a couple weekends ago, i had to do a "visa run"
i do have a taiwanese passport, but i'm only allowed to stay in the country for 4 months
because i have not served the mandatory military term that every male born in taiwan has to do
i'm exempt from it because i immigrated out of taiwan before i was 16
i was 6 when we left
you will not be able to immigrate or leave the country after you turned 16 until you have served the mandatory term
if i exceed my 4 months stay, i'll get drafted and pulled into the military
i decided to fly to macau for the great escape this time around
with the wifey pregnant, i intended to land at the airport, not even exit customs and just hop on the next flight back
yes, you can do that
done it before many times
as long as you have departure stamp out of the taiwan airport, you are good
one funny thing about taking the next flight back, is that the returning flight to taiwan have the same flight attendants as the flight that just arrived
if you end up sitting around the same area as your flight there then the flight attendants kinda give you a "wtf?" look on their faces if they recognize you
i didn't take the next flight back this time tho'
my good friend and colleague jim from our chicago office was in zhuhai for business, which is just across the border from macau, so we decided to meet up and hang out in macau for the day
lots of pictures to get to, so let's get it on...
crossing the bridge from the airport to go into macau, the city skyline comes into sight. you can see the macau tower to the left, which is home to the world's highest bungee jump. no thanks. also, you can see some of the new mega casino / hotel / resort that are being erected throughout the city. this is a city on the rise! a lot of money in this town.
the sands hotel and casino. formerly asia's largest casino.
sign at the ferry terminal. jim was advised to take the ferry across instead of walking to avoid the huge lineups at the border, especially since it was sunday. good idea because i've crossed that border countless times and yes, it gets pretty crazy. you know, especially since the chinese are so courteous and always politely lineup waiting their turn.
after meeting with jim, we headed out to the venetian, the newest casino and resort in macau and the current largest casino in asia. it was large alright. in the famous words of deuce bigalow, "that's a huge bitch". the place was enormous. this is a shot of the main hall adjacent to the lobby which leads to the casino and other areas of the hotel. packed with tourists.
the dome ceiling directly above the statue you see in the previous pic.
the main hall's ceiling. the pic doesn't really do justice. it was really even more stunning to see in person.
the first area you get to from the main hall is the casino. again, the place was enormous. the casino goes 360 around the floor, and it's a huge floor. the above 4 pics only covers about 1/4 of the entire floor. a bit overwhelming at first sight. oh, for those wondering... no, i didn't gamble at all. i hate gambling. jim played a few dollars on the slot machines, but it was all gone real quick. now you know why i don't like gambling?
we went outside for a walk around the perimeter of the resort, where they had a manmade pond with gondola rides. well, the place is called the venetian.
that's my good buddy jim. behind jim is the construction site for the new sands casino and resort, which supposedly will rival the venetian in size. i believe that is a joint venture between sands and the venetian; or are they already owned by the same group?
gotta park your gondolas somewhere.
the structures and building around the resort all had that european flavour to it.
this is the ceiling above the driveway in front of the hotel. at this point we had eaten lunch and were waiting for a taxi to go into town and do some sightseeing.
first stop, senado square
st. dominic's church.
making our way through the narrow alleys filled with shops after shops selling everything from the latest fashion to curry fishballs. i felt like i was at a night market in taiwan during the weekend. just packed with people.
and more people.
after navigating through what seemed never ending alleys packed with people, our destination finally came into sight. the ruin's of st. paul.
and what a sight it was.
looking down the grand staircase and onto the plaza. did i tell you it was packed with people?
i really like this particular shot because it shows the old portuguese style buiding in the foreground, which is the essence of the old and present macau, with the new modern casino resort (to be the home of the new lisboa) being built in the background, which has come to symbolize the new and future macau.
the church facade from the back or "inside". here again, same as the last pic. ancient vs. modern.
underground sanctuary directly under the ruins
bones dug up at the sanctuary site.
we then moved on and climbed up the fortress of st. paul of monte (monte fort for short), which had cannons all around its fort walls...
including this one pointing right at the new lisboa casino and hotel. hmm... would have been a lot of fun.
a look at the city below
we stayed a few extra minutes at the fort looking down at the city below. it was a rare serene and tranquil place within a city that never seems to stop hustling and buzzling.
afterwards went over to the new wynn casino / hotel to find a watering hole to grab a beer and wind down the day. they had a nice outdoor patio bar...
with nice surroundings.
after our beers, it was time to say good bye. i had to get to the airport to catch my flight back to taiwan and jim had to get back into china. here's a look back at the wynn as my taxi drives away...
then driving by the "old" lisboa. the original mega casino in macau.
it was a great fun day
long and tiring, but fun
wish the wifey could have been there with me
4 months goes by really quick