Field Study Trip Part 3: Macau and Zhuhai
On April 2, we departed for Shun Tak Ferry Terminal for Macau—one of China’s two special administrative regions (the other being Hong Kong). Macau was also the last remaining European colony in Asia before it was handed over to China from Portugal in 1999.
As someone who hates boats because of motion sickness, I had despised this ferry ride since we were handed our schedule weeks before the start of the trip. But to my surprise, the ride was pleasant. I lend this to two things. One, I had barely slept the night before and thus passed out five minutes after boarding. Two, this ferry was particularly large and thus didn’t get knocked around by the water too much. Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted by a barrage of signs with Portuguese translations, which was strange because only 2% of Macau’s population is Portuguese and very few Macao natives can speak the language.
After passing through customs, we immediately headed to the Macau Tower. Standing at 338 meters tall, the tower is used for telecommunications and broadcasting, but most famously for skydiving. In fact, it’s the tallest skydiving facility in the world. While enjoying a fantastic buffet near the top of the tower, we got to see a few people plunge to their near deaths. Afterward, we headed about a dozen floors up to see the action. We didn’t see any jumpers, but we did get so see a group of terrified friends clinging onto their harnessing equipment doing the skywalk.
Before taking the ferry to Zhuhai the following day, we shopped at a city square and indulged in some Portuguese cuisine. At this point, we started noticing the pervasiveness of the Macau’s colonial history—particularly in terms of architecture. For a split second, it made me jealous of my friends studying abroad in Europe.
Around 2 pm, we crossed the border to Zhuhai. The ferry ride took literally five minutes. But because we were crossing back into Mainland China, we had to go through customs. Despite Zhuhai being the last leg of our study trip, we stayed at the luxurious Zhongshan Hot Spring Resort, which we would soon learn has long been a popular vacation spot for many Chinese statesmen, such as Deng Xiaoping. I, for one, was adamant about taking advantage of all of this resort’s amenities (and the warm weather) before returning to chilly Shanghai.