Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Strolling through "The Historic Centre of Macau - Part Two

Reviving the Old Streets of Macau - Day 2
We are back in Day 2, after we had our free breakfast set at our hotel cafe restaurant lobby, we called 'Yum Cha" (below pic) and its variety of foods tastes fantastic and delicious, we would ask for more if we are back again.
Yum Cha - Our daily Breakfast!
After our breakfast, we set off our next destinations - A-Ma Temple, Moorish Barracks, St. Augustine's Church, Mandarin's House, St. Lawrence's Church, Dom Pedro V. Theater and many more at Barra Square, Lilau Square and St. Augustine's Square before we reached at Senado Square where we went there on Day 1. My hubby just followed me wherever I go because he doesn't know how to go or where to start as he seems lost. He never been to Macau before! Not many people seems remember the place once they visited in Macau years ago. It's a great memorable time for the locals and tourists to revisit the places as it never get to old to visiting the old streets of Macau where the Portuguese locals were once settled in the straits of Macau and to see how their lives goes on. With its historic street, residential, religious and public Portuguese and Chinese buildings, the historic centre of Macao provides a unique testimony to the meeting of aesthetic, cultural, architectural and technological influences from East and West. The site also contains a fortress and a lighthouse, the oldest in China.
Overhead Bridge next to our hotel (left)
To take a public transport, we have to walk to the overhead bridge from our hotel that connected to the most neighbouring Hotels/casinos - The Venetian and The Four Seasons Hotels (The Plaza) as well as Crown & Hard Rock hotels.
Inside the overhead bridge looks spacious
We could see the whole scenery of the casino hotels thru the huge windowscreen of the bridge and thus there are also the famous HongKong superstars' signatures palm hands on the granite floor of the bridge (below pics).
Micheal Miu Kiu Wai & Francis Yip
Paul Wong Koon Chong
Alex Fong Lik San(Singer/Actor/Swimmer)
Micheal Miu Kiu Wai ( 苗僑偉) is one of the most famous actors of all times favourite of the 1980s, he acted the movie 'Dicey Business' as the notorious gambler and other movies in decades, he was born in June 18 1958, the same year as my hubby who is older than Micheal Miu. Thus, my hubby and I had watched many veterans HK superstars' movies/TVBs in our old times.
Overview shot  thru' the overhead bridge
Minutes later, we reached the bus-stop after snapping photos of all locations of the hotels thru' the widescreen window of the bridge (above pic), we take a public bus no. 26 opposite our hotel to A-Ma Temple at Barra Square and it took us about 30 mins to reach there and it costs only MOP$2.40 by using our Macau Green pass card which it has HK/MOP$100 stored value in it as we have used it on Day 1.
While travelling on the public bus, we are delighted to see most places thru the bus's window before it  reached at A-Ma temple (Barra Square) from where is the beginning of our destinations to the spot where we will stop at one of the world hesitage square - Company of Jesus Square after a few world hesitage squares - Lilau Square and St. Augustine's Square. Hope you will not get confused to many of the hesitage squares.
Ah-Ma Temple at Barra Square
A-Ma Temple (妈阁庙) is 400 year old and is the most time-honoured and well-preserved temple in Macau, consists of  various pavilions and halls. The religious complex is exemplary of Chinese-culture inspired by Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and multiple folk beliefs. It situated on the southwest tip of the Macau Peninsula and is one the oldest temple, built in 1488 in the year of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) and is dedicated to Mazu (Matsu 媽閣) the sacred goddess of seafarers and fishermen. I recalled when I was a baby who often crying non-stop with no apparent reason.In a panic, my mum carried me to the oldest temple called Thian Hock Keng in Singapore to pray for me and even asked for help from the goddess Mazu. Out of sudden, I stopped crying once I looked intensively at Mazu and I was blessed and eventually had Mazu as 'Godmother' since. This real story was told by my mum years ago.
