November 29, Thursday @ 10:30am
Today is the day.
I’ve been looking forward to today for a while now.
Everyone tells me that I’m brave to move 11,000 km away from home, that they could never do something like this. I disagree. I think every and anyone else can do it, it’s just a matter of how much you want it.
Tomorrow is not promised.
So I’d encourage everyone to reflect, ponder and question if they are living the life they want to live. If so, then why are you still living under someone else’s expectations? Be the architect of your own story. Create the lifestyle that you crave, desire and deserve.
For me, it was quite simple. My options were: stay the same or go on a big adventure. What’s the worst that can happen? I run out of money and have to come home and get a job. Big deal! I feel that there is no downside. Sure, things will probably not go the way I plan, but that’s part of the fun, part of the game we call life.
Cheers to the adventures ahead 🙂
A good 13 hours, some babies crying and multiple time zones later…
I landed the next day at 4 pm HK time.
I did NOT have to go through HK immigration because my final destination was actually Macau – another city-state that’s 70 min ferry ride away. To get to the area within HK airport where you can buy the ferry ticket, just follow the signs after you get off your plane.
It doesn’t really matter which operator you buy from because there are only two (Cotai Jet and Turbo Jet), two ferry terminals (HK Macau – the main one – 外港 and Taipa 氹仔) and the price is relatively the same. I paid 270 HKD (= $46 CAD – holy, that’s expensive!) for Turbo Jet to take me to HK Macau Terminal – the closest one to my grandma’s place!
Sometimes timing really is everything! If I missed that ferry, then I would have needed to wait another two hours until the next one.
After over an hour of mostly smooth sailing with a splash of occasional roller coaster-like motions, I went through immigration in Macau with my HK Identity Card. (Thanks mom for forcing me to get this years ago!) This meant that I didn’t have to wait in the long foreigner line and can self check-out with scanned fingerprints and facial recognition.
If I used my Canadian passport to enter Macau (like last year), I would only be allowed to stay for 3 months. With my HK ID Card, I get a whole YEAR! For those wondering, people with just the HK ID card still have a ‘3-star’ status. I’m not too sure what that means actually, but I know I’m able to work in HK without a work permit or sponsorship and can’t vote.
After I made it out, I got picked up at the port by family and headed to grandma’s place. I tried to stay up to at least 10 pm local time so I didn’t prolong my jetlag but I ended up passing out around 9 pm.
December 1, 2 & 3
Just like how HK was taken over from the British for 100 years and returned in 1997, Macau was under Portuguese ruler until 1999, hence the influence on architecture, food and other things. Literally, it’s all Portuguese and Chinese here. Being the gambling hotspot in the East, Macau is definitely one of the richest places on earth. The Venetian hotel here is twice the size of the one in Vegas!
What did I end up doing?
Mostly spent time with my grandma – that’s the whole reason why I was there.
We went to too many casinos to count. It was kind of boring to me because I have no interest in gambling and that are always hoards of mainlanders smoking up a storm, but I like talking to my grandma. For an 84-year-old, she’s actually very forward-thinking and listens to reason. I tell her things that I don’t even tell my mom…Shh, don’t tell my mom!
You may be wondering why there are so many people from China in Macau. I only found out last year that it’s illegal to gamble in China and HK (except for horse racing and the lottery for the latter)! It’s like people going to Amsterdam to smoke a joint or eat a brownie.
We went to a proper Portuguese-Macanese restaurant, ate Portuguese Egg Tart from the ORIGINAL maker – Lord Stow’s Bakery, drove around Macau to see the view. You can literally see China across the water from Macau…a bit too close for me.
One Morning in China
Both HK and Macau are close to China (Duh!).
HK’s entry into China will land you in ShenZhen 深圳 – the silicon valley of China. It’s also where my friend, Izzy is operating his business, Unlock China. It’s a 6-week program where he guides and introduces the group to the tech startups while learning Chinese.
Macau’s crossing into China will lead you to ZhuHai 珠海, which I’m honestly not sure what it’s known for. To my family, it’s known for cheap food and massages.
A 1H massage costs 70-80 RMB (=$13.5-15.5 CAD), which includes a private room, massage clothing to change into (shirt, pants, slippers and paper underwear) and no time limit on sauna, steam room and shower. Not bad!