Sunday, September 25, 2011

Macau, Round Two

We decided to go back to Macau this past weekend. This decision was made in spite of the fact that our last visit “was just OK.” There were two reasons. The first was that Saturday was one of the nights they were holding the international fireworks competition. The other was that we found a hotel, the Westin, with a nice pool, a beach and kids’ activities, and we would be able to get it for almost nothing using Starwood points. So we booked it.

We were really looking forward to a nice little mini-vacation, but at the last minute we almost canceled when the weather report suggested rain. The boys would not have it, though, so we decided to go anyway. We could still swim in the rain, right? And the poolside bar still serves drinks in the rain, right

As we headed out to the ferry on Saturday morning, we almost immediately began to regret the decision, and circumstances deteriorated from there.

We wanted to take the ferry from Tuen Mun, which is only a 10 minute taxi ride from home, rather than the ferry from Kowloon, which takes close to an hour to get to on the train. Since we ended up being late last time, we left plenty early, getting to the terminal over an hour before the 10:30 departure. When we arrived, however, we were told there were only Super Class seats left. Crap. OK, well, we’d just have to shell out and let the kids have that “first class” experience they’ve been wishing for. Got to the ticket office and found out there was only one Super Class seat left. So, they were essentially sold out.

The next ferry wasn’t until 1:30, and we didn’t want to wait and blow the entire afternoon, so we hailed a cab and shelled out for a taxi (definitely not as nice as shelling out for Super Class) into Kowloon for the other ferry, which leaves every half hour. We managed to get tickets this time, though we ended up having to wait for the 11:30 ferry, putting us into Macau at 12:30, only an hour later than planned. Not too bad. And no one puked or anything going over.

Then we hit Customs in Macau. Humongous sea of people. No real lines, just a mob of people pushing China-style. The boys are antsy, and we’re all getting hungry—no, make that hangry. Those who know Shannon well will understand that she was not happy about this at all. Who would be?

Over an hour later, we finally got through. We were all now starving, and short-tempered. Luckily, we had read there was a shuttle to the Westin. We went out to the shuttle bus area (every hotel has one). There were dozens of shuttle buses, thousands of people shuffling to them, but no shuttle for the Westin. After making the rounds several times, and watching our frustration (and use of swear words) skyrocket, we just hailed a taxi. Again, shelling out for the taxi.

Pulled out of the ferry terminal, turned south to cross the bridge and…traffic jam. Bumper to bumper. You can imagine our moods.

Well, we finally did make it to the Westin, and finally did get food. And a pool. And drinks by the pool. And we realized that we had gotten all of our bad luck out of the way. It would be a great time from then forward.

The kids swam all afternoon. There was a grassy field with a soccer net, and we checked out a ball and played soccer and kick ball (with a drink in hand, of course). It was nice. We miss grass.

The highlight, though, was the food at the hotel. They had a dinner buffet, but unlike most hotel buffets, this was an Indian- and Asian-themed buffet. And it was excellent. Raw bar, sushi bar, Indian curries, Indian grill, Mongolian grill, naan freshly-made to order, all kinds of salads and a dessert bar that included a chocolate fountain. After being so hungry earlier, we were in heaven. We all ate until our bellies hurt. (And the boys put almost as much food down at the breakfast buffet the next morning.)

After dinner, we all agreed that we just didn’t want to bother hauling ourselves to the north part of town for the fireworks. As Berkley put it, “it’s been a long day.”

On Sunday, after hitting the indoor pool, we went to the Venetian, which is the sixth largest building (by square feet) in the world. Pretty crazy. If you’ve been to Vegas, you can imagine it. We scored veggie burgers, fries and pizza for lunch, too. We definitely made ourselves happy with food this weekend.

After a quick run through the Grand Prix Museum, it was back to the ferry and on to Tuen Mun (we got tickets this time).

Well, it wasn’t completely the relaxing weekend we were looking for. I suppose, though, it’s better to have all the bad stuff up front. All’s well that ends well.

(We’d post pictures, but one additional piece of misfortune was forgetting the camera at home.)


  1. Glad to hear the bad luck didn't happen all week-end! Sounds like you had a great time eating and swimming, what more can you ask for?

    Aunt Cheryl

  2. Oh, I can hear the conversation about the camera. And NO one is happy when hungry but especially Shannon! As usual, you made the best of the situation. Crowd are not something we are looking forward to when we visit, but it will be worth it!

  3. Sounds like a nail biting beginning. Thank God there was plenty of good food later on. And as they say "alls well that ends well" and it seems as tho it did very well. I had read about the fireworks in Macau and wondered if you were going to go. Too bad you missed it. But there will be other exciting events Im sure. Love to all - Mom and Dad