Much to my surprise, I LOVED Macau. Initially I was expecting just a little bit of Portuguese heritage buildings and a lot of gaudy casinos. Yes, the casinos are definitely there, but the historical district is largely removed so its easy to forget that you’re in the city that turns out the world’s largest gambling revenue (yes, even higher than Vegas). I spent a day and a half just wandering the (extremely) narrow, winding streets and exploring 18th century Portuguese churches, theaters libraries, etc. I was really struck by how well the city has retained its colonial architecture and that the Portuguese presence is still keenly felt. All the streets are marked in both Chinese and Portuguese, wines from Portugal are featured on every menu and every block has a small Portuguese bakery with delicious shortbread style cookies and famous egg tarts.
My first impressions of Hong Kong on the other hand… have been a little less luminous. Thus far to me it feels very, for lack of a better word, corporate. That said, it was also raining yesterday and I spent all day riding the tram downtown and mostly exploring Causeway Bay and Central. A plus side however, is that I have been blown away at how friendly and welcoming Hong Kong-ers are. Despite being in a hectic, fast paced business district people have been eager and willing to help me with directions and strike up a conversation.
Today’s goal is to find some charming local districts and of course do the whole Victoria Harbor shindig. And to eat copious amounts of DIM SUM.