Day Trip to Macau

  • imperial I
  • November 25, 2019

Just to the south of Hong Kong lies Macau. This tiny territory of just under thirty square kilometers must be one of the few places in the world where a former colony boasts a higher per capita income than the parent country. Macau was settled while the Portuguese were acting as middlemen for trade between the Chinese and Japanese during the sixteenth century. These days it is internationally known for the casinos, whose revenues now better those of Las Vegas, but beneath that all-encompassing industry a small segment of Europe has lived on inside the Chinese world. The British poet, W. H. Auden, visited many years ago and wrote a poem which began: A weed from Catholic Europe, it took root Between the yellow mountains and the sea, And bore these gay stone houses like a fruit, And grew on China imperceptibly … And finishes with a line that Auden presumable meant as a slight ‘and nothing serious can happen here’. but which may have helped preserve some of the charm and tastes of the Portuguese world. These range from the ruins of the Church of St. Paul and a cemetery through which you can trace the history of the settlement, to the foods be they simple bread or substantial Macanese fare. Some of the numerous gaming revenues that the small territory which, like Hong Kong, has reverted to China, have been put to use in providing public services and expanding the university.