Two pandas were gifted to Macau after their inception into China. Way past my budget, I decide to go anyway (it's $10MOP ($1.30USD)). You won't see any pictures of pandas but eventually you will. The reason for this is complicated- Jesse takes the bus, gets lost and I take my bike and get lost. Hurdle #1. I wait and see the free stuff, a.k.a. everything but the pandas-
|Well, fake pandas|
|And amusing cartons and cans in vending machines. Note the "Pocart Sweat." Curious.|
Jesse's nowhere to be found so I wander for an hour then find out there's a road that goes uphill, switchbacks and all. Perfect for a cyclist! What a beast of a hill. Hurdle #2. I get to the top maybe twenty minutes later to find a temple; was not expecting that.
|The entrance to A-Ma Cultural Village. The fog and silence added to the sacred space.|
|Dragons doing crazy things|
|Semi-dragons doing crazy things|
|Inside. What a place.|
It was straight from Kung Fu Panda where Po is trying to get in the walled village to see the Furious Five. If it was Buddhist/Taoist I don't know, but Oscar (a Filipino English teacher at Hou Kong) tells me the temples are a combination of both. I'm set on finding a devout follower or monk that's willing to share some of their stories first hand. Below's a video of one of the rooms with statues that represent each year-
|1988 statue- the Year of the Earth Dragon.|
2012 is the Water Dragon and a different statue.
This is the luckiest of the Chinese Zodiacs.
Can't touch this.
|1994- Year of the Dog.|
My brother was born December 1993.
He's a monkey. Oops.
|1960- Year of the Pig|
|1954- Year of the Horse.|
It's most definitely the coolest place I've been to in Macau. After being completely mesmerized by the serenity of the place, I head down the hill. Before I know it, my 35 pound bike, plus myself and cargo is not enough for my cantilever brakes to handle. I tumble over a concrete barrier (hurdle, if you will) and thankfully not over a cliff. Hurdle #3. I assess the damage of the bike, of course. The body heals itself. Everything turns out fine and I proceed more cautiously down the steep hill.
|The bike is ok! Except for a bend in the right side handlebar.|
|Alto de Coloane = 1, Gus = 0|
Jesse ended up seeing the Pandas, of which I'll eventually see. We played frisbee back at home and prepared lesson plans for the coming week. The day ended Panda-less for me, with a bruised body, and a humbled spirit. Though I was able to Skype Mom for the first time since I left home. And this is how we spent Women's Day.