We started off day one travelling to the budget terminal to catch a Tiger to Macau. Considering that the flight was at 6, that meant that we had to be there an hour earlier, say 5? Grab a cab at say 4? and wake up at say 3? 3am in the morning, and a zombie started preparing for his visit to the land of the dead...I mean casinos. We called a cab and got to the terminal in time, perhaps a little too early. Getting there early actually meant that you'd get a seat at the back of the plane (the fill up from back to front) and us being one of the earliest, meant that we were the nearest to the rear end.
Not that I am afraid of getting off late, sitting at the back did have a certain perk that we learnt to avoid. You see, in the plane itself, there were only 2 restrooms...one at the front, and one at the back. And considering that some people might get stomach problems after boarding the plane, sitting at the rear end meant that we get what 'Famous Amos' provided.
One thing that really caught my attention though, was the proficiency of the airport staff... not that they were fast in checking us in, but one second she was there giving us our tickets, the next she was there collecting the tickets from us!! Either she has a twin sister working at the same terminal, or she has bionic limbs that could travel faster than we could walk to the gate.
Finally, we were on board and on the way to a well deserved holiday!! 3 days of Blackjack, Roulette and Poker!!! 3 days of Portugese Egg Tarts, Pork Chop Buns and Almond Biscuits!!!
Macau was always an excursion off of Hong Kong; a one day extension and you'd have covered most of the places you'd want to visit. Most people spend like half a day there, unless their motive is to gamble at the casinos. We had 3 days there, so it was a "eh, wat are we going to do next ah?" kinda trip. We booked the Venitian, the new hotel at Taipa that mimicked Venice in Italy. We reached the airport, caught a cab to the Venitian and checked in.
The architecture of the hotel was impressive. Everything seemed to be coated in gold.
One thing we noticed was, in order to get to the rooms, you had to pass the casino. In fact, in order to get anywhere at all, you had to pass the casino!! I guess this is one of their strategies to make people spend more time at the casino. But it sure is irritating when you just want to go to the conceirge and you half to walk pass the casino just to get to them.
Made our way through the casino with our luggage. Wow! At first sight, the rooms were really something. I could've just stayed at the hotel room for 3 days, and that'd make a great holiday!
We asked for twin queen beds... which would be a lot bigger than if we had a single king size. Each room had like 2 TVs! We each took one TV and were on different channels the whole time.
There was a fax, copier and printer with dedicated broadband set on one side of the room. Man, da boss will love this place.
A huge bathroom (well thats normal) with a room catered specifically for...err... its personal.
After lazing around long enough in the hotel room, we decided to have lunch and move out. We opted for a simple lunch at the Festivitia Foodcourt which was at the Grand Canal Shopping Centre connected to the Casino. I tried ordering duck rice, but the lady said they dun sell duck, they only sell goose. If you notice the sky in the picture below, you'll see the same sky at night, cause it's made of canvas.
Okok...enough of the hotel. We had lunch and decided to look around Macau. Macau consists of a few islands connected by man-made bridges. Taipa (where our hotel is) is connected to Macau Peninsula by Macau-Taipa Bridge, Friendship Bridge and Sai Van Bridge. The cable stayed bridges look really impressive.
Travelling in Macau is pretty much by cab or bus. I'm definitely biased in recommending that u take a cab instead of the local transport albeit the price being a lot steeper. We caught a cab to Largo do Senodo, without knowing that it was the Senate Square and walked over to the Ruins of St Paul. The ruins were protected since 2005 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is a steel staircase at the back of the facade that allows tourists to climb up to the top. Within the ruins, there is also a crypt and some artifacts.
From the ruins, we made our way to Mont Forte, which was directly opposite the ruins. After looking at some cannons, and some aunties climbing trees for a photograph, we walked back to find our way to Largo Do Senodo. On the way back, we visited 'Choi Heong Yuen' and 'Koi Kei', 2 places famous for their Almond Biscuits.
The shops are full packed with tourists, grabbing whatever biscuits they could get their hands on. It was a little suffocating, but I guess getting the biscuits should be worth it. On a different note, for those on a budget.. buying a softdrink outside costs MOP8 whereas within the shopping area, it can cost up to MOP25 per cup... that is about SGD5 per drink. We also had a portugese egg tart outside Koi Kei. Yumm..
Having done the central area, we decided to move on to the Guia Lighthouse. Nothing much there actually, except that our taxi driver dropped us off at the bottom of the hill and made us walk, whereas we keep watching other cabs drive up to the top. But, it does have a good view of Macau from a high vantage point.
