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March 30, 2008

A noisy curry

One of the funniest nights we had out in Macau was at the Aruna curry house. It is on Taipa island, and had only just opened up. In fact, when we visited, it wasn't yet officially open, but was having some 'trial' nights. We'd only been sitting for a couple of minutes, and had just ordered drinks, when this unholy racket started up. Banging and crashing above us, we could barely hear ourselves speak. Our hostess came over to our table and explained. It was the old lady in the flat above the restaurant, she said, who had taken a...

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March 28, 2008

A day trip into China

Early on during our visit to Macau we decided we would visit mainland China. This means applying for a visa a day in advance, so we headed to an internet cafe on Macau that sold them. They also offered so much in the way of bootleg and pirate games, DVDs and music, that you did wonder if you were going to get a genuine visa, but after an hour's wait we emerged triumphantly clutching our piece of paper. The border between Macau and China is marked by a Portuguese monument, a symbolic gate. This is now dwarfed by the industrial...

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March 27, 2008

Welcome to the McOlympics

With the recent scenes of protest in Tibet, and the interruption to the flame-lighting ceremony here in Greece, much of the focus on this year's Olympic Games will be to do with Chinese politics and the China's appalling human rights record. Which means that, for a change, attention won't be focusing so much on the commercialisation of the Olympic movement. There was something slightly sad about being in a culture as potentially deeply alien to us as China, and finding that McDonalds was the official fast food of the Olympic games. Despite that, the American athletes are still bringing their...

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March 26, 2008

Where did the decorations go?

We arrived in Macau shortly after the Chinese New Year had been celebrated. This meant the streets were decorated for the festivities. As well as red lanterns everywhere, roundabouts and every bit of public space you could find were decorated with cartoon characters. They were in the shapes of the animals of the Chinese zodiac equivalent, but with great prominence for the rat - this year's lucky animal. We saw all this on our first visit into the main part of Macau, and were really lucky. Just a day later it was all being torn down. The streets were littered...

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March 25, 2008

The lemon tree survives and thrives

Although I've mostly been writing about Macau the last few days, we did in fact arrive back in Crete a week or so back, and today we will be at the Greek Independence Day parade in town. Now, I know the most important thing you'll want to know is how the lemon tree got on whilst we were away for a month. It was last seen looking rather bedraggled and sorry for itself in our front room, as we tried to protect it from the rest of the storm that had basically de-nuded it of all its leaves. The good...

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March 24, 2008

Tombs of the fighting crickets

Without a doubt one of the oddest displays in the Macau museum was that of the fighting crickets. Now, who knew that cricket fighting used to be a big sport in this area? Apparently huge sums of money changed hands based on the outcomes of these mighty bouts between the insects. There were some video clips of the battles in action - basically two crickets stuck in a bucket whilst men jabbed at them to rile them up so that they would fight. Fortunately, it seems the crickets were too stupid to realise that they could team up and form...

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March 23, 2008

No Easter for us. Yet.

So, if you were wondering whether you'd get pictures this morning of our annual pilgrimage to Chania's cathedral for the Easter candle-lighting ceremony - think again. The Western and Eastern churches follow a different way of calculating Easter, and every now and then they are waaaaaaay apart. This is one of those years, and Greece doesn't celebrate Easter until the end of next month. Diamond Geezer in London has the details on just how rare it is for the Western Easter to fall so early in the year.

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March 22, 2008

16th century Tower Bridge in the Museum of Macau

We went to the Museum of Macau, and there was a whole wall dedicated to an interactive display illustrating the extent of international trade in Macau's history. Although, being British, I tend to have a Western European-centric view of geography, Macau was far better placed than many European ports to reach India, Africa, China, Japan, Australia and beyond. The map showed many traditional views of the 16th and 17th century shipping trade. It was all images of wooden boats, sails unfurled, sailing into wooden harbours. Except for London, which was shown to feature that well known 16th century construction, Tower...

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March 20, 2008

You wanna drink my sweat?

Another one for the cultural misunderstanding files. I understand that it is a sports drink, because of the 'Ion supply' claim on the packaging, but it is slightly odd to name a drink after the body fluid you are aiming to produce. No thank you, I'd rather not have a can of chilled 'sweat'.

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March 18, 2008

The sad story of the Toy Story shop

So, maybe it turned out that putting all of your toy shop branding eggs into one Toy Story shaped basket wasn't a great idea after all. It isn't exactly the most fashionable animated franchise anymore.

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A lemon tree of our own

  • The journal of a British couple who left the UK to set up home in Hania, Crete.
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