Tag Archives: Asia

Macau Excursion

2 Dec

Like the last post, this post is gonna be a little more in the vein of entertainment. Just recently, I went to Macau for a day trip. It’s about an hour ferry ride away from Hong Kong and in many ways is quite similar. Like Hong Kong, it had been a colony of a European state (Portugal) and had been returned to China in 1999 (2 years after Hong Kong was returned) . Macau is now known for casinos. Big ones. Quite a bit of Macanese land is covered in casino property and is the main draw for tourists.

At a shopping area inside The Venetian. Yes, there were gondola rides

The cars lined up at the end of the exhibition

Upon arrival, I noticed that many of the signs had Portuguese on them, an outward sign of being a former colony. Riding a bus into the city I noticed it was very clean and everything was glitzy and elegant. Most of the cars were luxury cars and many people were dressed well. Seeing these initial images really shows why so many people come here.  Well that and because it’s the “Las Vegas of the East” (despite actually being bigger) and having a lot of hype can boost the people coming. Other than casinos, there really isn’t much to do other than shop, eat, and see its old colonial period architecture ( which isn’t too much due to Macau being so small). Macau is also know for hosting automotive events and concerts and I was here for the former. I’d come to see the first exhibition of Japanese D1 drifting and I wasn’t let down. Seeing tuned Japanese cars going sideways at high speeds and I even caught a shirt on of the drivers threw into the audience. All in all I had a good time, although I did not gamble due to being underage (and not really wanting to) despite being able to walk into and through casinos (like The Venetian)  without being carded simply because I “looked” 21 or older. Anyway, it was an interesting place, but if you don’t gamble or party, you’ll only need a couple of days to see the whole place.

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Cheung Chau trip

20 Nov

A few weeks ago I had traveled the the the island of Cheung Chau, a few  miles south of Hong Kong. It took a 45 minute ferry ride to get there and the ride itself was pretty calm and provided a nice view of the other islands south of Hong Kong. I’d been convinced by my friends we were going for a simple day at the beach, so I’d worn flip-flops and trunks. I’d been sadly mistaken. What we ended up doing was more akin to hiking, if anything, and would have been fine if I wouldn’t have worn flip-flops. Despite that mistake, it was a nice, quaint island with good food, beautiful scenery, and plenty of little shops and restaurants to visit.

Kinda a tight fit…

The island was very hill, but had beautiful coast line and some old cannons left behind by pirates. There was even a small hideout cave you could crawl through to get from one side to the other (although it was nearly too small for me and very dark).

The beautiful place where I had cut my feet.

There was swimming involved, but only for about 5 minutes and I cut my feet pretty badly on some underwater rocks. Overall, I was glad to get back to my bed that night.  Beautiful sights, but a rough day.

“I think I wanna stay here forever.”

11 Sep

Those were the first words out of the somewhat large orifice I call a mouth when I saw the sunset over the harbor on my way to my university. Little did I know that I would, at first, regret these words. Later I would un-regret them.

Let me digress a bit. My name is Eric Rowe and I’m entering my sophomore year at Purdue. I’m majoring in both Political Science and Asian Studies and that bit alone is enough reason for me to be here. Well, that and because I’m not versed in any Asian languages yet and Hong Kong’s official language is English (which ,on paper, is good, but is about much of a lie as skim milk actually being milk). English is the official language for things such as government work or education (due to having been a British colony from 1841 to 1997) BUT the majority of people here speak Cantonese (the main spoken language here and in the mainland province of Guangdong). A little note, each of the mainland provinces has its own dialect of Chinese (some may have one or two more), but after the Chinese Communist Revolution, the government standardized Mandarin as the Chinese spoken language and Simplified Chinese as the written language. Since the handover of HK from Britain to the PRC in 1997, things have become more “Chinese”. Mandarin is being spoken a lot more here and there are more and more people coming from the mainland. All in all,  you’re better off knowing Cantonese or Mandarin to get around, although it’s manageable simply knowing English.

The university I’m attending here is the City University of Hong Kong, located in the north on Mainland Hong Kong in Kowloon Tong. It’s a cozy (read: humid) semi-gated campus where the security guards are more for asking directions than for stopping a criminal. It’s a small campus area-wise, but each of the academic buildings (there are three) have up to 13 levels with things like a pool for laps and rooftop gardens!

The residence halls have about 15 floors with the laundry on the rooftop (the washers and dryers are quite limited and small) and you have to scan your ID to get into the building.  A new thing for me is having your visitors swipe in with their IDs and then needing to have them out by midnight. That and the heat. DO NOT COME TO HONG KONG IF YOU CANNOT STAND HEAT!!! The average temp. here is in the 90s, but lately has been feeling like 110 with the 80% humidity. This was the biggest shock to me and my biggest dislike about Hong Kong. Other than that, it’s quite a nice place and stay posted! There are more adventures and lots of pics to come!