Last August I had the opportunity to visit Macau for work, spending four nights staying at the Four Seasons for a conference I’d been invited to speak at. It was such an incredible experience, being the first time I’d spoken at an event of this size and the location was nothing short of amazing. Having never travelled to Macau previously I hadn’t experienced the melting pot of cultures that manifests itself in the architecture, food and culture of the “Las Vegas of Asia”.
I had one free day whilst I was there to explore and rather than spend my time in the glitzy casino district I jumped in a cab and headed to Old City for the day to get a feel for the traditional side of Macau, which is a mixture of old Chinese culture and the influence of Portugese colonies in the sixteenth century.
I asked the cab to stop at the Ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral which seemed like the best place for me to start out my journey on foot.
Walking through the streets the contrast between the Portugese and the Asian was simply astounding. This was my first real experience of doing any kind of travel or sight seeing without the luxury of having an internet connection on my phone and whilst I got a little lost and turned around from time to time, I think I did a pretty good job of navigating the streets and alleys of Old City to get a first hand view of some amazing architecture, churches and theatres.
The most stressful element was attempting to get myself back from Old City to the Four Seasons in order to collect my things and get the ferry that would take me to Hong Kong and then the airport. I didn’t give myself nearly enough time to factor in that for some reason I couldn’t seem to hail a cab. I had remembered seeing that there were cab ranks on some city maps I’d walked past on foot, but once I needed to remember where they were – or attempted to orientate myself without the visual cue (not one of my finest skills) – I found that I had gotten myself quite lost. Despite being turned away a number of times I managed to find myself a cab eventually and headed back to the hotel and then the ferry with less than 5 minutes to spare before the ferry departed.