I’m sure most of you have experienced slow internet, either at home or University, but I genuinely believe it has never never been as bad as the wifi provided in my university, here in Macau. The wifi is absolutely ABYSMAL!
It’s bad enough that I left my laptop plug in London (bizibu continued), in which case I am subjected to the excessive use of this silly Apple product (my iPhone, which I love dearly), but I did not find time to unlock my phone before I left London either, so I have no choice but to be utterly dependent on this dreadful wifi.
The poor internet connection has left me in so many awkward and stressful situations (standing people up, not being able to watch Eastenders without any interruption, being cut off mid conversation) that I’ve often felt like just smashing my phone! When you look at this billion dollar invested campus, with all of its state of the art facilities and incredible architecture, you would not believe how terrible the wifi really is! Alas, I don’t really have a choice, so I must soldier on!
“Yeah, there are no cookers in the kitchens”, my room mate explained to me. “Apparently you have to buy an electric stove.”
Lord have mercy! For the first few days, my room mate and I suffered greatly! With no local number to buy takeaway and not quite knowing our way around this incredibly huge campus, we didn’t eat most nights, genuinely shedding pounds from a lack of food and excessive heat outside.
For now, we’ve resorted to buying restaurant food from campus and keeping it in the fridge (almost rationing), but it’s still proving to be rather costly (another misconception is that China is really cheap. Mainland China perhaps, but Macau & Hong Kong? Far from it. I bought a biro pen from the campus supermarket for the equivalence of £1.50. 1 BIRO PEN).
After my first day of lectures, I actually felt sick. My head was pounding, I was sweating profusely, I could hardly see.. I actually thought I was going to collapse (die). The heat is about the only consistent thing I’ve experienced since I arrived, the scorching sun before midday is the worst! I haven’t quite adapted to going to lectures in just shorts and flip flops as many people do here, but I’ll have to sooner, rather than later!
One last experience, which I wouldn’t necessarily classify as a negative, but definitely very odd, was when I was in class, conversing with my peer and my teacher called my “name”.
“Christine! Turn around!”
Wondering who my teacher was talking to, I turned around slowly in my chair, only to be greeted by a quick snap on his iPhone.
“Ah that’s brilliant”, he exclaimed.
I looked dazed from the 2 hours and 15 minutes already endured, of this 3 hour class. I was slightly confused. I looked around to see people’s reaction, but nobody batted an eyelid.
“What just happened?” I thought to myself. “Is this for the university brochure or website? Did I consent to random photographs of my worn out self in class? Is my name Christine? Why was nobody else photographed?”
I was honestly too exhausted to contest, but I must say that was definitely an odd experience. Apart from that, he’s a pretty decent teacher; very chilled and quite funny too. And other than that occasion, no I haven’t been stopped in the street for a photo by any local Chinese.
However, putting aside all the negative and odd situations, I have experienced many good times too! Macau is very well known for its casinos and nightlife; often referred to as the Las Vegas of China, where prostitution and gambling is very much legal.
As early as my 2nd day in Macau, I made a friend who took me around at night, to the casinos, hotels and bars – Macau is spectacular at night. The MGM bar of course was my favourite, where we were treated to a live jazz / soul band and I tried this Brazilian cocktail for the first time: Caipirinha.
Caipirinha is a very sweet, but deadly drink and by my third class. I was ready to go!
I’ve been out for dinners a few times, which is nice because (I didn’t have to pay for them) the food here is not as you’d expect. Macau used to be a Portuguese colony, with sovereignty being passed back to China as late as 1999 – yes a mere 16 years ago!
So there is an intertwining of culture and cuisines. You don’t find the typical chow mein or sweet and sour dishes. There is a mixture of Portuguese spices to accompany many of the dishes. I had steak one night: absolutely divine! Their meat is soft, succulent and filling!
The people here are very friendly too. Before I came to China, literally everyone had something to say!
“Be careful Catherine! They’re scared of black people over there!”
“People are going to want pictures with you and mistake you for Serena Williams”
“You might get killed”
“They eat dog!”
Fair enough, I’ve received many lengthy stares and I kid you not, my Chinese flatmate sent me a picture of Rihanna and sincerely asked, “is this you?” But they really are so kind and friendly and I suppose when I first arrived I could barely tell the difference between people, so understandably the same may apply to them. There hasn’t really been anything unnerving (perhaps except for the classroom paparazzi and a human testicle I am SURE I saw in this roadside hotpot).
Anyway, this is just an update thus far, sorry it was so long (could have been longer). With lectures having begun, I’m sure I’ll have more stories to share with you in the following weeks!
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed!