Guia Lighthouse, A-Ma Temple, and Moorish Barracks

Adjacent to my hotel was Guia Park and rising on a hill was the Guia Lighthouse. The park had a circuit and fitness machines. Lots of people, young and old, were out exercising.

I traipsed up the hill to the lighthouse. There was a panoramic view across the city.

All the buses here seem to take 6 MOP (Macao Pataca, about 60p in the UK). You can use cash or a charge card, which I didn’t buy since I was staying for only a few days. If you pay by cash, you must have the exact change. No change is given. You drop the money into a box, which the bus driver checks before he presses a button to move the money into a bigger box below.

The oldest temple and longest surviving building in Macao is A-Ma Temple. The name Macao was accidentally derived from the name of the temple. When Portuguese settlers arrived in the 16th century, they asked for the name of the place. Instead, they were given the name of the temple, ‘A-Ma Gu’. This was transcribed into the Portuguese Macao.

A-Ma temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions. Many visitors pray and buy incense. The temple has several buildings, catering for followers of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. In the photos below, the conical sticks are giant incense.

On the way to the temple, you go through Barra Square, where so many buses seem to head to. It faces the Inner Harbour. The tiles, which feature throughout Macao, are laid in a wavy pattern to mirror the flow of a nearby river, similar to Senado Square.

Within walking distance is the Moorish Barracks. Built in 1874, the barracks originally housed an Indian regiment from Goa, another place with Portuguese links. You can see the Islamic influence in the design.

Macao, for reasons I couldn’t work out, had a lot of jewellery shops, sports shoe shops, and drugs stores.

For dinner, the first place I went to was shut. It’s not unusual, I’ve found, for the opening times on Google to be inaccurate in this part of the world.

The second place, Ting Ting, was open. They originally gave me an English menu. I asked if they could combine a couple of dishes. They then gave me the Chinese menu! When the person kept pointing to item C4 on the Chinese menu, I looked on the English menu and said I didn’t want spaghetti. She then suggested something else before going back to item C4 when I described what I wanted. After a few rounds of this, I pointed Google Translate at the Chinese menu. It was then I realised the difference between the two menus. Confusingly, reference numbers on one didn’t correspond to the other. For example, A4 on the English menu wasn’t A4 on the Chinese menu. So, she was pointing to a sauerkraut tofu casserole, which corresponded with what I was asking for but wasn’t on the English menu.

The meal, when it came, was piping hot. It was delicious. I decided I’d go there the following day.

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