Today was especially brutal, but only for me. I must have made six trips to the Old Taipa Village from Galaxy Macau and Venetian. My feet hurt. But it was worth it to see the soul of the city finally laid bare.
Old Taipa is the third leg of what makes up Macau, the other two being the old Portuguese section centered around Senado and the mega-casinos on both Cotai and the peninsula. Old Taipa is the Chinese face of Macau. Like other parts of the city, its cultural aspects are put to the fore. Unlike other parts of the city, people actually live and work in Taipa.
I'd always wondered where the thousands of casino, hotel, and resort workers go home to at the end of the day. Staying in a five-star hotel is nice illusion, but it's only for vacationers. So what about the people who stay here for most of the year and make their living off the illusion? The tall apartment complexes behind Old Taipa give a glimpse of what life must be like for Macau's working class.
As per my plan, I brought my Mom and Dad and my nephew with me to Sunday Mass. With the elevators and travelators, the trip wasn't too bad for my Mom. The small church was a bit snug for the whole congregation but we all fit inside. Mass was in English (the one before was in Chinese and the one after would be in Portuguese.) There were plenty of Filipinos, but also faithful from other nationalities.
It was after Mass that I did my exploration of Taipa. I had seen Old Taipa from the bus the other day and it was just across the street from Galaxy and on the same side as Our Lady of Carmel. I had been there during my last visit seven years ago, but I couldn't quite locate it until today. And as I wandered down the streets I saw that very little had actually changed.
After lunch at Galaxy, I brought Mom and Dad with me to Taipa. I told my sister to take the kids back to Venetian, where I would meet them in 45 minutes. I showed Mom and Dad the general lay of the land and then headed back to Venetian on foot.
Over at Venetian, I met my sister and the kids and showed them the way to Sands Cotai so they could catch the Dreamworks Parade. After I got them settled, I headed back to Taipa to meet Mom and Dad.
That should give you a general gist of how my day went and why I had to make so many trips. We did a bit of shopping at Taipa because the prices were lower than at the hotels. Even dinner we got from Taipa, too.
Macau has been fun but it will be good to go home tomorrow.