This culture of gambling, casinos and large buildings blend with the architectural Portuguese vestiges and popular and ancient Chinese customs that today try to stay alive. After the last trees of the Alameda, surrounded by water glimpsed the head of the statue of Guan Yin, known in the West as the 'Goddess of Mercy', this is one example of the mixture of the city. The statue is accessed via a footbridge over the water and from there you can also see the modern building of Macao Science Center.
Looking away from Guan Yin and the port of Macao, we focus on the map with the intention of not being late for our meeting at the MGM Resort, where we are finding our friend Carrie. The streets and avenues in this area have that air of big city full of traffic, cars and people. The driver was right and after a few minutes walking down the Dr. Sun Yat -Sen Avenue a huge golden lion at the foot of a large tricolor building tells us that we have arrived. The hotel is luxurious, modern and once inside we see Carrie excitedly waving her hand, hailing from one corner. After recalling briefly and with nostalgia some laughs and jokes from the past, Carrie guides us to her favorite bar in the city: the Lion's Bar, within the Resort, a modern club with live music and an endless cocktail menu. According to Carrie, the Lion's bar scene had hosted many international artists and today we are lucky, the group Soul Republic is playing with its mix of Hip Hop, Latin and Rock rhythms.
While we wait for our drinks, Carrie guesses our first impression of Macao: the trail of different cultures throughout history. In fact, in this corner of China one of the most typical desserts are the famous Portuguese Pasteis de Nata, Carrie's favorites. One of the emblematic places to try these Egg Tarts, as called in this part of the world, is Lord Stow's Bakery shop or Andrew's, whose recipe first became famous in Macao. This property is in Coloane, one of the two islands of Macao along with Taipa, where the Venetian Resort, City of Dreams and Hard Rock are located. Going from Lisbon to Venice through a typically Chinese street is something that can only happen here.
With our drinks already on the table and enjoying the mix of flavors, Carrie talks about the great change in the city in recent years thanks to the casinos and the gaming world. The jewel of the skyline created from this transformation of the city is undoubtedly the Macau Tower, 223m high, which can be raised not only to admire the views on a clear day, but for those ones who want to try their courage with the world's highest bungee jumping. Apart from the Macau Tower, the city skyline is marked by a huge building lotus shaped which houses the Grand Lisboa hotel and casino, which also has inside the Robuchon a Galera restaurant with three Michelin stars. Although casinos are scattered throughout the city in this area and not too far from each other are some of the most known: Rio, Golden Dragon, Casino Lisboa, Macau Palace, etc.
The bus goes rapidly and almost without notice, Carrie pushes us to the street at the next stop. She just remembered that in our way to the historic center there is a place that we should see. We leave the sea behind us and after walking a few steps we can see, hidden among trees, something which looks like an old building that looks like the image Westerners have when they think of China. While approaching, Carrie tells us that this temple is even older than Macau itself. It is believed that this temple was built in the 15th century by fishermen to honor the goddess A-Ma, the Taoist Goddess of Heaven considered protective of sailors and fishermen. Upon entering the courtyard, people burn firecrackers to greet visitors like us and to ward off evil spirits. We take a calm walk getting carried away by the quietness of this oasis lost in the middle of the steel desert of Macau and we get that peace to continue our journey back to the bus.
While we are slowly reaching the Rua de Sao Paulo, Carrie recommends us the souvenir shops located on both sides of the street and the restaurants in the area, many different flavors worth trying. The food in these restaurants have kept the Chinese character mingling with the food that came from Portugal. So, apart from the dried meat in the markets where we also find very interesting ingredients for teas as the cicadas to combat allergies, there is also available the famous cod as in the streets of Lisbon.
We get carried away by the consumer-tourist atmosphere of this street and we are gradually coming to the last point of our day: the ruins of St Paul's Cathedral. Although today all that remains standing is the frontage and the stairs leading to it, before the fire that wiped out the entire resort complex in 1835 there were also a school and the Mother of God Church. The facade is considered the most famous Macau's icon and it is bordered by the Mount Fortress, a military defense of the Portuguese colony in the city that still has 32 cannons and now houses the Museum of Macau.