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Macau in Black and White: A Blend of East and West, Past and Present

Macau is a delightful place to visit for its unique yet harmonious clash of heritage: the mixture of oriental East and Portuguese influence spice up the destination like nowhere else!

Before embarking on my way back to the UK for my final year of study, I planned to visit a country – preferably an oriental country – for a good dose of Asian surroundings. While I was open to any options with a cheap flight ticket, Macau caught my eye. I’ve never been there, and with its recent development, it looked like an interesting destination to visit.

Macau, along with Hong Kong, are two of China’s Special Administrative Regions. Famed for its rich influence from the Portuguese colonization, Macau still strongly preserved its traditional Chinese culture, and made a great effort in balancing both elements.

I spent five days there, which to some is considered quite a lot for a small place; since most of the tourists visit Macau as a day trip from Hong Kong. Nevertheless, I managed to find so many places to explore and things to do that I think I would be happy staying there for a full week! Just walking down the streets and alleys provided me with so much photo opportunities and inspirations. I brought two cameras there – my LC-Wide, which I used color slides and negatives; and my grandfather’s Seagull 203, which I fed with the Ilford XP2 120. The photos in this post are from the latter.

Macau has a healthy scatter of locations with beautiful traditional Chinese architecture, especially evident in its temples. A-ma Temple, at the southern end of the Peninsula, is one of the top tourist attractions. It is said that Macau’s name came from this temple when the Portuguese first arrived and when asked the name of the place, which the locals at the temple replied “Maa Gok”, the name of the goddess the temple was built to worship. The other locations include the Mandarin’s House, an old, recently restored mansion built around 1869, and the Lou Lim Ieoc Garden, a public park with Chinese landscapes.

Then of course, there are the Portuguese colonial architectures that shape Macau’s cityscape. The Senado Square is instantly recognizable from its striking black-and-white wavy Portuguese pavement floor. Nearby buildings include the Leal Senado Building, the Business Tourism Centre and the St Dominic’s Church. As we make the way up, passing by various alleys of shop houses dominated by two of Macau’s famous bakeries, we eventually ended up at the landmark of Macau, none other than the huge Ruins of St. Paul’s, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the structure is located on top of a hill, making the meandering, ascending journey up along the traditional shop houses from below a contrasting experience. Right beside the ruins is the Fortaleza do Monte, or Mount Fortress, which houses the Museum of Macau and has a panoramic view of the city.

Traveling south away from the Peninsula, lies the island of Taipa and Cotai, both now being connected by an area of reclaimed land, called the Cotai, which houses the new casino developments. The most notable property is the Venetian Macau, modeled after the one in Las Vegas with inspirations from the city of Venice, Italy. Ironically, it so happened that I would be visiting Venice later that year; looking back at the photos, I recognized the buildings which the casino copied, and the similarities are amazing. Other than the Venetian, many more casinos are being built – this area looked like a totally different place than the Peninsula!

Continuing further down south, one would reach the island of Coloane, a much more peaceful and laid back area. A former sea salt farm, this area is like a traditional fishing village, with many alleys to get lost in, and a few churches and temples along the way. Many come here for the famous Portuguese egg tarts from a particular bakery too!

Macau is a great place to travel; as I went during one of the summer months in August, it was hot and humid. A trip there during cooler months would be amazing! And oh, I would definitely want to revisit the egg tart place; also that little shop at the corner where I found rare and expired films!

The Lomo LC-Wide boasts the newly-developed 17mm Minigon Ultra-Wide Angle lens. This 35mm camera wonder is the perfect companion for your photo expeditions. It produces eye-catching splashes of colour with astonishing saturation and contrasts with the added versatility of 3 different formats. Open up to a new photographic experience with the LC-Wide, available in our Shop.

written by shuttersentinel17

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch.