Tag Archives: Macau

Riding the Ferry from Macau to Shenzhen – First Steps on Mainland China!

Today is the big day!  The day I finally make it to mainland China!

I left my hotel room in Macau an hour later than I had wanted to because I was playing on the internet.  Stupid.

I took the free hotel shuttle to the Macau Ferry Terminal and caught the 12:30 ferry to the Shenzhen airport.  Or so I thought I did.

The trip was pretty simple. There is a monitor at the ferry terminal that shows gate numbers in English. You simply go to your gate and wait for the pairing of someone barking in Chinese, with everyone getting up. That is your cue that it is time to board the ferry. Easy!

Since Macau isn’t part of mainland China, they have a duty free shop inside.  I stocked up on cigarettes (I know, gross, right??)

The ferry to Shenzhen was way less crowded than the ferry from Hong Kong to Macau.  There was no assigned seating.  I got my own row, so I got see the window view!
view of sands from macau ferry to shenzhen china

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view from ferry from macau to shenzhen china ferry from macau to shenzhen china ferry from macau to shenzhen chinaGetting off the ferry at the Shenzhen airport was not as simple as I had thought.

First up, passport control.  I didn’t have a form I needed so to the back of the line I go.

From there, you go through customs.

I have never In my life declared any items, nor do I even really comprehend exactly what that means or why you need to do this. But on the ferry was a looped video about declaring items. Although this was not in English, It kept showing pictures of  cameras.  Given my difficulties with China, why take a chance.  I had a new fancy camera, a ton of cigarettes and cash from my casino winnings on me.

I attempted to go to the counter where you declare things, but just got waved away before I even got to the actual counter.

Next up, entering the terminal. A lot of Chinese men ran up and began yelling in my face in (I guess) Mandarin.  Honestly, my immediate thought was that they were calling me fat. That just goes to show how my brain works. Turns out they were taxi drivers. I figured this out when one approached me alone outside.  See, that makes more sense.

I was at the very small ferry terminal a good 20 minutes before I realized the ferry terminal is not also the airport. No wonder I couldn’t find the luggage storage.  Now that I finally figure out I am not at the airport, I realize I have to take a free shuttle bus to the airport.  Which of course, I  have missed since I thought I already was at the airport.  Sigh.

I wait outside under the English sign for the airport shuttle that I might have seen earlier had I not been looking around what I mistakenly thought was the airport, for luggage storage.  I melt. Shenzhen is hotter right now than Macau and Macau was HOT.  It is so hazy. I feel like I am going to pass out standing there but I don’t want to leave because I am where I need to be.

I just stand and sweat for a good half hour, waiting for the shuttle that aligns with the ferry after mine.  Everyone is staring at me.  I feel like it is less that I am Western, and more than I am dripping with sweat while refusing to walk inside and sit in air conditioning.

Finally I get to the airport for real.  I am surprised that it looks so modern.  Remember, this is my first time on mainland China and all I heard before arriving were horror stories.

shenzhen airport china

My original plans were to store my luggage and go see the Windows of the World, which is a pretty cool looking park type place where you can see miniature versions of all of China’s huge tourist places.

I got the luggage storage down but could not at all ever let it go about how I am starting about two hours later than I had intended. I have just enough time to go but I don’t like having JUST enough time, especially when I am an idiot.  It is amusing to me that I am less concerned with being in CHINA by myself without speaking the language, than I am with me being an idiot.

I decide to go find the bus to the metro.  Because having the metro at the airport would just be too easy.  I’ll give me credit for trying but after waiting for the bus for fifteen minutes dying burning, I decide maybe leaving may be a bad idea.  So I opted instead to go to Starbucks and type this out on my phone. You know, since my netbook is in luggage storage for no reason since I never left the airport.

As an added bonus, my phone is on the long list of things I own that I do not know how to work so I don’t even know if this will be saved when I am done.

Today’s spending:

I used the last of my HKD change on a lemon iced tea that was both too lemony and too tea-y.  Weird, right?

At Shenzhen airport I spent:

70 Yuan ($11.40) to store my luggage for no reason

36 Yuan ($5.86 USS) for a Frappucino

4 Yuan ($.65 USD) for a bottle of soda

35.50 Yuan ($4.75 USD) for McDonalds.

I find it weird that McDonalds has American music playing in China. I also loved that the second I walked in, the cashier pulled out a picture menu, before I even got to the counter. Shih shih.

Everytime you enter the airport, you are checked for explosives.

Some first impressions of mainland China, all made at the airport: that spitting thing is true. They all hack up a pound of phlegm and spit. This is actually something I am very used to because my neighborhood has morphed from all Italian to mostly Chinese. If I had followed through my plans of a blog post of all the signs in a ten block stretch from my apartment, you would already know this. But I didn’t so you don’t.

Every person I have spoken to so far has seemed way to excited to speak to me. Like almost giddy . I’m positive one was legitimately giggling. I wonder if at any point during this trip, I will stop feeling so self conscious and just accept that this is how people on mainland China react to Westerners.

I got more sunburned today, being outside really only when I was waiting for the airport shuttle, than I did in either Hong Kong or Macau. Imagine if I didn’t use 100 SPF sunscreen?

I still have 25 days left in China and I am already upset that my trip is almost over and I have to go back home. I really do not want to ever do that again.

When it was time to check into my flight, I was a bit nervous since this was the first flight I was going to be checking into in China.  China is a weird place.  If you are planning a trip to China, you will find yourself sending money to complete strangers in order for them to book your flights and train rides.  Sure you can check the validity beforehand.   But with who?   I went with gut instinct and other bloggers.  Flights were booked via http://www.travelchinaguide.com/  and trains were booked with http://www.china-diy-travel.com/en .

When I tried to check in, the kiosk let me get all the way to the end before deciding my ticket was not valid.  Oh no!  OH NO!  As I was standing there with my entire trip flashing before my eyes with all the public transport I relied on strangers to book for me, someone came up and told me the kiosks all were not working.  THANK YOU.

A quick trip to the airline counter got me my boarding pass. Whew.

Boarding a flight in China is a bit different than anywhere else I have been.  You do not get assigned  your seat until you check in.  None of this United States crap where they charge you insane amounts for the privilege of picking your own seat.  Also, every flight I took had a full meal served.  Even the flights that were under two hours.

I went to my gate to wait.  I was on display with everyone staring at me.  At some point, it became time to board.  There was no English so I just waited a bit and then went to get on, figuring I would get yelled at if I were trying to board too early.  I did not get yelled at so I was all set.

Next stop: Guilin!

Macau, China: Ruins of St Paul’s Church and Macau Fortress

Most people do Macau as a day trip from Hong Kong.  Being a gambler, I stayed and played for a few days.  But I did take a morning to play tourist. First up was Senado Square. This was a quick walk from my hotel – Lisboa.  Some street views on my way: Macau China streets Macau walk to Senado Square The May heat meant that when I went to take my first picture, the camera was physically hot.  Also, it meant my camera did this, which freaked me out a bit when I realized the fog was inside the camera, not just on the lens.This was my first trip ever with a fancy camera and it fogs up.  Great! Don’t worry, I did figure it out and was able to get some pictures after all.  WHEW!Macau China Senado Square fountain Continue reading

Macau China Senado SquareSt Dominics Church Macau China Macau Santa Casa da MisericórdiaFrom here, it is a short walk to the ruins of St. Paul’s Church. St Paul's ruins Macao China st pauls no people View from the top: top of ruins of st pauls cathedral macau china View from the back:ruins of st pauls macau china backsideNext up was Fortaleza do Monte,  or Macau Fort, conveniently located right next to St Paul’s.

Macau, China – Loving Hotel Lisboa and Gambling in Wynn Casino

I originally did a quick recap of Macau here. Now it is time for me to finally begin posting more details.

When I left Hong Kong for Macau, my wish was to be in my Macau hotel room by 7:00, and in bed by 9:00, to gear up for a huge full day tomorrow.

To get from Hong Kong to Macau, you can take a ferry or a turbo jet.  This was all very easy to figure out. You buy a ticket and then you get your seat assigned by a sticker at the gate.  That $172 price = $22.19 in USD.

Ticket for Macau Ferry China

I wish I had gotten a window, but I wasn’t lucky enough.

Macau Ferry

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Arrival in Macau was a breeze, except there was no breeze, just burn and hot.

When you exit the ferry terminal, you walk through what Macau calls a “subway station.” There are no subways in Macau, it is just an underground walkway to the other side of the road.

Over there are the free shuttles to every hotel.

My hotel was the Grand Lisboa. I picked it because it is so beautiful and neony. This place is a huge clusterfuck. You also have to carry your bag up some steps where you are then greeted by a bellman to help you. Where were you a few stairs ago?

I ask for a smoking room (do not even say it) and this gets me an upgrade. Score!

I get to my room and instantly love it. It takes me a while if loving it before I think to look outside. Oh man, what a view!  I was so excited!

Hotel Lisboa Macau room view of Wynn Fountains China

The fountains are a fraction of the size of Bellagio, but Wynn as a whole is also pint sized compared to its Las Vegas counterpart.

Hotel Lisboa really overdoes it with the toiletries.  Look at all this!
toiletries muchDon’t forget the slippers, robe or sewing kit!  Or the umbrella.

Hotel Lisboa Macau China slippers and robe

Hotel Lisboa Macau closet slippers sewing kit umbrella and shoe shine

The room was really cool.  It had a Jacuzzi and this awesome old school radio thing that actually contained the light switches for the entire room.

old school radio light controlsHotel Lisboa Macau shower and jacuzzi Macao china

Also, the minibar was free!  Not too much of a selection but it was replaced daily.

Hotel Lisboa Macau free minibar China

If you are concerned with germs in a public pool, no fear here.  You are required to shower first:
pool letter

In addition to Wynn being right outside, I also had a view of Taipa Bridge:

Hotel Lisboa Macau room view of Taipa bridge china

I tried to play a bit in Lisboa’s casino but it was really confusing. I felt like I was going to get in trouble the entire time I was in there. I never found anything I wanted to play and then I did end up getting escorted out by security for accidentally wandering into an employee room.  Oops?

I take a shower and go out with my camera.  It cannot fit all of Lisboa into a frame because it is a mammoth. I tried walking all around to get different angles, nothing.

Lisboa Macau China

I get frustrated and hot and gross so I give up and go over to Wynn, using the “subway” to cross underneath the street.

Macau subway ChinaMacau Subway underground

Wynn sign:Wynn sign Macao ChinaWynn sign reflecting on lake Macau China

Macau Tower lurking in the background:

macao tower

Wynn has a fountain show. It is weird because it is basically on ground level, like you could sit on the edge of the lake if you chose to.

Wynn Lisboa night fountains Macau ChinaWynn Macau China fountain show Wynn Macau China fountain show Wynn Macau China, fountain show

The Wynn Macau interior looks exactly like Wynn Las Vegas, just on a way smaller scale.

Wynn carpet Macao ChinaWynn hallway Macau China

I decide to play in Wynn.  Like Lisboa’s casino, I felt like I was going to get in trouble.  The casinos here are really quiet and the employees hawk you as you walk around.  I settled in on some machine and put in $200 HKD, which is about $25 USD.  For some reason, the machines take HKD instead of Macau’s own Patacas.

I sat there and watched my credits rise higher and higher as I played.  I was sure I was up high, but I was scared I was doing the math wrong because I have never been this lucky on a slot machine before.  Once one of the scarily serious employees came over to ask me if she could get me anything, I felt like maybe I was doing the math right and I was a winner.  So I cashed out and looked at my currency chart.  Whoa.  This is $900 USD!
Wynn winI have never hit that on a slot machine before.  I am in shock.  This also means that I don’t have to go to the ATM for a very long time into my trip.   HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!

By now I am completely exhausted from my long day and I decide to use that as an excuse to get out NOW with my winnings and go to bed.

Want to read more about my gambling in Macau?  Click here.