Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Macau is a boom town.

It has everything a boom town has: too many cars, too many people, a thousand construction projects, and electricity in the air.

I first saw Macau in May of 1990. It was humid, still, and sleepy. We rented a "moke", which looks like a stripped-down VW Thing, and I drove it over the Macau-Taipa bridge. I think I saw a taxi driving the other way on that bridge. Macau was THAT sleepy.

In those days, the Praia was shaded with trees, and, despite the heat, it was actually a pleasant place to stroll. Start from the frightening statue of Ferreira do Amaral on horseback, near the Lisboa, towards the Pousada Sao Tiago, fortress-turned-hotel. In pockets of shade, grungy old cycle rickshaw drivers would be napping or reading the paper or just waiting for riders. It was a quiet place.

Nowadays, the Praia is still mostly a deafening construction site, crammed with ugly apartment buildings. The part of the Praia Grande without construction is a little nicer, but now the sea has been shut out and the water is a kind of lake or estuary, with a massive fountain. At least now many of those old buildings like the Clube Tenis Sivile is

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