Story From Downtown Macau

As promised in my last blog post, I thought I would share my experience of my day trip to Macau (which lies on the western side of the Pearl River Delta, bordering Guangdong province in the North).

I went to China with my Dad and we were both in agreement that it would be a shame for me not to go and explore a little further out. Having heard that Macau was only a two and a half hour coach ride away, off I went for the day by myself.

The coach wasn’t very busy and I spent the journey looking out at China as it passed by the window. I saw lots of rural areas that would make for great photographs, but unfortunately I couldn’t really ask the driver to pull over while I took some pictures.

A couple of hours later I arrived at a very crowed bus station at the border of Zhuhai and Macau. I had been told that I would need my passport to cross the border and went through customs without any problems at all. Once I was in Macau, I headed downtown to see what I could find and see what it was all about. There is certainly a notable contrast between the thriving tourist areas of the region and its residential areas, so I hoped to capture some of this while I was there.

After walking the streets for an hour or so I saw something quite promising down one of the side streets. I noticed some steep steps that looked as though they might take me to a higher vantage point and would (hopefully) lead to some photographs of the city.

My luck was in. I followed this maze of steps all the way to the top and found a great open space that allowed for a fantastic view of Macau. This best thing about it was that I had it all to myself!

There were no tourists or locals, just me! I spent the next hour or so there, enjoying the view and the sunshine on my face. I took some photographs that I could later stitch together in Photoshop (which can be seen in the China Gallery of this site) to make a panorama of the scene. I had a great time and was so pleased with finding such a stunning location.

I realized that I’d been up there for a little longer than expected, so I made my way back down into the noise of the city. I was gasping for a drink and it was only when I went to buy some water that I noticed that they had their own currency in Macau (the Macau dollar).

After persuading the woman at the counter to take Chinese Yuan (I didn’t have any Macau dollars) I decided to head back to Guangzhou to meet my father for tea.

I got to the border and queued up to go back through…but they wouldn’t let me back in!!! What I hadn’t realized (nor my father) was that Macau isn’t classed as The People’s Republic of China and my Visa was no longer valid (it was for one visit to China only).

The duty manager of customs told me that I would need to get a new Visa and that could take a day or two (not good news) and she directed me back towards Macau (where I had to go through customs again).

After a moment of sheer panic (all I had on me was what I was wearing, my camera & passport) I knew that this was something I needed to get sorted straight away.

It was late in the afternoon and any place where I could get a Visa would be closed soon. I got a taxi to a place where I could (apparently) get a visa, but they told me I couldn’t get one to go back to Guangzhou.

The guy there told me that I would have to go back to the border and ask for a temporary visa just to go to the other side (Zhuhai). So I went back, eventually finding the place I needed to be and asked them for the temporary visa.

Luckily it was only 4:30pm and I still had half an hour to get the visa (which cost around £45)!

Needless to say, as soon I got though the border I jumped on the first coach back to see my Dad and tell him all about it!

Downtown Macau Camera Metadata
Camera: Canon EOS 40D Digital SLR
Lens: Canon EF-S 17mm – 85mm IS USM
ISO: 125
Focal Length: 78mm
Shutter Speed: 1/80th sec
F-Stop: f/20

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