Statue of Masu (媽閣)
The statue of Mazu is which I found at the shop outside the temple and snapped a photo of it what it looks like from the original statue inside the temple. Because I have to respect it and not to take a photo straight in the face of Mazu inside the temple, so many people are inside to pray respects and asks for health, peace and prosperity. Legends has it that the goddess named "Lin Mo' and was born in 'Putian City', Fujian Province and was intelligent of her young age. She would predict 'good' or 'ill luck' and after her death, she would bless the poor merchants and fishermen to ward off from danger in the sea. Till now there are numerous of folktales about the great goddess narrated in the lands.
Drop a coin & rub A Singing Bowl/ Dancing water to make a wish
This is the oldest Chinese Singing bowl or called Dancing water can be found at A-Ma temple in Macau and yet I believed some people might have seen it before and even Fengshui have this but not the ancient one like this. If you rub the singing bowl's two brass handles then the bowl starts to hum the tune and the water starts to dance as high as 2 ft high then you are blessed and good luck. This is also singing bowl which you can hear the sound of waving water in the sea too.
Incense Joss-sticks
It never fails to put the huge incense joss-sticks by caretakers or members of the temple every mornings and evenings as the temple is the sacred place to worship by locals and tourists daily. The pillar-like red Dragon Joss stick stands firmly on the huge burner.
Museum Martime (Museu Maritimo)
Macau Marine Museum also known as Museu Maritimo (Maritime Museum) in Portuguese locates at Barra Square which is next to A-Ma Temple. This Maritime Museum is the oldest museum situated on the waterfront of the inner harbour where visitors would observe all historical exhibits such as models of vessels, different of fishing techniques, costumes and others. Also on the Mezzanine floor, there is a display of cabinets with 10 models of traditional Portuguese vessels. There is also Maritime History and an Aquarium Gallery which houses a gallery of 4 aquariums. You will be amazed of all the artifacts surroundings on each exhibits.
Opening hours - 10.00am to 6.00pm (Tickets are available up to 5.30pm) Admission charges: Age 10 to 17 MOP$5.00 (Mon to Sat)and MOP$3.00 (Sun); age 18 - 64 MOP$10.00 (Mon to Sat) and MOP$5.00 (Sun); Free admission: Age under 10, 65 & above. Closes on Tuesdays.
Oldest Letterboxes stacked on stone wall
As we walked along the side of A-Ma temple to the narrow road that leads to the historical road to the world of the oldest buildings and the oldest letterbox that you never see before in the rows of the shophouses that stacked on each side on the stone wall hidden along the tunnel of the building that looks rundown. Locals people seems don't even bother it and their old letterbox still intact and untouched even if its edges still loose. Locals still living in this building as the letters can been seen popped out in the letterbox that exposed in the streets of Macau.
Retro Tiles of old times
The Retro Design Buildings in Macau has various retro designs on the structure of the buildings' wall along the streets of Macau.
Watering the Plants on the roadside and the bridges
The most touching story of the elderly woman is seen watering the plants in the cold winter season this month January because the plants need water during winter, otherwise the soil might frozen that water can't move it much so that is why water is absorbed through and stored in roots for winter.  According to her, she waters the plants on the roadside,  pavements and the bridges where the streets of flower plants blossoms daily even in the four seasons of the year. She makes sure the plants get water daily and nutrients to survive.
Handing Fishes freeze outside the coffee shop
Continue walking along the Barra Square at RUA DE BARRA, we chanced upon the fishes handing on the steel rode to freeze in the winter without detect the smell and thus save their cost on the freezer.
Rows of Wooden coffee shops
That's their traditional style of their dry foods to be hanged out to freeze and mostly elderly locals come here to have hot teh or coffee at wooden stacks of coffee shops villages just beside the Dry fish handing on the steel rode (above pic). It is so peaceful surroundings of old villages where locals enjoy their foods in the coffee shops. The Wooden Coffee shops have been there many decades and still operating. I remember of the kampong days in Singapore to have coffee & breakfast in the early 1990s. Where can you find it nowadays.
