Macau Visa Run

As a teenager, I read about China’s plans of constructing a high-speed railway system throughout the main land. The Pictures of its design and its proposed engineering feats of installation through the countries various terrains made me feel inspired. Made me feel like experiencing that level of speed and efficiency… China has a way of taking on Goliath type projects I thought…

Fast forward to August 2017. I’m seated in a high-speed bullet train on the other side of the globe from where I call home – from where I read that article in a magazine years ago! This railway system was once an idea, a sketch, a proposal… Now, here I was, comfortably darting through Southern China at speeds around 300 km/h (186 mph) on it.

Boarding the notorious bullet train

I was on my way to Macau on yet another visa run. The plan was to arrived in Zhuhai, spend the night at a hotel, cross the border in the morning, check into my hotel, explore for the whole day, then re-enter the people’s republic the day after that. The goal was to get the exit and re-entry stamp on my passport to stay in good standings with immigration. I was to do all this and avoid ANY gambling in the Las Vegas of the East!

Many options of where to try your luck at

The weather on my exploration day was perfect for walking the UNESCO Historic Centre of Macau World Heritage Site of Senate Square and the ruins of St. Paul’s Church. In the 16th century, Portugal established a stronghold of Christianity and constructed churches and buildings in the colonial European style. Mix this with Asian architecture, Religion (mostly Buddhism), and culture and boy do you have a feast for your eyes!

St. Paul’s Cathedral
This couple decided to do a photo shoot here
A main building of Senate Square and the face of St. Paul’s Cathedral
The notorious walking streets of Senate Square
The architecture is beautiful

To learn more about the history, I paid a visit to the Maritime Museum. There, I learned about trade routes of the Portuguese (and other seafarers around the southern portion of the continent of Asia and also Africa). The merchants established trade and commerce with the natives of the area and before long, China allowed Portugal to settle in Macau. The museum gives a general overview of the history of this busy port city. To get a better understanding I’d recommend your own research. Here is a good starting point wikipedia

As nightfall approached, I made my way toward the Casinos. Walking into the Venetian Casino felt like a huge shopping mall mostly. Passing this, I made my way over to the gambling area. Strolling around while sipping a complimentary tea, I studied the gamblers playing Baccarat, Black Jack and other card games I’ve never seen before. Most players were serious, some with large stacks of chips in front of them, presumably winning… I must admit, I had a desire to take a seat at a Black Jack table to test my luck and to say that I gambled in Macau.

Standing near the players at a busy table for a few moments, I was going back and forth inside my head of whether it would be worth the potential risk of getting sucked into the wormhole of ups and downs and a roller coaster of emotions. I caught a few glances from the players near me and the dealer looked at me like “Are you going to sit or just stand there?” That was my que…make my move…My hand jerked slightly towards the black leather chair for table players.

After a few more moments, I decided on the best choice – to walk away and get out of the environment. I should have not tempted myself in the first place. I’m certain my immediate brisk walking pace aroused suspicion from the guards on duty…I’m sure I looked a little crazy but that’s okay, it’s better than using my ATM card for gambling purposes I figured. I would escape upstairs to experience a replica of Venice, Italy to ease my flustered state of mind…

Gondola rides are offered
Replica of Venice, Italy?

Why was it so hard to say no?

What was that flustered state all about? The temptation was there, that’s all I know…

Overall, my short visit to Macau gave me a lasting impression of how two cultures can coincide (maybe not at the beginning of the union) with each other. I found a satisfaction when reading street signs, building names and other words in both Chinese characters and Portuguese. The architecture of European and Asian mix was a pleasure to view. Witnessing the variety of people from different nationalities felt…I can’t put it into words really…I simply enjoyed this ‘melting pot’ environment and I can only hope that I get the chance to visit this remarkable city in the future. Next time, hopefully I’ll have more time to eat more cuisine and say the hell with it, try my luck and throw a few hundred bucks on red at the roulette table. For now, the risk that I was comfortable taking was riding a bullet train back to Nanning at speeds around 200mph…

Here are a few more pictures for your enjoyment:

Rice paddies in Guangxi Province
Walking toward the Macua border crossing
Ox Tail stew with rice
Macau style Egg tart
It’s cool to see Portuguese and Chinese characters together
I always get a kick out of these small work trucks
A-Ma temple
The harbor near the Maritime Museum
Macau style Pork Chop Sandwich
Freight being transported
The Venetian
Try your luck at any one…
A few Macau bank notes and one for Hong Kong 
Looking out the window once again…