In Macau, Skipping the Casinos, but Embracing the Past
As we bumped along in the No. 25 bus on Estrada do Istmo, it was impossible not to notice the Venetian Macau, a mountain of steel and glass, shining in the distance in the afternoon sun. Opened in 2007, it’s home to one of the largest casinos on earth. And it’s not alone: Of the 10 biggest casinos in the world in 2014 (based on revenue), a staggering eight were in Macau, a tiny region on the southern coast of China, where over half a million people are packed into fewer than 12 square miles.
But I wasn’t there to gamble. Following a precedent I’d established in my very first Frugal Traveler column, when I toured Las Vegas without going to the famed Strip, I was determined to break the shell of Macau’s opulent exterior and see what lay beneath the surface. During a quick two-night trip, taking the ferry across the Pearl River Estuary, I found it was the perfect place for a getaway from the noise and intense urban compactness of Hong Kong.
opulent /'ɒpjʊl(ə)nt/ 豪华的；奢侈的；富丽堂皇的；Opulent things or places look grand and expensive.
Owing to its colonial past, Macau, with its cobblestone streets, old Catholic churches and narrow alleyways, has an almost European feel to it, along with an interesting local cuisine that fuses Portuguese and Chinese flavors. And my focus, naturally, was putting this trip together without causing undue strain on my budget.
undue/ʌn'djuː/ 不适当的; 过度的，过分的: more than is reasonable, suitable, or necessary，比如说：•Exercise gently and avoid putting yourself under undue strain.适当锻炼，不要给自己太大的压力。
My attack plan was simple: to see as much as I could, by foot and by public transportation. Macau is traditionally divided into three sections: the peninsula and the islands of Coloane and Taipa. (A fourth “region” of land reclaimed from the ocean, Cotai, now connects Coloane and Taipa and is the home to many of the newer casinos.) I particularly had my eye on rustic Coloane Village in the south.
Though I had no plans to indulge in the casinos, one lesson I’ve learned in my travels is that where there’s gambling, cheap rooms follow — it’s how they lure you in. I was able to land a very comfortable, relatively luxurious room at the Sofitel on the western side of the peninsula for 650 Hong Kong dollars, a little over $80. Close to the center of the city, it was an ideal jumping-off point. I was able to check another essential off the list by walking to Yin He Dian Xun (roughly, Galaxy Telecommunications) and purchasing a 500-gigabyte SIM card from a very helpful young woman for 50 Macanese patacas (about $6).
indulge in （使自己）沉溺于，沉湎于:to let yourself do or have something that you enjoy, especially something that is considered bad for you，比如说：Eva had never been one to indulge in self-pity.伊娃从不是那种沉湎于自怜自哀的人。
casino /kə'siːnəʊ/ · 赌场
luxurious /lʌg'ʒʊərɪəs/ 奢华的，华丽的，舒适的: very expensive, beautiful, and comfortable ，比如说：•The cabin was luxuriously furnished.小屋装修得很豪华。
Senado Square, within walking distance of my hotel, was a good place to begin exploring. Beautiful old yellow and pink pastel buildings with arched doorways and green shuttered windows frame the historic square, which is paved with small tiles. It was a perfect place to stroll and enjoy the egg tart I’d purchased for 9 dollars from Koi Kei Bakery.
The egg tart is one of Macau’s signature delicacies, a local interpretation of the Portuguese pastel de nata — perfectly creamy custard with a pleasantly caramelized top, encased within a delicate, flaky pastry cup.
delicacy/'delɪkəsɪ/ 珍馐;佳肴；A delicacy is a rare or expensive food that is considered especially nice to eat. 比如说：moked salmon was considered an expensive delicacy.熏鲑鱼被认为是一道昂贵的珍馐。
Another distinctive item is the pork chop bun. I stopped into the celebrated Tai Lei Loi Kei, a nearly 50-year-old Macanese chain, and paid 48 dollars for a small, bone-in pork chop that had been slapped somewhat unceremoniously onto a buttered white roll. Fortunately the meat was simply seasoned and well cooked (just be careful not to break a tooth).
seasoned已调味的，调过味的: seasoned food has salt, pepper etc added to it，比如说：•a highly seasoned piece of fish味道很浓的一块鱼
此外seasoned还可以表示经验丰富的，老道的 :used to describe someone who has a lot of experience of a particular thing，比如说：The author is a seasoned academic.作者是一位经验丰富的学者。
seasoning可以表示调味品;佐料；Seasoning is salt, pepper, or other spices that are added to food to improve its flavour.
In addition to its cuisine, Macau has memorable architecture. Catholic influence is still very much present, at least aesthetically. St. Dominic’s Church, a beautifully restored, custard-colored 16th-century structure, is free to enter, as is a three-story art museum housed in the church’s bell tower. I looked over the icons and relics of the church on display, including beautiful old wooden carvings.
Other worthy architectural attractions include the Ruins of St. Paul, a grand stone facade that is one of the few remaining pieces of a centuries-old complex. While there, I made the steep hike up to the adjacent Fortaleza do Monte, which provided an excellent view of the city.