It was not as cold as I expected Macau would be. It was late November and while the air had a certain nip to it, I really didn’t have to bother with a jacket. Garbed in my usual black shirt and gray trek pants, we scoured the alleyways of the city. For what? We didn’t know either.
|MORNING WALK ALONG THE STREETS OF MACAU|
While we’ve had our share of Macau’s UNESCO World Heritage Site and Rua da Felicidade during our trip, we wanted more. We wanted to see what other parts of the city looked like, however mundane they turn out to be. What we wanted was to see Macau as locals see them.
|CHINESE SIGNS EVERYWHERE|
|COVERED SIDEWALK ALONG AVENIDA DE RIBIERO|
It wasn’t until our second day in the region that we really got to check out the streets of the city. We planned on getting up really early to see the Ruins of St. Paul’s without the usual tourist crowd, but we failed. Blame it on the previous night’s drinking session at Senado Square.
|ROOSTER SOUVENIRS & CURED HAMS WHICH ARE OFTEN OFFERED FOR FREE TASTE|
After a quick look at the throngs of people at the ruins, we immediately went off a wide street that winds downward. A set of concrete stairs, beset on both sides by colourful urban graffiti, led the way. Halfway down, we were greeted by a fellow Filipino manning a souvenir shop. Perfect. We’re into ref magnets, and together with the Macanese proprietor who can speak passable Tagalog, by the way, they gave us a good deal.
We turned into an alley where art shops together with life-sized Baby-TV characters and posh cafes abound. The stores seemed close at the time, it was too early I guess, and the tourist crowd hasn’t reached the area just yet.
|ONE OF THE NARROWEST ALLEYS WE’VE PASSED|
And on to another alley paved in Portuguese-styled mosaic, the narrowest I’ve seen. A CAT heavy equipment sat idly by, on rest from its street-digging. There were hardly any shops around; most of the structures were, I guess, residential buildings, except for a dusty dimly-lit store selling Buddhist and Chinese charms.
|AN OPEN SQUARE FILLED WITH INTERESTING GRAFFITI|
Some blocks off, a square opened up, two sides of which were firewalled three stories high. The walls were filled with big-ass street-style graffiti. This actually surprised me. I never thought China would be as tolerable to this kind of artworks.
|I LOVE THIS WEED END|
Resting a bit, we watched as a kid, together with his teacher, practiced some sort of martial arts. I was rarin’ to take a closer photo with my ultra wide angle lens, but I didn’t really want to intrude and piss those two off. I didn’t want my camera flying off into the air with a quick kick from them. But I’m joking, I’m sure they’re quite friendly and all, lol.
|BALLS, CHARGING STATION, WIFI|
We walked and walked some more until our tummies called for lunch. Passing off expensive looking cafes and restaurants, we chanced upon a hole-in-the-wall type of eatery selling nothing but balls. They have Wi-Fi and they have charging stations, and yes, their food is relatively cheap.
|THIS LADY HAS BALLS!|
Pointing our way to our orders from a menagerie of meatballs, we eventually gave our skewered thingiemajigs to the lady manning the store. She then proceeded on dipping everything on a boiling vat before lathering it with sweet and spicy sauce. That’s lunch for three right there for only MOP30.00 (PHP175.00). It would’ve been perfect if they’d have rice though.
|AN OUTDOOR SALOON, TOO EXPENSIVE FOR ME THOUGH|
|MORE OF DRIED EVERYTHING|
Our strength replenished, we walked on, passing streets filled with Chinese signs overhead one moment, deserted alleys and colourful open markets the next. The structures we saw were quite utilitarian, most made from bricks, plastered and painted over. The Chinese town that I imagined, complete with curving clay roofs, dragon ornaments and bright red calligraphies, simply wasn’t there.
|QUIET RESIDENTIAL PART OF MACAU|
I think what we saw was the real Macau; stripped bare of the luster of the casinos and without the trappings of the stereotypical Chinese facade. It was as simple as life is simple; a minute peek into the everyday Macanese life outside the tourist trails.