Esposito De Lixo (Waste garbage)
Along the streets of Macau - Rua Do Almirante Sargo , there is a public waste garbage (landfill) at River 165 (河邊新街165號) (above pic) on the roadside. To reduce the impact surrounding of waste environment ,the Macau Bureau has gradually converted some cabins electrical according to the size of each area and sizes of each high populations, used the urban space in Macau. So the landfill can receive waste containers, provides ventilation, sewage collection, ultraviolet-ray lamp (as seen in the pic above on the right) to combat bacteria and washing equipment which allows the cleaning staff do regular cleaning and disinfection, on the outside of the tank garbage boxes put up separate collection to promote environmental protection. The landfills are equipped with overhead doors which reduces the output of unpleasant odors and prevents the proliferation of insects and rodents, so the situation from improving hygiene in the streets of Macau. I find the streets of Macau is clean without odour smell from garbage cabin when you happen to walk pass it. So will Singapore do the same in the future for the high rise buildings without any waste garbage build-in?
McDonald's in Macau
Orange Juice & Ice Milo Drink
Look through McDonald's window
After walking around the streets, around 2.00pm we eventually came across the fastfood restaurant - McDonald's along the street and ordered two cup of drinks as we looked through the window, we saw the old buildings in the quiet street of Macau, how nice it could be an old street back then in Singapore (Chinatown) in our times.
Moorish Barracks (1870s)
Minutes later, we will continue to proceed to our journey to Lilau Square but before we go, we have to walk down the narrow street Rua Barra to visit the most historical buildings -  Moorish Barracks - Portuguese Empire (above pic) a Eclectic archtectural style, was to house an Indian regiment that was sent from from Goa, to Mallaca to Macau. In the early 1870’s the Portuguese dispatched a garrison of Indian police to the territory, housing them in a specially designed, Moorish inspired barracks. The building moulds together Portuguese, Indian and Moorish influences, the latter best seen in the horseshoe arches that hold the barracks wide verandahs and the turreted roof. The building is now home to the city’s Maritime Administration and is off limits, and you are free to wander around the exterior of the building.
Mandarin's House at Lilau Square
As we walked towards Barra Square to Lilau Square, where there is an old Mandarin's House (Casa Do Mandarim) situated along the Largo Do Lilau, address is 10 Travessa de António da Silva. After restoration in 2002 due to damage or wear & tear,  is a 1881 Chinese-style compound (two 19th century) that comprises several courtyard houses and integrates both western and Chinese architectural styles (the entrance is from Antonio da Silva Lane. Admission is free and opens daily except Wednesdays & Thursdays from 10am to 6pm.
Lilau Square
We reached to the one of the 8 historical squares - Lilau Square, the ground water of Lilau was the main source of spring water in Macao and one of the popular Portuguese phrase: "One who drinks from Lilau never forgets Macao" that was expressed from locals' nostalgic attachment to Lilau Square, one of the first Portuguese residential quarters in Macao with a typically Mediterranean atmosphere. There is a bus-stop next to the 'yellow' building on the left.
Nostalgic Salon
Short Walk along the Lilau Square to St. Augustine's Square (Largo De Santo Agostinho), we passed by the narrow road, the nostalgic beauty hair salon in the old street hidden along the narrow road where locals often come here for haircut and the cost is very cheap. Continue walking to the road - Rua de São Lourenço, you can see the four magnificent Neoclassical structure of old buildings in the historic centre of Macau.
St. Lawrence's Church
St. Augustine’s Square gathers various classified buildings, such as St. Lawrance’s Church, Dom Pedro V Theatre, St. Joseph’s Seminary and Sir Robert Ho Tung Library. The cobblestone pavement unifies the area and reflects a traditionally Portuguese street scape. Begin with St. Lawrence's Church, is built by the Jesuits in the mid-16th century, this is one of the three oldest churches in Macau. Its present appearance and scale was acquired in 1846. Situated on the southern coastline of Macau overlooking the sea, families of Portuguese sailors used to gather on the front steps of the church to pray and wait for their return, hence it was given the name: Feng Shun Tang (Hall of the Soothing Winds). The neighbourhood where the church is located used to be wealthy, thus explaining the building's scale and wealth of architectural treatment. It is a neo-classical structure, with subtle Baroque decorative inspirations.