We headed back to the hotel to rest. And then realised that the toilet was stuck and needed plumbing. Can't really blame the hotel though. These things do happen. (Thats what I thought at first).
The next morning, I was looking forward to a good breakfast. The hotel boasted the biggest restaurant in Asia or something. Ya, its kinda big, but the food really suck leh. If you go there, forget about getting breakfast included. You'd do better at McD or Starbucks.
After a half filled breakfast, we headed out to our next destination. We had 2 items on our itenary for the day: Macau Tower and A-Ma Temple.
We paid like MOP60+ per person for entry to Macau Tower. Though we were skeptical that we'd see much from the tower, but being on holiday, we went in anyway. Bought tickets to the observatory for Macau Tower. (Note: You can actually pay MOP460++ for an attempt at the Sky X Dive or something... I think its like bungeeing off the Tower. But seriously, I'm really not that adventurous).
The view from Macau Tower is much much better than that at the Guia lighthouse. Up at the tower, they have a touch screen that allows you to send postcards for free though. I think I sent myself 3 cards.... hehe
At the end of the visit, we went downstairs and had a tea break. I saw the 'chu pa pow' or pork chop bun on the menu. The bun costs only MOP10!! Or SGD2!! Considering that the next cheapest on the menu was like MOP25, this was like cheaper than mineral water! And when it came, it really came with fries and vege on a nice blue plate. Was one of the better things we ate there. Yummm...
We headed off to A-Ma Temple for our last sight seeing destination. A-Ma Temple is a tribute to Goddess A-Ma, who gives her blessings to the fishermen. In Macau, they pray to A-Ma and Guan Yin.
After completing our visit, we headed back to the hotel for some light window shopping. We went to a makeshift St Marks Square and watched some gondolas singing and bringing passengers through the shopping area.
Ended our day with a late in-suite dinner. We were planning to have dinner outside, but the door to our hotel room clouldn't be closed and it took ages for the maintenance guy to arrive. Ended up having Crab Meat with Yee Fu Noodles and Suckling Pig for dinner instead.
The next day, went to the casino to do some donations, then headed to the airport and back to Singapore.
Turns out that someone posted an article on the newspapers saying that the buildings at our area might double in purchase price. Joke was that 1) those that wrote the article were probably real estate agents that had a vested interest in increasing the unit prices, 2) price increases due to existing information like the IR and cost of materials were already factored in the current pricing, 3) what they wrote in the article everyone already knew 6 months ago.
So, after getting the place for over half a year... everyone reacts because the newspaper publishes a stupid article? Oh well, really shouldn't complain, cos the more people believe in such news, the more the price of my unit will appreciate!! hahaha.
At times I wonder, why there seems to be so many birds flying with me. And at other times, I wonder if everyone else had as many birds as I do. But seriously speaking, I guess its a blessing to have a little bird whisper something to you...
I can't even start to make a list of the whispers I've gotten. And most of them do sound like quotes from some anectode.
Oh well, just count my blessings that they're there for me...
Then there was the Australian and New Zealand reps, who were just pure accomodating. When I requested for some info, they automatically responded with tons of explanations. The Australian rep even whipped up a couple of books and passed it to us on the spot. The Japanese chap seemed a bit young. He looked like one of the leads from "Death Note", but I guess he had to keep his cool, because he was representing Japan and he was the only one there.
My Singaporean counterparts were no less warm. They were trying for the past 3 days to make me do public speaking. They tried so hard to make me speak. Once, they tried and I looked at the chairman and said "Me no know English" "Me from China"..... everyone broke out in laughter and the chair from Korea automatically got my hint and pointed at the Phillipines rep. Round 2 and they were ready to try again. Once more, the Korean Director timely assisted. Before they could say a word, he announced that New Zealand had volunteered to present. Phew. Safe...
I guess all in all, they were all pretty nice people. No one (except the Indonesian perhaps) showed airs or flaunted their designations. I guess its not all that bad....
Afetr all, at 4pm, I was allowed to go home...
Conference was really....educational. By educational I actually mean goddammed boring. Imagine this, you're sitting in a room, where the youngest (minus yourself) is probably in his late 40s. You're looking at a speaker from a neighbouring country, presenting on what his country is doing... like they is setting up x committees, putting up y guidelines, linking up with z collaborating centres.. yada yada yada... like I care..
Then I yawn, and realise that no one else is in "sleepy" mode... everyone seems to be on "intently listening" mode. So I grab a few mentos and dump them in my mouth... and those two guys sitting beside me start laughing at the number of sweet wrappers on my table...
Then the entire day, other than listening, the only fruitful thing I do is hold a camera, point it at either one of the 2 guys, and shoot them when they present. How I wish I could use a gun instead of a camera. Hahahaa...
Ok...so the day ends...and the number of delegates I actually bothered to speak to can be counted in one hand. One Indonesian Director that looks like Maitreya Buddha, the Singaporean professor which we had lunch with, the Malaysian guy which came in second after me this morning, the Sri Lankan guy sitting beside me, err...errr...errr....wow... less than one hand...
No lunch provided either, so we ended up eating at Jalan Alor, and since all the other shops were closed, the only thing left was a shop selling wanton noodle...
The evening fare was much much better... the yam dumpling was fantabulous... yummm....
Too bad cannot ta pao...if no I bring some back for you guys... hahahha....
Yucks...tomorrow morning have to get up at 530am again, to beat the traffic... dam...
For friends who want updates, just drop me a mail, and I'll spun out weaves of news about whats going on with my stagnant boring life. You ask for it...you'll get it! Hehehe... for others, I'll see u on messenger or msn or in person.
Adios! And its been a good few years of blogging!!!
"Have been reading some books.. one of them says that the younger generation now think that they deserve a minimum level of happiness.. But we really shouldn't be expecting it... When it does come, we should be happy that we get it... but when it doesn't, we wont be sad, cause we expected nothing from the beginning...Perhaps, if we learn to think this way, we will all be more contented with what we have, instead of being affected by what we don't.. "
Wow... where did I get that? A bit too profound for an idiot like me...don't u think?
Its really not that things are perfect over there, but the feeling of going back to a place where people know you and don't judge you for who you are, where friends are people who really cared for you and family is just around the corner. I guess I do miss home. A week to spend, reduced by 3 days of work, seems a little short. But it'd have to make do for now.
a) send the car for repairs before sending it to VICOM... can't seem to get myself to do it
b) go for conference next week... one whole week burned.. plus got to book my own tickets.. (DONE)
c) change address for all my accounts....just shifted... and just bought envelopes and stamps (DONE)
d) go for a trip the following week to Macau...
e) update Guidelines before the next workgroup meeting in two weeks time, and add in 2 more checklists... plus get the amendment part up for the minutes
f) run the next pilot project with a Developer...
g) get and send stats to the big boss (DONE)
h) get a haircut.. I look like Lassy now.. (DONE)
i) send e-mails to delegates (NEW)
j) prepare for monthly meeting (NEW)
and these are just those that come to mind right now...
We felt like seafood, so we ordered sea prawns with wholegrain mustard and some ravioli with prawns and foei gras (duck liver). Duck liver tastes just like pork liver...wonder why the former is a delicacy and the latter is just pork liver. La Petit always serves the lightest portion, not for the hungry, but just right for those with a small appetite. The waiter got my order and the chef came out. He looked at what I ordered and said "Can u order something easier to cook?" and the waiter responded "What? Like Mee Goreng?". And before I could even throw a cup at his head to catch his attention, he was back in the kitchen. Oh well, there's always a next time.
We finished our portions of dinner, and headed next door for pulut hitam and pear sorbet.. one scoop a person, learning from the challenging time we had finishing 4 scoops of teh tarik, horlicks, something that tastes like milo, and something else that tastes like tartufo.
As if spurred by reflex, my instincts told me I had a list of things to do:
1) Switch Bleach wallpaper to Construction photo
2) Remove earphones from ear
3) End ongoing conversations on the pc and replace with Report
4) Close yahoo mail, open Lotus Notes
5) Sit upright and look at Report
Just 5 seconds from the time I finished item 5, the director and a bunch of delegates appeared behind me. And I had to stand up to greet them. I'm sure they appreciated the construction photo... much more than they would've appreciated Bleach... though they do look like they might be anime fans...Remind me next time, that I should learn how to change from casual to formal wear in 2.3 seconds...
Basically, I guess it's not that we enjoy either stall of food, but there is this stall that sells dam good coffee at Amoi called Syed Mohd. And being lazy, I guess the stalls nearest to that coffee stall is 'Haiji', selling chinese fried bee hoon or mee, and 'Prata', selling prata la of course. I'm sure the prata stall has a name, but really can't be bothered to find out.
So, day in day out, we are stuck with either fried bee hoon or prata. I guess once the renovations at HQ is done, we will be able to go back to RC for coffee, and not worry whether to choose "Haiji or Prata".