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Andy

Andy

 

Copyright © Andy, 2007

Visit Andy's website here for more photos and additional information: http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/Bikepacker/

 

Part1 | Part2 | Part3 | Part4 | Part5 | Part6 | Part7 | Part8 | Part9 | Part10 | Part11 | Part12 | Part13 | Part14 | Part15 | Part16 | Part17 | Part18 | Part19 | Part20 | Part21 | Part22 | Part23 | Part24 | Part25 | Part26 | Part27


A day in Macau - border watching...


Day 218, 4th January
Macau

The Barrier Gate in 2002
The Barrier Gate in 2002
Taken from the Macau side, the Barrier Gate is covered in weeds, the glass panel prevents you from entering China.

Had a great sleep last night, even though it was a bit noisy being in the room by the stairs. It was strange because there was a gap at the bottom of the wooden walls, like in a toilet cubicle, which helped the mice to scurry from room to room un-hindered. We got up and wandered the strrets to find some good bread for breakfast, then used the net to see if there was any more info from the guys - no, so I left a message with our planned route so that we could meet up somewhere along the coast of China. Also had more mails from my dearest, and posted her a card and a letter today.

Stephane and I decided to stay in Macau another day realizing that there was a lot to see in this lovely little place. We both went our separate ways and set off to explore the place. My first stop was the Guia Fortress, with its landmark lighthouse, the oldest on the coast of China. The park on Guia Hill was an absolute pleasure to walk around with its winding pathways and tropical trees. Small Chinese shrines dotted the park, usually at the base of trees. Evidence of preparation for war was noticible by the decaying concrete gun emplacements, probably built to fend off Japanese invaders during WWII, even though Portugal and its colonies remained neutral during this period?

Old Colonial Fortress
Old Colonial Fortress
On the Pearl River delta these decaying fortresses were to be found - by accident.

I carried on north through busy streets and found a living temple, thick with inscense and people praying. There were small ovens for the burning of the Hell Banknotes which can be bought in numerous shops in town. Begging women waited outside the temple complex with cups in hands. Further north, I walked through a park full of caged birds, then to the heavily fenced shoreline where you can see China barely 100 yards away to the north. The border itself was well fenced-off with watchtowers on the Chinese side next to the modern Gongbei border crossing. It was possible to walk right up to the old Portuguese border gate which lay between the two border crossing channels. A glass screen in the archway stopped you from passing through it into China.

I visited Sun Yat Sen park as I did in 1993, and noticed that the trees were much taller by the border, and also that the border had been fortified with two fences now and patrolled by motorbike police. I remember last time climbing up a deserted Portuguese watchtower and looking into a crumbling Gongbei - the old town is now a metropolis!

Nick and bike
Nick and bike
Finding a way to cross the many rivers.

I met up with Stephane later at the hostel and we took a wander to the newly opened Macau Tower, well, it’s been open for 10 days. There seemed nobody about so we took the lift up to the top for some great night-time views of the city and China. After that, we wandered back to the hostel along the lit up shoreline.

By the way, Tim Pike contacted me about his new contact site for travelers who want to hook up with other like-minded folk, check it out at http://www.whileyouwander.com

Day 219, 5th January
Macau - CHINA - Gongbei - Doumen - Xinhui

Woke up at 8am, Stephane went off to the bakery to get some fresh rolls of bread, I scoffed four for breakfast before we set out at ten. We decided to cycle the circuit that we walked last night around the southern tip of the peninsular to see the tower and get some photos before heading up to the Barrier Gate.

Our sponsor...
Our sponsor...
...Vigour Beer - helping guys like us to feel better looking after a days cycling!

We had to take our bikes through the pedestrian channels on both sides of the border, and it seemed no problem for the guards at all that we had our own transport in China! In fact, the new Chinese customs building was so relaxed that it even had music playing through loudspeakers, just like a supermarket.

I didn’t recognize Gongbei, the place had utterly changed since 1993, there was no market, no grubby streets, it had all the trappings of a western city. Pity the poor sods who come here from Macau and say that they have been to China… wait there…. I did this in 1993!

It wasn’t long before we were in places where foreigners on bikes were odd, and the staring began again - I’d missed that in HK and Macau, in a strange kind of way. The area that we were crossing was the delta lands of the Pearl River, mainly flat with a few high hills. Mass development projects were everywhere, in another 10 years this area could be one huge urban sprawl. From Doumen the road went north-westerly along. After a rip-off café stop, I carried on to pass the ten-thousand-mile mark - wow! We found a place to camp shortly afterwards which was infested with snakes. Still, it felt good to be back in the tent again…

Total Miles: 10009.57 Todays Miles: 66.28 Average speed: 12.4 Time on bike: 5:20

Banco Ultramarino
Banco Ultramarino
A Macanese 10 Pataca banknote.

Bank of China
Bank of China
Another Macanese 10 Pataca banknote

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Continued here...

Part1 | Part2 | Part3 | Part4 | Part5 | Part6 | Part7 | Part8 | Part9 | Part10 | Part11 | Part12 | Part13 | Part14 | Part15 | Part16 | Part17 | Part18 | Part19 | Part20 | Part21 | Part22 | Part23 | Part24 | Part25 | Part26 | Part27


Visit Andy's website here for more photos and additional information:http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/Bikepacker/

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