St. Lawrence's Church Prayer Hall
The main facade of the church is divided into three sections, with the centre flanked by the two square towers, each measuring around 21m high. The central section of the main facade is characterized by a pediment interrupted in the middle by an oval emblem. The ground plan of the church is in the shape of a Latin cross, measuring 37 metres by 29 metres. The shorter arms of the building form two interior chapels. The longer extension of the building corresponds to the main nave inside, with the main altar separated by a vaulted arch. Ornamented pillars and exquisite chandeliers create an elegant church interior, heightening its ambiance.
Red Post Box
This Pole red Post box locates along St. Augustine's Square in Macau. It still operates and in use since where locals as well as foreigners living in Macau post a letter onto the post box located in the streets of Macau. I also bought a vintage red post box collection (same as pic above) & stamps collections at Central Post Office at Senado Square in Macau. Post box is common known collection box or drop box is a physical box which members of the public can deposit outgoing mail intended collection by post service in Macau - Correios de Macau, is a department under the Government of Macau responsible for postal services.
Side view of Dom Pedro V Theatre
Continue walking along the narrow road that tits and twists the footpath leading to The Dom Pedro V Theatre (伯多祿五世劇院), locates at Largo De Santo Agostinho in Macau and is one of the first western-style theatres in China. Built in 1860 by local Portuguese commemorate their reigning King, Peter V. It is neo-classicial in design, incorporating a portio front on a rectilinear plan and also became one of the designated sites - Historic Centre of Macau 2005.
Front view of Dom Pedro V Theatre
The facade is topped with a triangular pediment supported on four sets of Ionic columns, 3 archways, each measuring 3 metres wide by 6 metres high, rise on pedestals resting on granite steps. Thus the ornamentation on the green stucco facade is relatively restrained, with festoons above the arches and simple floral patterns around the frames accentuated in white plaster. The cornice and architrave mouldings are highlighted in white, in contrast with the building.
St Joesph's Seminary & Church
Further down the narrow road next to the Theatre...St. Joesph's Seminary & Church (聖若瑟修院及聖堂) located at Rua Do Seminario and established in 1728 together with St. Paul's College, was the principal base for the missionary work in East and Southeast Asia. Adjacent to the Seminary is St. Joesph's Church built in 1758, an exemplary model of baroque architecture in China. Though the Seminary is not open to the public as you can see the beautiful church from within as well. Over the years the church has been the subject of many fine oil paintings, some of which can be found in the markets around the Largo do Senado.
St. Joesph's Church
The Church has a dome that measures 12.5m in diameter and rises 19m above the ground. It is decorated with two rows of 16 clerestories which enable natural lighting and ventilation. One of the Macau's most precious religious relics, a piece of bone from the arm of St. Francis Xavier, the 1st Jesuit missionary in the Far East, that formerly belonged to the collection of the old Church of St. Paul's Ruins is kept in one of the side altars inside this Church. St. Joseph's Church together with the St. Paul's Ruins are the two very rare example of Baroque architecture in China. On the right in front of St. Joesph's Church, there is a Saint Mary's statue with colourful flowers around it.
Church Caretaker reading a Book outside cosy office
The caretaker of the church is in charge of this church that I spotted him reading the Magazine book thru the locked grille door, it was a pleasant quiet surrounding with Statue of Mary just besides his cosy office as if he treats it as his second home.
Sir Robert Ho Tung Library
Located beside St. Joesph's Church, Sir Robert Ho Tung Library was constructed before 1894, was originally the residence of Dona Carolina Cunha. A prominent Hong Kong businessman purchased it in 1918 after retreat of WWII and his relocation in Macau until he passed away in 1955. According to his will, the building was donated to the Macau Government together with monetary fund of HK$25,000, for the acquisition of books, with the intention of converting the building into a public library. So the Library has been opened to the public in 1958. Antique books quarter located on the first floor of the building houses a rare collection of Chinese books dating back to the Ming Dynasty, including the early Chinese to English and Chinese to Portuguese dictionaries and Christian publications written in the late 19th to early 20th century.
