Friday, August 12, 2005

Macau Tower adventure

On my 1st full day in Hong Kong, I started off by taking one of the famous double decker trams which terminated in front of the ferry terminal to Macau. Macau, like Hong Kong, is a former European colony at the mouth of the Pearl River in China. It's a 60 minute jetfoil ride from Hong Kong to Macau, which I had planned to do anyway, but since I was in front of the ferry terminal, I decided to do it that day.

I mildly screwed up the ticketing process - assuming that I could get tickets on the next foil close to the departure time, and went to a McDonald's, where I had, of all things, Korean BBQ (which was very tasty.)

I made the jetfoil, because I bought a first class seat (only $4 more, which also included lunch - guh!). The jetfoil, to my disappointment, was a completely enclosed boat (w/ windows.) First class meant a free copy of the South China Morning Post, and I sat back to give it a read, until I spotted an advertisement on the seat tray table in front of me for the Macau Tower.

I had plans to see other sights in Macau, but I rapidly pushed them aside and made a beeline to the Tower as soon as we made land. (I took the bus from the Ferry terminal, though, so my beeline wasn't as rapid as desired!)

The Tower, which serves no commercial purpose (no offices, no communications equipment) runs a series of extreme adventure activities. I chose the Skywalk X - a walk around the outside of the Tower @ 233 meters (~725 feet) above the city, on a 5ft. wide walkway. (With winds blowing at altitude too.)

It dawned on me, as I was taking my first steps onto the walkway, that all of the other customers were smallish local folks who probably weighed 100 pounds less than me. This really got me thinking, as I could feel the metal walkway flex with each step.

While slightly scary, the Skywalk was exhilarating, with amazing views of Macau, China, and the Pearl River on a clear day, as you can see from these pictures.

(A little picture info: Macau is all of the area inside the mountains, a fully developed city. So developed in fact, that the land the Tower stood on was only recently engineered (reclaimed) in the late 90's.

We had an excellent tour guide who took these pictures. While in many of the pictures I stretched out off the Tower, the tour guide routinely clung on by his toes to get some great pictures.

Skywalk X was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.

The total adventure cost $190. Luckily, that's 190 Macau patacas, at roughly 8 to $1USD, making the total cost about $24.

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With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
Click to go to my online photography

World sun clock

Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous