Returning to the Motherland Through Zhuhai

Bordering Macau is the Gongbei Port of Entry. After a brief taxi ride, we reached the port in Macau to go through immigration and customs. With our Canadian passports and Chinese Visas in hand, the paperwork was relatively painless and we were processed quickly.

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The Gongbei Port of Entry. Photo taken from Zhuhai. Photo: Tang Choy.

Once we exited the Gongbei Port, we were officially in Zhuhai in Guangdong province. Police officers kept a close watch on the sea of people entering and leaving the port, and used segways to weave their way in between the crowd.

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Police officers monitoring the Gongbei Port with segways. Photo: Tang Choy.

It was late morning, and my parents told us that a family friend would meet us across the street from the port to take us for lunch. I soon found myself in a restaurant with plastic wrapped plates and cups.

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Wrapped and individualized dinnerware at restaurant in Zhuhai. Photo: Tang Choy.

To promote hygiene and sanitation, cups and plates are often rinsed with hot water or tea, before use. Although our dinnerware was wrapped, our relative, Kim, still rinsed off our plates and bowls with hot tea. As we waited for our meal to arrive, I tried to tap into the restaurant’s wifi and immediately encountered the “Great Firewall of China.” In Hong Kong and Macau, I had no trouble accessing my social media platforms and websites I commonly used in Canada (e.g. Google). Friends in Canada had forewarned me that I would lose access to popular North American apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, once I was in mainland China – and they were right.

Source: Citytv.

I watched as plates of chicken, fish, razor clam, and leafy vegetables started to land on our table. My mom commented on the tasty flavour of the chicken, and a sense of familiarity washed over me. We were back in the motherland.

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Lunch in Zhuhai. Photo: Tang Choy.

Read more about the Choy family’s travel adventures: There’s No Place Like Home: Touring Taishan.

Glitz, Glamour, and Grandeur in Macau

Ahhh, Macau. The “Las Vegas of Asia.”

Prior to our trip, I had heard stories about this Chinese Special Administrative Region, which was a Portuguese colony until 1999. I was looking forward to seeing the Portuguese influence on the city. To reach the region, we boarded an evening ferry in Hong Kong, and within an hour or so we reached Macau.

The night gave way to bright lights and spectacular casinos, as we made our way into the city. I would soon discover that the casinos were part-gambling, part-hotel, part-shopping, and part-dining. The multi-purpose casinos were a sight and experience in themselves, and customer service was top-notch.

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Bright lights at the Casino Lisboa in Macau. Photo: Tang Choy.
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Entertainment/show inside of a casino in Macau. Photo: Tang Choy.

I was surprised to learn that Macau used its own currency – the Macau Pataca (MOP). However, we were able to continue using the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), without any issues.

As we strolled through Macau, we reached Senado Square. Considered the “city centre of Macau,” the paved streets, colourful buildings, and Portuguese architecture were a feast for the eyes. Souvenir shops and food stalls dotted the streets, and we couldn’t resist trying the famous Portuguese egg tarts. With several stalls offering the treat, it was difficult to pick just one! I found the humidity affected my appetite, and I’ll have to come back to try the pork chop bun and meat jerky.

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Taking in the sights and sounds at Senado Square. Photo: Angie Choy.
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Portuguese tarts in Macau. Photo: Tang Choy.

The Ruins of St.Paul’s is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dating back to the 17th century. By the time we reached the site, tourists were already scattered along the stone steps taking selfies and group photos. As we continued walking uphill towards the Ruins, we came across a path that led to the Fortaleza do Monte (aka Mount Fortress). Formerly a restricted military area, the fort offers a phenomenal view of the city and now houses The Museum of Macau and the Mount Fortress Garden.

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The Ruins of St.Paul’s – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo: Tang Choy.
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View of Macau from Mount Fortress. Photo: Tang Choy.

After an exhilarating stop in Macau, we were ready to enter mainland China and cross into Zhuhai.

If you had to choose between a Portuguese tart, pork chop bun, or meat jerky, what would you go for?

Read more about the Choy family’s travel adventures: Returning to the Motherland Through Zhuhai.