A Quick Dash to Macau

On Sunday, we took a day trip to Macau, one of China’s Special Administrative Regions.  (The other is Hong Kong.)  Ruled by Portugal from 1557 to 1999, it retains a unique blend of these two very different cultures.  Public signs are in both Chinese and Portuguese. (And sometimes English too, hooray!)

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Happy New Year!

Compared to mainland China, religion is much more visible–there’s a sizable Catholic population and people freely participate in a blend of Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and ancestor worship.

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At almost every shop’s front door, there was a tiny altar with incense.

We spent most of our time at the A-Ma Temple, dedicated to a goddess of the sea.  The temple is still very actively used.  In addition to a few tourists milling though, numerous people were at the altars to pray, light incense, and leave gifts of food and money.

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Cones of spiral incense burning at A-ma Temple.
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Spiral incense.
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Prayer cards surrounding a tree at A-Ma Temple. You could buy the cards, attached to little windchimes, at the gift shop. The prayers had been written in many languages. There was one in English that requested, “Wisdom. Patience. Love. Tranquility.” And in big letters across the whole thing, “MONEY.” Hey, might as well ask.
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More walking practice, at A-Ma.
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For about USD $125, you could buy the big-mama incense pillar. That thing must burn for days!
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This is the fire pit where you can burn money as contribution to deceased ancestors. With all respect to the dead, burning real money would be sort of wasteful, so most people choose to burn fake “spirit money” instead.
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Oh, the indignity of being the temple lion situated next to the gardeners’ shed.
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A-Ma Temple photo-op.
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Burnt incense.
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Someone chose to leave candy as an offering. That’s my kind of religion!

In all, it was a pretty intense travel day.  From our home, we traveled: one hour by city bus to Gongbei (the Macau border crossing), one hour winding through Chinese/Macanese immigration and customs lines, 20 minutes by shuttlebus to the waterfront area of Macau, and an hour walking to get to the sights.  Then we needed to stop for a meal and give Simon a little break at a playground, before finally getting to wander around and look at stuff, just in time to turn around to repeat the travel process to go home.  Family day trips to Macau are going to be tough due to a certain someone’s nap schedule and the resulting crankiness when naps are missed.  I think Simon and I will just have to leave Joel home next time.

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Future rock climber.
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Oh my goodness, the local park had cars to drive around a mini roadway! We need these in Minnesota Square Park!
And just because, here's a cocker spaniel riding a scooter.
And just because: here’s a cocker spaniel riding a scooter.

3 thoughts on “A Quick Dash to Macau”

  1. Awesome! I agree about the kiddie cars those things are cool. Our parks are lame in idaho! Simon is such a cutie. Keep up the good walking simon!

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