the layout, though our guidebook claims this Venetian is three times larger than the Vegas one.  Who am I to doubt that fact?

 

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We followed the signs to St Mark’s Square, where sure enough, the “sky” cleared and we found ourselves in a kind of fantasy.

 

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When the gondola sailed past, that was confirmed (though we spotted the accelerator pedal under the gondolier’s foot and the little propeller underneath.  We weren’t fooled by that oar he was holding!)

 

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We stopped for a drink in the square, pottered around the “streets” and up and down escalators and moving walkways until we had had enough of the noise, the smoky atmosphere in some areas and the general hubbub. Quite how to escape was a challenge, because the place was so huge, but we headed towards the door we’d come in and somehow managed to navigate our way out again.

 

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There were so many of these vast walkways, lavishly decorated and spotlessly clean, but ultimately, overwhelming.  All we wanted was to sit down in some peace and quiet and gather our thoughts.

 

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We found that place in the quiet of the Hyatt hotel lobby, though no sooner had we sat down than the pianist and his partner began to play some traditional Chinese music.  Not altogether the most relaxing or soothing of music, but hey, we had a pot of tea and a pastel de nata to be going on with!

 

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Time to make our way to the Water show then, and better still, to meet Ellis and Mary, our friends who will travel with us for the next three weeks!  They’re staying in Hong Kong and came over to Macau today for the show.  How good it was to see them again, to catch up on their news and celebrate the reunion of the “splendid six” – Trivia team extraordinaire!

 

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The show was every bit as good as we’d hoped, if not better.  Spectacular trapeze, diving, swimming and acrobatics both in and out of the water, we loved it.

 

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There was clever use of water, both in the form of fountains and jets as well as the central pool appearing and disappearing as the levels changed throughout the show.  We had terrific seats with a great view of everything – we didn’t miss a single trick!

 

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After the show, Ellis and Mary returned to Hong Kong on the Turbo Jet and we headed for the Chinese restaurant where we’d booked a table earlier in the day.  We’ll all meet up again on Tuesday, but for now, we went our separate ways and Allan, Jane and the two of us enjoyed one of the best Chinese meals we can remember – boy, were we hungry!

That will wrap Macau up for us, then, because tomorrow morning we’ll head back to the ferry terminal and make our way to Hong Kong for a few days before joining our ship on Wednesday.  We’ve loved our time here and have been so happy and comfortable in our lovely, casino-free hotel!  For now, though, all that remains for me to do is to pack my bags again.

See you in Hong Kong tomorrow.

14 years on

The China Dress