Thursday, August 4, 2011

on Hong Kong, Macau and China

Torrential rain in Hong Kong
I hadn't expected to see Snoopy on a petrol cap in mainland China!
 Dragon Fruit

It's easy to forget that Portugal had control over Macau until very recently. According to Wikipedia, trading between Portugal and China began well before the 1500's when a trading base was established, with  Portuguese traders being allowed to anchor ships in Macau's harbors and carry out trading activities, but they weren't allowed to stay onshore. 

Around 1552, the Portugese obtained temporary permission to erect storage sheds onshore, in order to dry out goods drenched by sea water. It wasn't until later that the Portuguese established a permanent settlement in Macau.  China retained sovereignty and Chinese residents were subject to Chinese law, but the territory was under Portuguese administration. All of which sounds like a real headache for everyone.

The architecture has a distinctly non Chinese feel.
Old and new in Macau. 
Warrior protecting a casino
 Elephant tusk? Exquisite, intricate carving.

During the 16th century, Macau also served as a trafficking point for Chinese slaves to Portugal. Many Chinese boys were captured in mainland China, and were brought, via Macau to Portugal, where they were sold as slaves. Some were on-sold in Brazil, which was a Portuguese colony. Chinese slaves were prized by the Portuguese and regarded better quality than slaves from other countries.

The Portuguese retained control over Macau until 1979. Eventually, the stage was set for the return of Macau to full Chinese sovereignty as a Special Administrative Region in 1999. (As is Hong Kong)

The PRC has promised that, under its “one country, two systems” formula, China's socialist economic system will not be practiced in Macau and that Macau will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs until at least 2049, fifty years after the handover.

All of which is a long way of getting around to saying that the custard tarts are fantastic, and may well come from a Portuguese recipe.
Portuguese Egg Tarts @ KFC

*I'll be in China for the next couple of weeks, and due to their restrictions will be unable to access Blogger, or visit and comment on other blogs. But I promise I'll think of the blogosphere each time I munch on a custard tart!

Information on Macau here, however re visas, it's important to know that if you travel to Macau from mainland China and wish to return to mainland China, you'll need a double entry visa.



Bob said...

Every time I hear of Macau, I think of Vasco da Gama, for some reason, and every time I see a dragon fruit, I think of my ex-wife's moth....oops!

sue said...

Bob, so ex-MiL was a pretty pink shade, sweet inside, but with a spiky exterior??

Pity I haven't got time to check out Vasco da Gama's place in the settlement of Macau. I find history so much more interesting when I've visited places, it puts it in context and seems so much more real and relevant.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. enjoy the trip .. I'd love to visit Hong Kong and Macau someday ..

A dragon fruit I've never seen .. are they good to eat? I guess I won't get an answer for a while ..

have a great trip .. and looking forward to the pics and stories on your return .. cheers Hilary

Ms. Becky said...

LOVE these photos Sue. what an exotic place. that 4th photo is superb and belongs on my wall. take good care now.

Arlee Bird said...

I've read some good stuff about Macau. It sounds like a nice place to visit. You are having a great experience in your travels.

Tossing It Out

Dafeenah said...

Being in China? I think that is super cool. Those tarts look yummy. Enjoy your trip and can't wait to see the pics when you get back

Hart Johnson said...

Well you can hardly enjoy tarts without thinking of ME, can you?! Looks like a wonderful place--thank you for the history lesson! I know something about the former British Commonwealth, but much less about those of other countries... not sure why that is...

Hart Johnson said...

And... I totally forgot to give you a heads up that I gave you an award and passed you a meme today... No worries though, as you probably won't see until you get back...

Barb said...

I'll have one of those custard tarts, too, Sue! Love the rainy day photo. Have fun on your travels.