Freedom

We are in Macau for the weekend. It is so nice to have children who are well, and it is wonderful to finally be able to leave our junky apartment. It really isn’t terrible but when you spend 3 weeks trapped inside tending sick children all the inconveniences (terrible sofa, a primitive kitchen without running hot water, an oven, an old-school Coleman counter-top double burner) it does become a little much.

The trip to Macau is quite nice – about the same amount of time as a trip to Hong Kong but instead of continuous and somewhat unsightly development along the rail corridor, you take the bus out of Guangzhou and into rural areas where you can see farmers and their water buffalo out on the fields – interspersed with factories and the villages that either pre-dated them or arose to house the workers. The last town in China, Zhuhai, is a really beautiful small town woven between the mountains and the coast. Macau and Zhuhai would be a continuous city if it were not for the border. The bus drops you off at the border and you walk across (passing through customs) and catch a cab on the Macau side. The cab ride from the border to our hotel was about 5 minutes.

Macau seems like a nice little city – a former Portuguese possession (taken from China as a concession following the Opium Wars). By population it is 95% Chinese and 5% Portuguese. However, I think the main distinction from the mainland is due to the fact that Macau did not experience most of the last 60 years of Chinese history – the Cultural Revolution, famines, isolation, etc etc. Tomorrow we are going to check out all the UNESCO world heritage sites (that they are standing at all speaks to the differences from the Mainland) and to look for some overrun children’s clothes. We are planning to eat at the Buddhist (hence, vegetarian) restaurant for lunch.

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