Before the ‘handover’ of Hong Kong back to China, Brits could stay and work in the colony as long as they wished, visa-free. After the handover, Brits found that they (like all the other non-Chinese) had to get a time-restricted visa. This normally required that the visa holder had to pass in and out of immigration to start the clock on the new visa. The cheapest way to do this was to take a day trip by jetfoil to Macau on the opposite bank of the Pearl River Delta. Not much of a hardship, as Macau is a completely different enclave – very Mediteranean, a bit ramshackle and sleazy, but a fascinating place that has preserved its heritage better than Hong Kong.
The jetfoil departs from the ferry terminal (owned by ‘Sir’ Stanley Ho) in Kennedy Town on Hong Kong Island. ‘Sir’ Stanley also owns the original casino in Macau.
That's Sir Stan's red stripey ferry terminal on the headland
The jetfoil passes under the original 2.6km Macau-Taipa Bridge joining the nearest island to the mainland
The view of the newer from Taipa. Air pollution in the PRD is ever present
It's compulsory for every visitor to Macau to have their photo taken in front of St Paul's cathedral facade
It takes unspeakable talent to get a photo of St Paul's without another tourist hogging the limelight - lovely drain grill!
My battered old copy of the Lonely Planet describes the Bela Vista Hotel as 'Macau's equivalent to Singapore's Raffles' which is a bit of an overstatement. Nonetheless, the Bela Vista was a standout building overlooking the harbour.
You can see more articles on the Bela Vista and Macau here
The view from the Bela Vista balcony
Tiffin at the Bela Vista
These streets (photographed in the mid-80s) were 'shabby-chic' before the term was even invented
For a long time, the favoured means of transport around the Portuguese enclave was by Mini Moke. They were cheap and fun. Curiously, Macau drives on the English side of the road unlike China or Portugal. The pataca is unofficially linked 1-for-1 with the HK$...for the convenience of the HKers wishing to throw away money in Stanley Ho's casinos.
It also used to be compulsory to drive around the streets as if partaking in the Macau F3 Grand Prix
Don't leave your camera behind
The smell of joss - probably the thing you'll miss the most when you leave Asia
Being much smaller than Hong Kong, trees are grown from the smallest of balconies
I'm not sure that relic is stable enough to lean on, sir
An article on Macau’s current atractions can be found here.