*sent on August 4, 2009 from Hong Kong; part 3 of 4 (read part 1 and 2)*

In Toronto, you often see Asian ladies carrying around umbrellas even when it’s a beautiful day. While I understood they do it to shield themselves from the sun’s cancerous rays and preserve their porcelain skin, I never really appreciated the practice.  I finally did during my day trip to Macau, a 1 hour ferry ride from Hong Kong Island. It was a blazing 33 degrees + humidity, so I dug out my umbrella (lined with a UV reflector, of course)!  I was on my own for the day so navigated to the centre of the Macau at Sao Paulo Square.

First stop, a well-known store that specialized in jerky, little almond cakes, and portugese egg tarts – delicious!  Macau used to be a Portugese settlement and its influences are evident in the city centre, where there were cobblestone streets full of little shops, European style balconies and buildling, and churches. Walking through the streets, there were greeters thrusting samples of jerky from all angles and one even tried to shove one into my mouth with a pair of tongs when my hands were too full (the umbrella, and a cold drink) to take their generous offer.

The day only got hotter as I trekked around to see the Ruins of St. Paul, the remaining facade a Portugese cathedral and the Fortress and Crypt around it. After about 3 hours of walking, the heat was too unbearable.

I wanted to check out the Fisherman’s Wharf as well but didn’t want to get heat stroke. So, I hopped back on the bus and headed to the Venetian Casino.  The exterior was gorgeous and there was even a canal with gondola rides (both inside and outside!).  There were murals everywhere and the insides were designed so that you felt like you were strolling the streets of Venice. 

From high end designer stores, to buffets, shows such as Cirque du Soleil, and of course, the casino, the Venetian was packed with things to do.  Eventually, I headed back to Hong Kong Island…and decided to go to the Peak to get a beautiful view of the city. But I must say, the highlight was probably taking the Peak Tram up to the top, a funicular rail car that has been around since the 1890s, because you can see the harbour and the city line, and due to the steep climb, everything looked like it was angled at 45 degrees.