August 25, 2012

Macau, Senado Sq to Cortai Strip - Glorious Sunrise Run at Asia Sin City

This is my third trip to Macau. The first time round, I was fascinated by the spectacular architecture of the Casino buildings, the glittering neon lights of the Macau nightlife and trying to figure out the rules of the various table games. The second time I was there, I was freezing my butt off in one of the coldest winters Macau ever seen in a decade. It was also Chinese New Year and there was a celebratory atmosphere in Macau. I made my first big bet in the Casinos, along with my best buddy and made off with a tidy profit from the Black Jack table, feeling pretty confident that I would make more money from the blackjack table in the future. This trip was my third trip and was confident enough to act as a tour guide to my colleagues along, whom for most of them, was their first trip to the Sin City of Asia.

Grand Lisboa in the early morning

It was a hot hot summer and this statement, coming from a Singaporean, who lives on a sunny tropical island, means that it is really VERY hot and humid in Macau. This time round, I was pretty confident that I would be able to easily cream the Black Jack table, given that I practiced many rounds of Black Jack simulations on my IPhone BlackJack Application. BUT, I forgot about this element of luck in gambling. Five rounds of straight Aces from the dealer, not a single blackjack on my part, with a generous dosage of 13-16 opening cards devastated my game. No amount of strategy can save a gambler from bad luck, other than a restraint for gambling for the rest of the trip. Other than losing money on this trip, I managed to discover a new side to Macau, thanks to my newly acquired running hobby, which was non-existence in the first few trips.

Deserted Senado Square
Doing a Google search on "Macau Running" simply turned up "Macau Marathon" which I missed by a few days and multiple routes around Cortai strips and Venetian, probably posted by rich tourists who could afford a 5 star hotel stay around Cortai Strip. I did not see any other running routes on the Macau Island itself or other areas. One of my colleague suggested running across one of the 3 mega bridges that link Macau island and Cortai strip. I retorted," you want me to die of carbon monoxide poisoning or run over by a speeding vehicle!!?!"

I ended up taking his advice....

Few Traffic or Pedestrian in the morning
Macau, in the early morning, has a stillness and serenity that gives a different feel from its bustling nightlife. There is few pedestrians and vehicles around allowing runners to jaywalk with ease. Starting from the streets of old Macau, I ran past Senado Square, Grand Lisboa, cut through the round about (not recommended!!!) onto the mega bridge Ponte Governador Nobre De Carvalho, also called the Macau taipa bridge. Built in 1970 during the Portuguese rule with a length of 2.5km, it was the world's longest bridge at that point in time. Honestly, I didn't know about the significance of this bridge until I did a wiki search on it later.

The long way up the slope
Macau Tower in the Distance.
The pedestrian pavement is very narrow, allowing one person to walk on it at any point of time. It also means that the cars and buses are zooming past you with only 1 meters of safety margin. This is probably one of the higher risk running routes I have ever done. However, the view and the morning air is simply exhilarating. The extremely strong sea breeze took away any hint of the exhume from the vehicle and made the run very cooling. The bridge has a pretty long ascend to the top at 35 meters above sea level, which I estimated to be around 800 meters in length, so that is an equivalent of running up a 10 storey building. Throw in the strong sea wind which will blow against the direction of your run, and you can see how challenging this route can be.

Glorious sunrise!
To my surprise, I met 3 other runners during the run on the bridge. Each of them tipped their heads while we passed each other, perhaps as a form of acknowledgement to other bridge runners, who were crazy enough to attempt this route.
Fellow bridge runner. Notice the narrow pavement

I was slightly winded by the time I reached the cortai strip with close to 4km covered, all thanks to the killer 1 km long upslope. So I stopped for a minute to take pictures around me, enjoy the sights of taxi drivers peering curiously at me and contemplating if the return journey will kill me...

Cortai Strip. The white building suppose to signify the tail of
the dragon, which the bridge is the body.
Plaque commemorating the bridge
So back I went, up the slope, cursing at the wind and praying that there is no drunk driver so early in the morning.

The sight from the return trip is much more breathtaking. You will see grand lisboa rising up from the ground like that dragon head (That's what it is suppose to look like, based on Wikipedia). The three colored MGM glowing like a multi facet fairy crystal in the bask of the morning sun also took my breathe away.

MGM glowing in the morning sun
Grand Lisboa rising majestically from the bridge
Pedestrians and vehicle traffic were heavier by the time I reached back at Macau island. Early riser tourists were curiously staring at me, trying to figure out if they should take a picture of me or not ( Hey! How often do you see a running man jogging across Senado square?)
A blend of the old and new. Mcdonalds!!

The old streets which my hotel is situated
I was dying for my water bottle by the time I reached my hotel. Knocked on the door of my room... Nobody answered. Called his phone.... Nobody answered. Knocked on the doors of other rooms. Silence greeted me.... Damn, I am thirsty!!!

Location: Macau

  1 comment:

  1. Hi! Thanks for this blog! I am contemplating whether to also run during my visit at Macau. Well, the view is exciting and it's something to look forward to. I might run! Cross fingers! (I hope I wake up early hahaha)


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