Travel 2006 – Macau, Day 5

Wednesday, 15th November 2006 – Macau

Needless to say, there wasn’t enough sleep. My alarm went off at 7.15, and I lurched off to the gym for a session on the exercise bike to try and combat the food excesses this place provides! After that it was breakfast followed by a shopping trip. Having discovered that the new Canon 400D digital beastie is about £200 cheaper here than in the UK, and having been issued with photographers’ access, it seemed like a good time to go digital…Of course the result was a new lens, spare memory card, and extra battery too, so it wasn’t cheap but that’s my birthday and Christmas present rolled into one, so no complaints! I now have half a day to learn how to use the thing before I go out and start trying to use it anger…

Apart from that I also managed to snag three silk blouses that fit (one in black, one is a sort of plum colour, and the last one is a silvery-blue) and a velvet and silk jacket. Total cost of that little lot was well under £100, and it means that I do have clothes that fit. Most of what I’ve brought with me doesn’t really anymore, and I’m spending a lot of time putting safety pins in the waistbands and trying to find ways of keeping things up/down/where they should be…

Having shopped, we tried to get a cab back to the hotel, but the weather has taken a turn for the inclement, and consequently there were no empty cabs anywhere. We gave up, and returned to Senado Square, where the photo shoot/press opportunity was supposed to be happening, only to find that it was cancelled due to the weather. As the whole thing was being held outdoors, and involved a drawing competition of some sort, it was probably just as well. As the bikers were apparently planning something that involved drawing with less-than-approved or appropriate body parts, Nikki, in charge of the press side of things, figured we’d had a lucky escape really. We retreated back to the Singing Bean coffee bar, where Glyn had earlier been scared by their legendary “caramel crunch cake” which was served in portions the size of a couple of house bricks. Despite having more enthusiasm for cakes and desserts than we think is natural, Glyn admitted defeat about two thirds of the way in. Lynne and I ordered iced coffees and an egg tart each, which was altogether more manageable. By the time we staggered back out the rain had eased, so we wended our way back to the hotel, via the Clube Militar de Macau , where we booked ourselves in for dinner on Thursday evening. Wandering past the Holiday Inn, we encountered a somewhat disoriented Alain Menu. He’d arrived yesterday and then failed to sleep, claiming to have seen every hour up to and including 6am before he finally nodded off. He seemed normal, at least for him, and now reckons he’ll win because Lynne is here.

Back at the ranch, I took a swim, having cycled this morning, then dressed for dinner, at the same time as loading the software for the new camera, and charging up its batteries. Tonight we dine at the Macau Tower, which normally gives plenty of opportunity to take spectacular photos, but the cloud was so low when I looked out of the window earlier, I doubt much will be visible. Still, it will allow me to test the camera out before the first practice session tomorrow morning.

Dinner was at the 360 Cafe at the top of the Macau Tower. We hadn’t been too optimistic about the weather conditions, but by the time we got there (after cocktails at Wynn – caipirinhas in the garden by the pool, watching the fanged terrapin fountains) the clouds had lifted and so we had a clear view of the fireworks, and of course a superb meal. They were going strong on Portuguese style dishes this month, but the Indian section of the buffet was also very good indeed. The seafood curry was especially wonderful, and the chestnuts in port and bacon just as good as I remember from last year. A selection of tiny puddings was a good way to end the evening, and we lurched back to the Rio stuffed full of food.

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