Long Fu China Tea Of Macau
Further down the narrow road, there is traditional tea from China where it opened in the early
1990s that I was there since 1988 and it still operates till now and I have no ideas if the shop operates at the same road for decades. Anyway their traditional tea from China tastes good and mostly local motorists as you can spot the rows of motorcycles parked along the stretch of narrow road that come here for a hot cup of hot tea for all seasons.
Sede-Banco Delta Asia
Opposite of Long Fu China Tea of Macau, Sede-Banco Delta Asia (汇业银行行政中心) was founded in 1935 by Au Wing Ngok, father of Stanley Au, the current chairman and majority shareholder. News spread of Money Laundering and Distribution of Super dollars for the government of North Korea in 2005, this building still remains blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department and is not authorised to conduct any transactions in U.S dollars. In 2007, the bank was returned to management by owner Stanley Au and no criminial charges were filed in Macau.
Narrow road of twist & turns
We continued to walk down the narrow road of twists and turns, climb up & down the slope of narrow road between the old retro residence buildings of olden times to build up the energy of our body to keep warm in winter. The road is thus to provide the test of skill and nerves for the drivers in Macau. Will Singapore follow the trends of narrow road to put a test of driving skill to prevent mishap or does F1 dare to race down the narrow road? This road will lead us to one of the World Heritage of Macau's squares - Senado Square where we had our journey on Day 1
Macau resident & his dog 'Chihuahua'
In the stretch narrow road that keep us walking with cold winter breeze, a tiny creature is spotted along the road is none other than a cute 'Chihuahua' and its owner of local resident who lives nearby. I noticed the elderly man carried a blue shopping bag with a picture of 'Panda'. I remember that we are supposed to visit the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion in the next few days in Coloane. It would take us 16-20 mins from our hotel in Cotai to Coloane by public transport to reach Macau Giant Panda Pavilion. 
Tourism and Culture Activities Centre (CATC)
This building is situated near the Ruins of St. Paul's at Company of Jesus Square, has 5 floors and the ground floor provides information of tourism, hotels, restaurants and transport for visitors. The 2nd floor is Macau Tea Story, displays showcases the art of tea tastings and tea products while the basement floor has a multi-function hall with an exhibition of Macau's World Heritage and the latest hotel developments. A must for all visitors!
Ruins of St. Paul's and Shophouses
Ruins of St. Paul's
In between the buildings and Ruins of St. Paul's, on the left side of the road that leads to further up to one of the World Heritage Macau squares - Camoes Square where you can see one of the largest park at Camoes Garden closes to the Casa Garden and the famous Protestant Cemetery, the areas is frequent by Tai Chi groups with many local people of all ages doing exercises there in the morning. Unfortunately, we didn't go there as there is not much time to walk further up and it will take us about 20mins walking distance depending of the slopes of narrow road. But we will come again in the next coming trip that covers up to Guia Fortress where there is a Church and lighthouse just opposite of the Grand Prix and Wine Museum at Guia Hill on the stretch road between Estrada De Cacilhas and Estrada Dos Parses.
Huge Red Pillar Post Box
This huge Pillar Red Post box stands in between shophouses near Ruins of St. Paul's and CATC at Company of Jesus Square that sits on the open space and the other red post box at St. Augustine's square that is different from each locations. In Macau, there are several locations of different sizes of Post box at different locations within in Macau. This huge Pillar Red Post box can stored up to hundreds of post outgoing letters.
Streets of Food Treats
Koi Kei Bakery
The streets of shop houses are known - Streets Treats, would make locals and visitors for more searching for famous foods - Pa Kwa, Portuguese Tarts, the famous Koi Kei bakery biscuits and others. You can't escape from Koi Kei bakery with its tempting treats and tastes for 'Pa Kwa' samples which has variety of porks, beefs, chickens and so on. Tracing back its history in heydays to a cart selling crunchy peanuts and ginger candy and was established in 1997 its first shop and the trend of making almond cake and egg roll immediate upon customer's request. They have totals of 24 chains stores in Macau (16), HK (7) and one in Singapore which you may not heard of where is it now. Koi Kei is a Macau name and has been well perceived in many nations. We bought 3 boxes of Koi Kei products ( 2 boxes of Japanese Egg Biscuit & One box of Orange Skin Biscuit) and packets of sweets on the spot with discounts of promotions items.
