Things you didn’t know about Macau
Macau was in our wish list since last few years but we could make it only now. No regrets; the least we can say is, we enjoyed it to the hilt. We realized what we knew about the place was so little. Macau is not a one day affair. It has so much more to offer. Heritage, history, food, culture, and what not. We explored a good deal of Macau. During our exploration, we came across some interesting things and facts about this small country.
1) Macau, as long as we consider it as an independent country, holds the world record for highest density of population. Around 20000 persons to a square kilometer. (It is still less than Mumbai probably!)
2) Macau is also ranked the richest country in terms of PPP (purchasing power parity) by the World Bank.
3) People of Macau speak Cantonese and not Mandarin.
4) China is at stone’s throw distance; at some places just across the lake, at other places Macau shares a land border.
5) Like Hong Kong, Macau allows two of its commercial banks to print their own currency notes, Banco Nacional Ultramarino and the Bank of China.
6) Macau used to be a Portuguese colony till 1999 and hence most sign boards are in Portuguese. On the other hand, despite Portuguese influence and Portuguese being one of the national languages, most Macanese cannot speak or read this language.
7) When you speak of expats from South Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka etc.), who have settled in Macau, Nepalese are in majority. They are employed everywhere… restaurants, hotels, shops, and other places. Most of them came here around 10- 12 years ago and speak fluent Cantonese.
8) The most common local snack on the street of Macau is the delicious Egg Tarts. It can possibly be called the national snack. Not only the locals snack on it, the tourists also fall for it.
9) During meals or even snacks, every café or restaurant, however small it is, keeps the supply of Chinese tea flowing for free.
10) You can have a simple egg sandwich for 8 Macanese Patacas (~INR 60), of course tea comes free!
11) Getting around in Macau is pretty easy. The shuttle buses run by the five star hotels and casinos can take you around to most of the touristy places free of cost. Also, the local buses are very frequent & inexpensive and taxis are always at your service.
12) Tourists come to Macau for its glitz, but there is much more to experience beyond these.
13) The old town of Macau is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it is well maintained. Very much walkable too!
14) Macau is a very popular weekend destination, that tells us why every hotel and restaurant has separate rate cards for weekdays and weekends.
15) The Macanese culture is quite similar to Indian culture. They normally live in joint families. They also long for a son. Keeping a tutor after school hours is a norm. Learning English in schools is very common. Most of the couples are working couples. Dinner time is normally around seven in the evening.
16) Generally people have two names. One in Chinese and the other in English which has more or less the same sound or meaning as the Chinese one.
17) Macau offers an excellent service to the tourist at no cost. As mentioned above, getting around in Macau is easy and almost free. Most of the five star hotels run some shows or exhibitions for free for the public.
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