Case Family in Hong Kong

Adventure Of The Week

Posted in Tantalizing Travel by jpcase01 on November 11, 2007
Macau family photo
This week’s main adventure–including this week’s main difficulties, disappointments and dilemmas–occured just yesterday.  The three of us set out for Macau yesterday morning around 10:30 am.  [What and Where is Macau?–>Macau is another island located about 35 miles west of Hong Kong across the Pear River delta.  It is just over one hour by ferry from HK.  Macua, like Hong Kong, is a Special Administrative Region of China.  Settled by the Portuguese in 1557, Macau was assessed as vital in the European-Orient trade route.  It became, then a Portuguese colony, much like Hong Kong was a British colony, and in 1999, Macau was given autonomy as a Special Admin. Region of China.]  So, our reason for going on this little trip was not for mere joy, although it was nice to see some place new, but rather in order to activate our new HK visas (as Ezri and I originally entered on 90 day tourist visas, and acquired new visas, but had to leave the country and re-enter HK in order to activate those new visas).  We got to the ferry ticketing office, and found that the earliest available ferry would be 1:30pm (and at the time, it was 11:00am)….so, we bought the tickets, a bit disappointed about the wait.  We went on over to the boarding area and waited in standby–and we got on!  We were among the last 4 people they let on the 12:00pm ferry; the doors literally closed right behind us!  The ferry ride was fine–about 1 hr 15 minutes in length.  Upon arrival we found our way through the maze of customs and immigration, and finally, were out into the world of a whole new country… could literally feel the difference.  Hong Kong has this tremendously fast-pace about it that you just sense, and this place seemed a bit less intense.  We found our way out to the bus station and to a bus that would take us to the historic town centre of Largo de Senado (Senado Square).  First observation:  Saturdays in Macau are nuts!!!  There were people everywhere…tourists, locals…people, people, people.  But the square was really nice and the Portuguese architecture was fabulous–a nice change from the super-modernity of Hong Kong (which is also characteristic of many parts of Macau).  We ate lunch at a Portuguese restaurant that was a bit overpriced and disappointing, but the atmosphere was fabulous–outdoor, shaded patio seating in a quite spot.  After lunch, we made our way through the maze of streets to St. Paul’s Cathedral ruins–it’s ‘ruins’ now, as the facade of the building is all that remains.  But, it is quite a staggering sight as you begin your way up this hill amongst the crowds and noises, and you see this massive Cathedral frame, quietly seated on a hill.  Ascent to St. Paul's Cathedral It was surreal to say the least.  There was some sort of festival going on, so we enjoyed sighting stilt-walkers dressed in bright colors and people in costumes as we made our ascent to St. Paul’s.  We continued on up to the Fortaleza do Monte.  This is an old fort sight, complete with steel cannons–with amazing views of the city.  Fortaleza do Monte--cannon We enjoyed walking around up there for quite some time, and just sitting, enjoying the green grass and park benches…flowers and trees…oh, and Ezri’s press-conference!  When we were leaving the fort, Jason took Ezri while I went to the restroom.  I come out of the restroom to find Jason and Ezri sitting on a bench with about 7-10 people all around them–cameras and cell phones in hand–taking pictures and oohing and ahhing over Ezri!  She was eating it up.  I grabbed our camera, and tried to catch just a few seconds of this Ezri-craze–hopefully I got a bit of something and we will post it asap–it should definitely make you smile 🙂  Post-paparazzi, we began to make our way back down to the square to catch a bus back to the ferry.  We caught a bus that we thought was going our way.  Sat down and enjoyed the ride.  We arrived at the port and went right along with the crowd of hurried people–“departures”–that’s where we went.  Anyway, after an hour of waiting through customs and getting our passports stamped to stand in another line, we came to the immigration officer who hands me an extra paper to fill out to apply for a visa.  I was so confused…so I am trying to explain to him in English that I need to get back to Hong Kong–all the while, he is telling me I need to “go back to Macua and apply for visa there”….I nearly began to cry as we were nearing the departure time marked on our ferry tickets back to HK….”how do I apply for a visa?”, I asked, “Do I need a visa for Macau?”….He explained that I did not need a visa for Macau…but that I did not have a visa in my passport….Confusion was now at a whole new level until he said again, “You have no Chinese visa.  You must go to Macau and apply for visa there.”——–Ding Ding Ding—You are about to cross borders into the real CHINA!!!  No wonder the lines had been staggeringly longer than we’d expected…no wonder people were taking loads of goods with them back to CHINA from Macau!  That’s correct–> we were at completely the wrong port, and had actually successfully passed through one line of immigration–“leaving Macau”– and were at the Chinese ‘barrier gate’ leading into Guongdong Province, China!  We back-tracked and found an officer who took us back through where we had to “re-enter” Macau and then found a police officer who said we were far away from the place we needed to be.  “Far…take taxi…too far…taxi”, he said.  So, we found a taxi, and showed the driver our ferry tickets.  We arrived at the correct port–considerably more familiar–and found our way to the ticketing office–showed them our tickets (showing that we’d missed our scheduled ferry) and they said to proceed to another desk to ask them about it.  Amazingly, as a staggering line was beside us in standby, the attendant shook his head and let us on through customs to board the 7:30 ferry!!!  We got through customs, walked through the many corridors, and onto the boat–at last, we sat down to enjoy the ride.  The waves were quite choppy on our way home, and several passengers took advantage of the “vomit bags” (as they were appropriately labeled).  Ezri enjoyed talking to and playing with a nice lady from Korea who sat next to us.  —  Arriving back in Hong Kong, we accomplished our initial mission of activating our new visas when we passed back through immigration in HK.  Oddly, an attendant checked Ezri’s temperature with a temporal thermometer as we passed through customs..hmmm, dunno why?? —doesn’t matter, b/c she didn’t have fever anyway.  All in all, it was the most exhausting day we’ve had in a while.  It was quite the adventure, though, and if God’s plan is for us to depend on Him and bring him glory in our weakness–i.e. His strength–by all means, to God be the glory!  (We’ll be posting some “Macau video clips”, so keep a look out).
–Mel, for the Cases
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  1. Laura Roberts said, on November 12, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Hey y’all! Crazy times! I’m pretty sure the reason they take temps is because of the whole SARS scare that happened a couple years ago. Last time I was there they had one of those forehead scanner things that look a lot like a bar-code reader at Wal Mart, and they zapped every person who came through immigration. If you had a fever, you got taken to a curtained-off area and checked out for symptoms of SARS. No SARS, no problem. SARS? Problem.

    Praying for y’all right now.

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