3 Nights in Macau – Episode 0: Background and arrival.


Arriving streets of Macau

It’s part of my business trip to Macau and spent 3 nights photographing my visit to various locations in town and also the annual Lusofonia Festival (a Portuguese-speaking Festival).

Macau was a Portuguese Colony until 1999, they handed over to the Republic of China since then. Just like Hong Kong, it’s a S.A.R. (Special Administrative Region). Ever since i was born, i heard it from the news and people around; Macau is a dangerous place. There were gangster shoot outs, high crime rates, etc…Before the Vegas Casino Resorts business ever arrived, it’s an outdated town basically untempered. Now, Macau has already transformed into a gambling and tourism driven city.

At Venetian Hotel

Macau is a tiny place when compare to Hong Kong. It’s only 28.6km² (about the same size of the Hong Kong Island) and 39 times smaller than the entire area of Hong Kong. Macau consists of the Macau Peninsula, Taipa, Coloane and the reclaimed land Cotai. China has even rented out Hengqin New Area (right next to Macau) to Macau for further city development. So what can i say when we all are fighting for living place and personal interest in Hong Kong. I feel like we are a whole bunch of idiots. And i really wish Hong Kong has the luxury to rent lands from China. You see why population policy is so important in populated cities.

Venetian Hotel corridor

The Macau tourism used to relied on only a few long traditions, such as the dangerous road race Gran Prix and the Landmark Ruins of St. Paul. Now with the Venetian Resort, there is more than just gambling business going on in town. There are concerts, exhibitions, sport events (UFC), opera, and all kinds of international recognized performance. And how about the rest of the local attractions? They are brilliant. As a HongKonger, all I see in Macau is potential. All the old structures and neighborhoods are pretty well kept and maintained. I see the tourism board of Macau is embracing the Portuguese Colonial culture, by not destroying and removing much of the old structures. It’s making it so damn special for tourists including me. After all, It’s only an hour jet boat ride apart. It can be always an escape from reality.

The locals here are more laid back. You just won’t see the high tension life style of Hong Kong. Due to work, i got to meet and get to know a colleague who lives in Macau. He is a Portuguese which has been living in Macau for 1/3 of life. I got to experience the great hospitality from his Portuguese friends/restaurant owners. When someone says, you can understand a great deal of foreign culture by dining and eating together with the locals, i can’t agree more. I indulge myself time and time again in the authentic Portuguese Cuisine. Macau is the little Europe in East Asia. Besides the Portuguese cuisine, there’s also the Macanese cuisine, a type of  cuisine prepared with both Portuguese and Chinese ingredients due to the lack of resources in the past. This type of cuisine can only be found in here. The local Portuguese adapted by using alternative ingredients and methods for food. I hope this tradition can still pass on to the new generation. I have heard the Portuguese population is shrinking by factions year by year. There’s sign of climbing back up because Macau is slowing turning into an international city.

The eye contact

The main form of public transportation are taxis and buses. Either you go out by taxis and buses, or on foot, or you don’t go out at all; unless you got local friends with cars or scooters.

The Journey
One of the biggest international business events – Macau International Trade and Investment Fair (MIF) was what I was there for. I spent all day during my stay at the Venetian Resort Exhibition Center. It’s my second year attending the event with another whole new mentality – photography in Macau.

Shadow of a model

The first day of the opening was not opened to the public, so I wasn’t busy and got time to walk around near where I work. This year there’s a section for photographic equipment. It was nothing big last year. But this year that section got expanded. Even the official Leica authorized importer of Hong Kong attended. I got to touch a Leica MM. I wish there’s battery in it. There’s also, Fuji, Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Sony. I bet you must be thinking about the RX1. I didn’t Sony displaying that. There was also a runway for models. That’s when I got excited! There were many Chinese models rehearsing. Some of them were so attractive. Maybe I should stop here or I’d not stop typing about the models.

A Chinese model rehearsing

Sexy model

There were also traditional dance performance from Taiwan and inner China. They dressed up with their traditional costumes. That called it a day.

Traditional dancers

Dance performers

I had my dinner with colleagues at Dom Gallo, a Portuguese restaurant serves up the popular traditional cuisine. It was a happy night I must say. I even gone for a drink with the other two guys around the corner of the Macau Lan Kwai Fong.

In the car

I snapped a couple other photos at night while commuting back to the hotel. I did not go out for the rest of night. It was already 12am.

Continue tomorrow for Episode I.