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A round the world trip in more than 80 days.

Why this blog ?

Our aim : travel and discover the world during 353 days and through some fifhteen countries. We are hoping that this blog will allow us to share the experience with our family and friends thanks to the posts and photos that we will be publishing and also thanks to their comments.

Currently ...

now. For the moment, we are gently readapting from nomadic to sedentary life.


Hong Kong & Macao : a different China

We left the Philippines with a load of sweet memories featuring nice chats with the smiling and friendly Filipinos and impressive scenery. It is definitely a country where would love to come back.

When arriving in Hong Kong, the first thing you will see is a forest of sky-scrapers that at night time, when the lights are on, become the prime touristic attraction. If you add to this dense urban landscape a fast moving crowd, you will definitely think that you are in the middle of a bee-house.

We were also struck by the number of malls and luxury shops : Cartier, Gucci, Vuitton ... You nearly find them in every corner. Full buses from mainland China come to shop in Hong-Kong. We also saw Porsches, Ferraris and BMWs cruising the streets, more than anywhere else in the world. But the serious business here is banking. You will always be a few meters away from one and even a tram station is named after HSBC. Overall, the standard of living is similar to the one in Europe.

Hong Kong was previously a British colony and you can see some remains of that time : Clubs where the high society meets, signs forbidding nearly everything (like in Australia), double decker buses and even the fog is still here. English is still one of the official languages with Cantonese and Mandarin but the vast majority does not seem to master it. But if Hong Kong has a slight Western feel, it made us remember our first trip to China in 2001. In this modern city, you will also find typical Chinese markets where products range from frogs to herbs used in traditional medicine.

While in Hong Kong, we took the opportunity to visit the neighboring Macao that has been returned to China in 1999 after 400 years of Portuguese domination. After a one hour ferry ride, it is quite a change of scenery. The Portuguese is second language (although so little spoken as English in Hong Kong), you find some nice colonial buildings and you can have some “pasteis de nata” (egg tart) nearly as good as the ones you can get in Belem, near Lisbon. Even Tea has not been safe from the colonial influence, it is not drunk plain like in the mainland but mixed with a lot of milk. When walking in the old city of Taipa, we had sometimes the feeling to be in the “Barrio Alto” of the Portuguese capital.

Macao is as well the gambling capital of Asia. Since 2004, more money is played here than in Las Vegas. Some of “Sin City” Casinos like the Wymm and the Venezian, opened branches over here. Most of the players are coming for mainland China and complimentary shuttles are running 24/7 from the border to the Casinos.

Overall, it was a nice week where we saw two of China surprising sides : Ultra-capitalism said with a British accent and gaming with a taste of olive oil. Thanks as well to Emmanuel (a friend from the University), Delphine and their son Antoine who hosted us brilliantly and helped us decipher a little bit this small part of the world.

Here we are on board the plane taking us to our next destination that will be our play ground for around 40 days : India. According to many travelers we have met, it is the ultimate test for any backpacker ...