Macau Day - Day 5

by - 22:21

We had a very early start this morning in order to catch the first ferry to Macau. As such, we woke up at 5am and headed to MacDonalds for breakfast as it was probably the only food outlet that was open at such an hour. The cheesy sausage macaroni was one of the more interesting items on the breakfast menu, and the steaming hot dish was a great way to start a day where temperatures were hovering at 16 degrees Celsius. The macaroni was well cooked and the melted cheese added an interesting flavour to the otherwise bland tasting soup.
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After a filling breakfast, we trudged out in the cold again and caught the first trip of service 3C to China Ferry Terminal. The bus operators in Hong Kong have a tradition of decorating a number of their double deck buses every year with a livery based on the current zodiac animal on the lunar calender. AV393 has a gold and red themed livery which commemorates the year of the Ox in 2009.
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New World First Ferry

New World First Ferry operates daily sailings from the China Ferry Terminal to Macau at 30mins interval. The day sailing is significantly cheaper than the evening sailings (departure time after 1700hrs). We had bought the return ferry ticket on Turbojet in advance on Day 2 as economy class tickets on the evening sailings are often sold out on the day itself.
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Departure gate for the 0700hrs sailing. It was a breeze clearing immigration as the terminal was deserted at such an early hour.
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Interior of a New World First Ferry, NF6, which was built by Marinteknik Shipyard in Singapore. Macau immigration and health declaration forms were handed out to the passengers by the cabin attendents during the journey. In addition, drinks and snacks are also available for purchase on board, but most of the passengers (us included) took the opportunity for a much needed nap during the journey instead.
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A Turbojet Universal Mk2003 ferry overtook our craft along the way. Turbojet's ferries cover the 65km sector in 50-60mins, as compared to New World First Ferry's ferries which take 60-70mins.
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Barra 媽閣

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We boarded a Hino HT2ML CL on TCM service 10 from the Ferry Terminal to Barra Terminal. TCM's Hino HT2ML CL are fitted with integral Hino Blue Ribbon bodywork and also retains the original Japanese style bench seats as seen in this photo. The exits of Japanese buses are often very much wider than the entrances as passengers board from the exit door and pay their fare upon alighting from the entrance in Japan.
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In order to accomodate a wide door width without sacrificing the floor area, many buses uses what is known as a twin jacknife bifold door. I am very enthused with this kind of doors as its operation and design resembles that of the old toilet doors in HDB flats.
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Street view of Macau's main avenue, Almeida Ribeiro or more commonly known in Cantonese as San Ma Lo to the locals.
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The Templo A Ma, or 媽閣, worships the patron goddess of the sea, Ma Zu. The Portuguese name "Macau" had in fact originated from the name of historic temple, which is prounounced as "Maa Gok" in Cantonese. Built in 1488, it is also one of the oldest surviving structure in Macau and sees a huge throng of worshippers and tourists daily.
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The MAN 13.230 HOCL was the first low entry bus introduced by Transmac in 1997. Unfortunately, the fleet experienced many teething problems during its service such as weak airconditioning and frequent breakdowns, and eventually led to the grounding of the entire fleet in 2006. They were subsequently reintroduced back into service in early 2009 after the faulty electronic control units (ECUs) were replaced and reprogrammed by MAN technicians.
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A TCM Hino RK1MMKA and Mercedes Benz OH1318 fitted with the same Luen Shing 聯誠 bodywork was photographed laying over at Barra Terminal while working service 10 during the morning peak period.
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We decided to take a service 18 Hino Liesse to Portas do Cercos with the aim of experiencing a ride through the winding backlanes of Macau's city centre, and returned back to Barra Terminal to experience a Transmac MAN 13.320.
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Portas do Cerco 關閘

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City of Dreams is a new casino development along the Cotai Strip in Taipa. Owned by Melco Crown Entertainment, the $2.1billion site features a high end shopping arcade and top hotels such as Grand Hyatt and Hard Rock Hotel. As with many other casinos in Macau, a complimentary shuttle service is provided for visitors from the Portas do Cerco. The shuttle buses which pick up passengers in front of the immigration complex have both Macau and Chinese registration plates are they have to enter the restricted area before proceeding to the pick-up point.
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WuZhoulong FDG6121GC3 on TCM service 25 picking up passengers in Toi San district near the Barrier Gate. Despite the fact that these buses were newly introduced, they were received very poorly by passengers. In fact, many local bus enthusiasts refer to these buses as 五洲虫 instead of 五洲龍!
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Taipa Island 氹仔島

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The bulk of TCM Service 30's fleet comprises of Hino HR7J fitted with Hino Rainbow bodywork. As with the older Hinos in TCM's fleet, the bus is virtually identical to the examples in Japan. In addition, this bus has passenger friendly features such as zero step boarding and exit, and offers a superior ride quality with virtually zero vibration when idling. MK-86-49 was photographed departing Toi San for Taipa.
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One of the most famous street food in Macau is the Pork Cutlet Bun, or 猪扒包。It comprises of a pork chop which is stuffed into a bun and microwaved before serving. The pork chop is pan fried to retain its juiciness and has a single bone at the side. The Tai Lei Loi cafe at Largo Tamag Barbosa at Taipa is generally regarded as the best place to sample of these buns. However, they only start to sell the authentic buns from 3pm every day. At other times, a variation of the popular bun is sold instead, where the plain bun is replaced with either a pineapple flavoured(波罗包) or a sweet bun. It costs MOP16 (~S$2.90) per bun.
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Guan Di Temple 关帝庙 in Taipa's historic quarter.
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Many of the old Portuguese colonial buildings had been beautifully preserved and converted into an assortment of restaurants and cafes.
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W01 is a Huang Hai DD6109S01 which was brought in by Transmac in 2007 for evaluation purposes. However, Transmac decided to purchase more Higer (King Long) buses instead. The demonstrator is often seen working service 34.
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As many of the services linking Taipa and Macau peninsula are loop services, they only call at the historic quarter in only one direction.
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An innovative use of the space in the middle of a roundabout to bring some Christmas cheer to the residents and motorists.
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A very old Nissan Diesel coach was found parked at the heavy vehicle parking area opposite the Macau Jockey Club at Taipa. It even has the old Nissan Diesel badge at the front!
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Instead of backtracking to the old town centre and walking almost 3km to The Venetian, we decided to make use of a newly introduced service to transfer to the free Venetian Shuttle at the airport instead. Svc 26 is jointly operated by TCM and Transmac using either Toyota Coaster or Mitsubishi Rosa.
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The venetian-themed canals are the central feature in The Venetian. Shoppers may also pay MOP110 to experience a 15 minute gondola ride on one of the 3 canals in the Grand Canal Shoppes. However, it seemed that the novelty had quickly worn off as I saw much fewer gondolas in action as compared to my visit a year ago!
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An interactive touch-screen map provides directions to disoriented shoppers. Due to its confusing layout, the Grand Canal Shoppes in the Venetian often succeeds in luring shoppers into the labryinth and encourages them to end up spending a fair amount of time at the shops as they struggle to locate the exit.
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Senado Square 議事亭前地 and Ruins of St Paul's 大三巴牌坊

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Macau celebrated her 10th anniversary handover to the People's Republic of China in December 2009. The Ruins of St Paul's was unfortunately included in the festivities with a strange looking float was installed at the base of the ruins. The crude and brightly lit contraption could not have provided a sharper contrast to the stately monument behind it.
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Simple but elegant Christmas decorations at Senado Square. It was certainly a memorable experience shooting in the drizzle amidst cold gusting winds!
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Ferreira Amaral 亞馬喇前地總站 is one of the major transfer bus stops in Macau, and is located opposite the Grand Lisboa Casino. It was built by the Macau government to encourage the locals to switch to public transportation by providing a convenient location where passengers could easily transfer to another service with minimal walking. It is also the busiest bus stop in Macau with a total of 28 bus services serving 34 destinations throughout the territory.
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Turbojet Ferry

Turbojet was formed to provide high speed ferry links between Hong Kong and other destinations in the Pearl River Delta on 1 Jul 1999 through the merger of Far East Jetfoil and Turbocat. They offer ferry services between Hong Kong and Macau at with departures every 5mins during peak hours. We decided to return on Turbojet although it calls at the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal on Hong Kong Island which is much further from our guesthouse as compared to the China Ferry Terminal as we wanted to experience a different operator. Turbojet tickets are generally HKD1 more expensive in economy class as compared to those from New World First Ferry.
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Turbojet is the world's largest operator of Boeing 929 Jetfoils. This waterjet propelled ferry was designed by Boeing in the 1970s by adapting many of the systems found on its jet airliners onto a marine platform.
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Interior of a Turbojet Jetfoil. It was not easy to tell that the ferry was already 28 years old from the clean and well-maintained cabin! The high pitch whine of a turbine engine was also evident when the 2 powerful Rolls Royce Allison 501KF engines spooled up at the start of the journey. The Boeing 929 Jetfoil has a maximum speed of 45kts and provides an exceptionally smooth and stable ride as the main body is lifted off the water surface by the skis mounted under the craft when travelling at high speeds.
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In addition, Turbojet also provides a complimentary magazine Horizons for every passenger. The magazine features various articles about sightseeing and the culture in Macau, and doubles as a menu for the snack and beverage service during the journey. A safety card was also placed at the back of every seat pocket for passengers to familarise themselves with the emergency procedures.
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