MACAU

A day trip from Hong Kong.

By Chad Gerber

A day trip from Hong Kong.

While Macau is known for its exuberant gambling industry — it's big casinos and the vibrant nightlife surrounding them — it also has a rich and intriguing history. From the sixteenth century to the late twentieth century, the city was ruled by the Portuguese, and this, of course, had a massive influence on culture, particularly, the architecture. Only sixty-five kilometres (forty miles) west of Hong Kong, along the Chinese coastline, it would have opposed all of my travelling philosophies if we hadn't hopped on a ferry and visited Macau.

Wandering about, we'd see random bits of Portugal woven through the city, like wine stores, street names, and the neoclassical architecture... and then BAM, we were in Europe, beholding cobblestone roads, sixteenth-century ruins, and pastel de natas (Portuguese egg tarts). The Ruins of St. Paul, which have stood in the St. Anthony's Parish area for almost four-hundred years, are probably the best example of Portuguese history preserved, though nothing is more blatant than Senado Square, which I didn't fucking shoot...

After tasting a little of Portugal, we commenced our search for some interesting look-up shots by opening Google Maps, turning on satellite mode, and scanning the city for symmetrical-looking building complexes. We found two perfect spots, and a problem — getting into the guarded properties. In short, we used some swift manoeuvres and, just like in Ha Long Bay a few weeks ago, bribes. And after all our hard work, we ended up with some fantastic shots!

Although we had only a day in Macau, we managed to learn about and see its history and snap some high risk, but high reward, lookup shots, which, with time spent in big cities on this round-the-world trip, are beginning to grow on me. Oh, and I didn't go all that way and not gamble; I played three rounds of roulette and walked away with 160 Macanese patacas profit (enough for dinner!).

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Written by Chad Gerber, Edited by Nick Petrou