Macau (IV) Protection, worldly and heavenly

Pathetic title, isn’t it? 😉 What I am talking about is: The Macau fortress and lighthouse (worldly) and various churches (heavenly). And gardens there were, too!

AM_20070704_102137.jpg: I started off with Guia Hill, the highest point of Macau peninsula. Getting there meant to sneak along streets without pavements up the hill. There also was a cable car 😉 but this time I resisted. It was on the hill’s other side anyway, where I later went down. And it was out of service due to maintenance. A stunning 500m long…just 3 supporting pillars. Who needs such short a cable car.

Eh…the picture…it shows a view half-way up the hill, looking across “The Reservoir”, meaning the blue-colored lake in the middle. In the back, seperated by a dam, is the sea in a more brownish color. I like the different colored waters.

AM_20070704_104226.jpg: Just under the hills top is a restaurated air raid shelter, a maybe 50m long tunnel, with a generator (with an apparently highly smart technique using a bit of man power and then water, no gas…was so smart that I couldn’t follow) and many pictures and texts.

AM_20070704_105501.jpg: Next to the lighthouse was the small baroque Chapel of Our Lady of Guia, where some original (not restaurated!) wall paintings had been unvocered. Very well climatisated…coming in here from the sweltering heat outside did actually cause me coughing, suffering from a cold. As funny as it sounds: I got out fairly quickly again. I had already trouble with air-condition-induced colds, didn’t want to get another one.

If you wanna get an idea of how hot it was then look at the lady-in-pink’s back: The different colors of her shirt are not due to design, but to sweat. She is not even carrying a backpack like me (a day pack, not the big one!) and still is wet all over, even touching her trousers. I might have looked slightly better, but the patches of sweat on my T-shirt also grew larger and larger…

Funnily, I had decided to wear my ‘good’ pair of hiking trousers, which happens to be the thicker ones. Just because in the evening, when checking in to my too good hotel in Taipei (didn’t find budget accomodation, which suited me and was still available, something must be happening today in Taipei), I wanted to look as good as possible with the few stuff I have (having a fresh polo shirt in my daypack). And this thick Haglöfs trousers is so great that it really transports the sweat perfectly out. As in Tanzania: Despite the thikness I felt very comfortable. My cheaper, but TCM pair of trousers might be a lot lighter, but feels less comfortable: You sweat anyway, but the sweat mostly stays where it came from: At your legs.

AM_20070704_105614.jpg: View across NAPA, the new part of Macau with all the modern hotels and casinos, from the square in front of the lighthouse.

AM_20070704_105718.jpg: And here it finally is: The Lighthouse.

AM_20070704_105812.jpg: Taken just a minute later when starting to decend: A square, whose name I couldn’t figure out, with some nicely restarated houses. I later walked directly past them: Very well done. Now used by the government for the Archives and Education and Health Departments.

Yea…and that was the last picture my camera allowed me to take today! It simply stopped operating. I had unfortunately forgotten to charge the battery pack, which I had replaced yesterday. But that was towards the end of the day in the museum houses. And usually one battery pack lasts nearly 2 days. And: I was thinking that even the weakest battery would still allow for the camera to display “Change the battery pack!”. But only absolute darkness. I am really afraid that the camera got damaged due to either heat directly or due to sweat constantly dropping from my hands. Now in Taipei even after charging one battery pack completely does the camera not do anything any longer. I will let the camera rest over night with all flaps open, but I have little hope that it recovers. Well…it’s going to be expensive two weeks…but getting a new camera here in Taipei should be no problem. I only hope that I don’t exceed my monthly Visa limit…all the expensive hotels, some cash drawing, the camera…all in the same month, and we are at its beginning only.

My walk certainly continued, now picture-less:

Down from Gaia Hill I passed by Sun Yat-Sen’s Memorial House, which I just ignored. They are making a bit too much an hype about him. I don’t deny that he is important, and he has lived and worked for quite some time on Macau, but its going to get too much for me… 2 turns later there was Lou Lim Ieoc Garden, small but very very nice! Lots of trees offering much shadow, large lake with hundreds of fishes, rock sculputres, pavillions, locals making music…all you possible want from a small park. I strolled around for some time, but as I had nothing to read I did not sit down.

