Coloane Village -- China Coast recalled

2009-12-01 15:11 BJT

Take any bus marked 'Coloane' or 'Hác Sá' to Coloane Village...Start at the square Largo Presidente António Ramalho Eanes, and take a look at the little park in the middle, with its bronze statue of Cupid...Turn right on Rua das Gaivotas...which becomes Rua dos Navegantes...Walk along to the Tin Hau Temple (guarded by black and gold painted Chinese lions...look inside at the fine ceiling of green wooden rafters and beige tiles)...Ahead you find Chinese medicine shops, a shrine embedded in the roots of a tree and stores selling dried salted fish (said to be the best in the region)...some of the buildings are made of tin and built on stilts over the water...At the wharf of the Ponte Cais de Coloane (before the building of the causeway and bridge links, this was the pier for ferry travellers from Macau)...Turn back and take a right turn at the temple to reach the waterfront along Avenida 5 de Outubro...On your right is a narrow stretch of water (once part of the Bamboo Curtain) and part of the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone of Guangdong, a flourishing new area which produces vegetables and fish farms, now linked to Macau by bridge...Follow the waterfront with its avenue of banyans and palm trees...On the left is St Francis Xavier Square, a public library...private houses and a Primary School...At the end of the road is the Tam Kung Temple (dedicated to the Taoist God of Seafarers, with fine tiled roof and inside a boat carved from a whalebone with figures of guardians, also a plaster mural of a wide-eyed, orange-striped tiger with cub)...Outside take the road that branches left to Rua do Estaleiro...follow the parade of stately banyans till you reach some steps on your right, leading to the Largo Tin Hau Miu...Go up and visit the Tin Hau Temple (dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea, also known as A-Ma)...Go back down via the adjoining Travessa da República...Ahead is a public playground...Cross it to Travessa do Pagode and see another, smaller, Tin Hau Temple (notable for its gilded carved plaques and a moongate that makes an attractive frame for a typical Coloane village scene)...Turn right and stroll along the traditional China Coast street, with small, open-fronted stores overflowing with hardwares, groceries and haberdashery...neatly complemented with Macanese touches like whitewashed facades, blue-and-white name plaques and old-style lamplights hung with flower baskets...Soon you're in the main square, with Portuguese mosaic paving and rows of neo-classical arcades...Dominating the square is the Chapel of St Francis Xavier (opened in 1928 to enshrine the arm bone of the saint and remains of Christian martyrs from Japan, Korea and Indochina)...Although the relics have been moved to Japan and Macanese museums, the chapel, with its cream-and-white pedimented facade, still attracts pilgrims and tourists...At the opposite end of the square is an obelisque surrounded by stone cannonballs, which celebrates Macau's defeat of local pirates in 1910...This is an ideal place to stop for refreshments in one of the arcade restaurants...Leave the square by Rua dos Negociantes, to browse the antique shops...and before you catch a bus to town, cross the square and buy some egg tarts from Lord Stow's Bakery.