Culture General

The Wonder of Macau – Letters from a Jamaican in China

The hustle and bustle of living in a large city, anywhere in the world begins to take its toll on you. I‘m aware that just outside Guangzhou, there are rural areas with beautiful scenery but getting there can be a hassle too. First, you have to go to the long distance bus station, push until you get to the ticket window (people here don’t form lines for anything). Next, you have to try to explain to the lady at the ticket window where you want to go and pray that she is at least willing to listen to you. A lot of times they freak out when they see a foreign face, assume that you can’t speak the language, are embarrassed that they can’t speak your language and will ignore you in hopes that you will eventually go away. When you snap and start screaming, they call a supervisor who is a little less shy but is now just as because a few moments before you were behaving like sey yu mad. You push your way on to the bus, and argue with the person who is sitting in your seat number. And by the time you get to where were going to relax, you’re so flustered that all you want to do is go home.

I was feeling a little edgy again, and new it was time to take a day trip. I was tired of Hong Kong, because immigration can take hours and it’s even more crowded and chaotic than Guangzhou. And then a friend suggested I try Macau. He told me that it was only 2 hours away, I could get the bus from the hotel about 4 blocks away and they leave every hour. So I figured, if I stay in Guangzhou I’m going to crack. If I go to Macau I will probably crack just getting there, either way why not?

I got the 7am bus to Macau from the travel agency in the hotel. No crowds, no pushing and the lady spoke English. It took only 2 hours to get there. I walked in to immigration, expecting to be in line for at least an hour. It took a total of 7 minutes to exit China. When I got to the Macau entrance it took about 3 minutes to enter Macau. And I was pleasantly surprised; Macau is beautiful. It was colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century and made one of China’s Special Administrative Regions in 1987 and fully returned to China in 1999. It was like walking in to Europe with a slight Southeast Asian feel. It wasn’t at all crowded; people were friendly, and exotic looking. I couldn’t believe that a place like this was only 2 hours away. All of the signs are in Cantonese and Portuguese, the people speak both languages, and it was just amazing. I got a tourist map and realized I could go to the beach. I bought a beach bag and a towel and began looking for a bathing suit. So entranced was I with the beautiful buildings, cobblestone streets, the blueness of the sky and WOOO the perfect colored handbag I’d been looking for, for ages that I was quickly knocked back into reality. Literally, it took the searing heat of asphalt against my palm and bare thigh to bring me back to earth. I had carelessly stepped into the street without looking and been knocked down by a guy on his scooter. Everyone ran to see if I was okay and he jumped off his scooter and began apologizing. He was really handsome and rattling off in Portuguese because he was, he assumed I was and was telling me I should see doctor. I can’t speak Portuguese but I speak enough Spanish and French to get the gist of what he was saying. It wasn’t a hard hit; I got a tiny cut on my leg. I was fine so he offered to take me to lunch. I go back at least twice a month now. It is incredibly relaxing there. The Macanese are the only people in all of the China’s (Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Mainland, Tibet and the other autonomous Regions) that don’t have a negative opinion of the other parts of China. If I say I live on the mainland I’m not greeted with a “God, why?” It’s a slower pace of life here. I’ve considered moving there, but I would have to learn to speak Cantonese and Portuguese, and it wouldn’t be good for business. So I gladly make the visits because, only in Macau can I be the cause of the accident, scare a man half to death and get a free lunch on top of it! I love it there.

About the author

Shelly Ann Wauchope