Then came these restaurated houses, which are shown on the last picture my camera did. Some others in the neighborhood, but basically I walked back into town. Finally I made it into São Domingos Church in the very middle of the old town, close to Largo do Senado. As all churches on Macau very pleasant: Light pastel colors, large windows, which are opened like portals to let the air move. Not much decorated, but usually a colorful altar picture. Maybe two or three side altars. That’s it…a visit rarely takes longer than 5 minutes. But a pleasant view any time.

After a Starbucks break I headed on the next walk, which first brought me to the Ruins of St. Paul’s, a church built by Jeuits in 1602, destroyed b a fire in 1835 except for its stone facade. Well…and more than the stone facade was really not left, but as it sits atop a hill it is still an impressive sight. The churche’s old crypta was also accessible…and covered with coins despite a sign forbidding throwing coins. Chinese throw money at everything, which can potentially help luck, usually temples and dragons.

Next to St. Paul’s is the Mount Fortress, of which mainly the surrounding walls are left and some few guard posts. But there are nice views from the hill. The Museum of Macau, also on the hill, was closed for some renovation just this very week…ach ja…and wedding photo shooting was ongoing, again.

Further down Rua de Sto. António there was the Church of St. Antony, which from the outside looks grazish uneventful, but inside there are the same typical light colors and opened portal doors. The old lady in charge of watching the entrance was so delighted to have a visitor that she even came in with me, switched on a nearby fan, and offered me to sit down in the church benches. I politely refused…there were Camões Gardens next to it, similar nice as Lou Lim Ieoc before. And as I had inbetween bought an English-language newspaper I sat down there for a break in the shadow, only to be bombarded with some kind of mini fruits or seed capsules from the trees above me 😉

Next to the gardens was an old protestants’ cemetery: Walking along the grave stones was a look back into history: A lot of American seamen, who died in Macau hospitals, for who their messmates had set up these stones. But certainly also civilians. There even were two stones engraved in German for Germans. I remember one man “von Altena, Westphalen” (of Altena in Westfalen), although in modern German it should be “aus Altena”, not “von”. The other German stone was for a couple from some village I think I had heard of before, too, ending on “-rade”, but can’t remember the full name any longer.

It was now about 3pm. I headed back for a last coffee, strolled down to the waterfront next to the modern hotels and finally took a more detailed look at the Kun Iam Statue. Behind it I could sit down for a while and enjoy the view across the sea in a light refreshing sea breeze. In the base of the statue was something called “Education Center”, but it looked to me more like a kind of chapel…signs requested silence. I have not been able to figure out who Kun Iam was, but it must be something religious. Only now with the help of the internet I can find introductions: “Kun Iam ( Avalokistesvara ) Divinity of Compassion. According to myths, when the believers are in danger all that is required is to call the goddess, evoking her name and all ones problems are overcome. Over time it is with individual preference that the statue of Kun Iam will take on many forms.”

After a cappuchino at the hotel I got fairly early to the airport, where I was able to hop on an earlier flight to Taipei, finding that Air Macau has nearly a dozen flights a day over there! Good that I did so…otherwise it would now be another 45 minutes later, i.e. 2:15am and not only 1:30am, which is already later enough, but I didn’t want to lack behind in the reports. And the taxi ride from Taipei International Airport (was too lazy to deal with the shuttle busses) takes over half an hour into the city and costed me 2200 TWD (Taiwanese Dollar, roughly equivalent to 500 RMB or 50 EUR). I haven’t seen anything of Taipei yet. That comes tomorrow. After a late breakfast and buying a new camera.

Today’s Lesson: Canon Ixus is not sweat-proof!

Categories: AsiaMacau

Originally Created: 07/04/2007 05:21:54 PM
Last Edited: 07/04/2007