re: Macau

Part two of my guided adventure.

Arriving at the Ruins of St. Paul was a little underwhelming, although I have a tendency to imagine things much bigger than they usually are, so don’t be dissuaded from my thoughts. Somewhat surviving three fires, it is still quite a magnificent structure to visit and marvel at its determination to remain standing throughout such unfortunate circumstances. Since we arrived around 5/6pm, the site itself was incredibly crowded, making it difficult to get a photograph without someone in the background. Instead, we took advantage of the remaining sun and relaxed on the steps with a cup of milk tea and grass jelly before heading off to the next location.

To be truthful, I was actually pretty amazed with The Venetian. There’s a certain charm to all its artificial beauty and it was fun to see what is basically a giant shopping centre structured in this way. There are real, working gondolas equipped with gondoliers to explore its artificial canals, but which we skipped on account of the huge queue and limited time we had there. A very quick breeze around the shops and a visit to Lord Stow’s for their famous Portuguese egg tart (delicious, but a little too greasy) was pretty much all we had time for before we headed back to the port to try and get an earlier ferry back.

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If you find yourself with a return ticket far later than you wanted to stay on Macau, you are able to wait in a reserve queue for an earlier ferry. At the front of this queue, it’s very likely you’ll be admitted on board! We were thwarted by huge reserve queues for earlier ferries, so ended up taking the ferry back at the original time. It’s also worth noting that you can take the ferry back to either Hong Kong Island, or Kowloon, depending on which is more convenient for you! (The ferry does not dock only in Kowloon as my friend Sandy adamantly insisted).

Although it’s only an hour from Hong Kong to Macau, I’d like to return and stay for a night or two to fully explore the city and nightlife. While the private tour was great in allowing us to see the main sights for that day, we really didn’t have much freedom to just walk around and discover sights for ourselves. I’d love to go back and walk around Macau’s old town as well as walk its strip of famous casinos in the evenings!

re: Fushimi Inari-Taisha

an accidental hike.

It was a race against time when visiting Fushimi Inari-Taisha. Although there’s no official closing time, the light of the sun is crucial for taking pictures! Being in such a rush I ended up leading us onto the rapid train, taking us three stations past our desired stop. We got there as the sun was setting, sprinting past the other late comers in our haste to get a good photo (i.e. no one in the background). It’s amazing, not only the sheer amount of gates, but also the sizes! Starting off small enough to touch the top, you don’t feel that sense of amazement until you delve deeper into the maze of the gates. In fact, following the lines of torii gates, it wasn’t until halfway through that we realised we had started on the hike up Mt. Inari. Never one to back down from a challenge, I was determined to make it to the top, much to the chagrin of my friend. It was dark when we reached the top, but there was a great view of Kyoto from its peak. While I think it would have been fun to visit Fushimi Inari-Taisha in the day, going outside of peak times proved for a memorable experience!

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The climb back down was easy and quick (surprisingly well-lit too), partly driven by hunger and the need to pee. But we made it back to the station and found a restaurant serving Wesley’s food of choice, omurice. A Japanese dish that doesn’t really appeal to me much, so I got the rice and burger instead (not that great either). This pretty much ends our first day in Kyoto, one packed full of events, but a perfect way to tour Kyoto’s landscape on a time limit!