A rather excellent buffet breakfast at the hotel is slightly soured when the bill arrives—HK$660 for the four of us. I regret not having eaten more.
We board the TurboJet hydrofoil for Macau at the main ferry terminal. After the initial rolling and pitching of the boat in the swell around the jetty, the journey once we are moving is remarkably smooth. One hour later, we are clearing customs and immigration in Macau. Tim, Linda, and their little daughter Bethany are waiting on the other side to greet us.
They take us into the centre by bus to see the essential sights of Macau. We begin at the Catholic church of St Domingos, a light and airy building with a white stone facade. John unfortunately rings a bell in the museum marked “Do not touch”, attracting the attention of the warden. Suspicion immediately falls on Bethany, much to her disgust, but John does the decent thing and stern words are received from the warden.
On to see the emblem of Macau, the ruins of St Paulo church. Only the facade remains, but it is an imposing structure standing at the top of a long flight of wide steps. Nearby, the Museum of Macau stands pristine and new, and it is a first-class introduction to the history of the colony. East and West are compared and contrasted in a very balanced and informative way, and the arrival and influence of the Portugese and the consequent mixing of cultures is engagingly explained. From the roof-courtyard there are good views over the city and into neighbouring China.
Lunch is at a “proper” Chinese restaurant—we seem to be the only westerners there, and the menu is only available in Cantonese. Tim orders us Dim Sum—lots of different bite-sized morsels served with rice and noodles. It is quite delicious, although I am not really sure about the soup, which is a kind of sweet red bean concoction served cold.
Tim and Linda’s flat is surprisingly spacious—it is actually two flats knocked into one so that they have space to put up guests. They take us to see their church’s new building on the ground floor of an apartment block surrounded by other apartment blocks. It is not a beautiful setting, but it is right in among the people. They are still sorting out the building, but are very proud of the airconditioning units. James however worries that they will cost a small fortune to run!
Tim later drives us across the island and over the new Macau-Taipa bridge to Coloane, where we drive past the prison where he has his ministry and on to Hac Sa beach where the sand is black from the volcanic rock. Well, it is more of a dirty grey with patches of yellow and black really. Just time for a quick paddle in the Pacific before we return to the flat, the road taking us mere metres from the Chinese border.
Back at the flat, it is good to chat to Tim and Linda about their work for a while, and we take the opportunity to pray together before leaving. We are a little early for the ferry when we arrive back at the ferry terminal, so there is time for a quick bite to eat at what James assures us is the cheapest McDonnalds in the world.