Bazaar Temple
Street Hawker beside Bazaar Temple
Hidden away from the streets of Macau, some temples tucked away from the quiet old building with full of street hawkers, rows of 'Pasir Malam' or old village beside the temple. This temple is called 'Bazaar Temple', located at Largo Do Bazar, is a Chinese temple in Macau and was built to worship for Marshal Hong Kong whose wooden statue was found floating by the seaside where the temple now stands. A small shrine was built for him, in 1860 a proper temple was built and was also dedicated to God Hung Seng, the Monkey God, Buddha and Hua Tuo (God of Medicine). The Bazaar Temple displays elements of Southern Chinese architecture and has a courtyard uniting the main elements of the temple and its roof was coloured ceramic figurines.
 Woman cleaner outside at Ruins of St. Paul's
Not all countries, employ elderly cleaners to work as a cleaner with a 'stroll' hat and here you may see them at Company of Jesus Square. A neat and clean of open space where the Ruins of St. Paul's now stands.
Venetian Hotel with Biggest Outdoor 3D Light and Sound Show
It's 6.45pm, getting late for us to return to our hotel for our dinner, as we walked back from Company of Jesus Square to Senado Square, head to the bus-stop next to the shophouses near Central Post Office, board the bus no. 26A, heading to our hotel in 20-30 mins. As we reached our destination bus-stop in front of two leading Hotels - Crown and Hard Rock Hotels where our Hotel is just a 3 mins away from it. Walking along the footpath ahead of bus-stop, we heard loud music and sound of the other side of the road of none other than the famous hotel - Venetian Hotel, with 26 high brightness Projectors with biggest outdoor 3D Light and Sound Show. This reminds me of the Night Festivals in Singapore with full of music and night show at designated museums last year Aug 2012. But this year is different from the Venetian Hotel that launched "Winter in Venice" with biggest holiday festival in Macau, supported by the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO). It released a spectacular light and sound show - "The Magic of the Seasons", one of the world largest architectural 3D projection mapping projects ever created. When "The Magic of the Seasons" 3D Light and Sound Spectacular started, the hotel’s facade was transformed into a magnificent masterpiece and audiences were given an unforgettable holiday experience. A Macau police car was parked on the roadside in front of Venetian Hotel's 3D Light and Sound Show. Luckily, I recorded a video of the spectacular lights and sound show. What's a grand spectacular sight!
Colourful Crystal Dragon with lights
A grand magnificent huge 'Light Up' colourful Crystal Dragon with crystal ball that sits along the lobby of Hard Rock Hotel where there is a "Food Paradise" foodcourt upstairs using escalator just in front of the Crystal Dragon that closes to the ceiling.
Chinese Wine Pot
Walking distance from the Crystal Dragon, there is a dramatic display of Chinese Teapots at the entrance of the Chinese restaurant - Beijing Kitchen to a warm cosy and initmate seating inside, locates at Hard Rock hotel with rows of shops. A Chinese Teapot is something which you have heard many ancients teapot in China era. Such a teapot is wisely seen in most Chinese restaurents if you are lucky to spot it. Besides the restaurant, there is also DC Comics store which sells "Super Heroes" items such as 'The Dark Knight', comics and so on.
Crystal Fish above the ceiling
As we are walking around the Hard Rock hotel, with lots of crystals above the ceiling near the staircase of the Hard Rock's lobby.
Cotai Strips Sands Hotels
As we walked outside the Hard Rock hotel, crossing the road, heading to our hotel just next to it . What a cold breeze outside in the winter that went down 15 degrees. Before we hurried back to our hotel and there I took a photo (above) outside our hotel at night. What's a beautiful cold night and hear the music sound show just opposite the road. Many locals and tourists are chating away at the roadside and walking around in winter to hear and watch the musical show opposite Venetian Hotel.
At last, we had dinner at our hotel's foodcourt at level 3 and back to our hotel room for a rest. By next day, we will continue our journey on Day 3 in the morning.

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