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Disney, Birthday, and Other Updates

May 8, 2017
I haven't really had much time to blog lately, so I thought an update should be in order.

Fun 

Shanghai Disney- For my birthday, two of my friends and I visited Shanghai Disney. The theme park opened last spring when I was in the hospital. I'd been wanting to go so badly but had to wait until my back healed more. It was hard watching everyone go and having to always say, "I'm not ready to go yet." Happily, I FINALLY got a chance to visit a few weeks ago! The best part of it was that I could ride almost all of the rides besides Tron and one of the water rides. We started out by riding Soaring over the Horizon--you're just lifted up and "flown" to different landmarks all over the world. We also walked by the castle, went to the Alice in Wonderland maze, and rode Jet Packs. Another cool ride we tried was Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue--you get to shoot at Z's along the way, and your score is displayed on a screen in front of you, so you're competing with whoever you ride the ride with. The highlight for me was going on Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure. The ride was thrilling, it was one of the longer rides, and it used new technology to make you feel like you were part of all of the excitement. We had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory afterwards--their chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake is TOO delicious. We ended our day at the theme park by doing a little shopping. I don't typically buy lots of trinkets, so I didn't think I'd leave with anything, but they had a section full of Shanghai Minnie stuff! Minnie Mouse is dressed like an old fashioned, classy Shanghai lady and I couldn't resist, so I left with a Shanghai Minnie notebook and a Shanghai Minnie/Mickey mug set. A fun-filled day at the theme park was just what I needed. I went to the park thinking I'd just like to go once, but I didn't get to ride everything that I wanted, so I will surely be going back. I heard the Tarzan show was good, and I didn't get to see any shows, so that's more motivation to want to return.  




Hair straightening- As a birthday gift to myself, I finally bit the bullet and paid to get my hair straightened. I'd been wanting to do it for almost two years now, but it's roughly $200 to do so. I just felt bad about spending that much cash on my hair when I was already getting treatments and regular highlights. I got my hair done in January and with my new style, I don't need to keep going to the salon to get highlights or my roots done. Since I was saving money there, I decided to try out the hair straightening. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with it. It's supposed to last for a year. While my hair isn't completely frizz-free, it's looking A LOT better. It has been rather humid here lately, so I got it done just in time because Shanghai summers are sticky. The only negative aspect of it is that now the tips of my hair are pretty dry, but mostly I'm happy with my decision. 

Birthday Celebrations- On my actual birthday, I had to work, but I arranged a dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe Shanghai to celebrate. My food was good and of course so was the company. I kind of like birthday dinners because you have complete control over the guest list, ha ha!


Sometimes as an expat, you don't get too many gifts since you aren't around your family and many of your closest friends. I have to say, I got spoiled this year on my birthday! Rachael and our friend Keri gave me a coupon for a free brunch and manicure. Another friend got me a scarf, and my friend Lauren got me a whole bunch of goodies that were so thoughtful and meaningful to our friendship. Every single gift she gave me was something we had in common or something we joked or talked about before. The coolest thing was this clear lipstick with a flower inside that changes color when you apply it! She even gave me a purple blanket shaped like a mermaid's tail. I also ended up getting a bottle of Chanel Noir perfume, a bottle of Burberry weekend perfume, a small plant, two bottles of wine, and a pack of three L'Occitane lip balms. Can you tell "gifts" is one of my love languages?

Craft'd class- There's a place in Shanghai that offers all sorts of crafts for expats. Rachael saw that they were offering a class where you could make your own beauty products, so our friend Keri and I joined her. I chose to make body lotion bars and eye gel. The body lotion bars smell scrumptious and really do wonders for dry skin. It was a fun way to spend an evening!

Xintiandi- I had two appointments in this area of Shanghai, but afterwards, I decided to walk around and do a bit of exploring. Xintiandi is really one of my favorite places in all of Shanghai! There are lots of open air cafes, beautiful architecture, shopping, all kinds of restaurants, and it's always bustling. I couldn't resist stopping at Spread the Bagel, which is one of my favorite places for a quick meal in the area. 


Friends' Birthdays- Besides my own birthday, I went and celebrated another friend's b-day at a Mexican bar. It was a lot of fun! This weekend, I went to a friend's birthday brunch which included good conversation, cinnamon rolls, and mimosas. Can't complain about that! 

Work 

My open class is finished. Open class consisted of about seven of my peers watching me teach and evaluating me. Then they had to write comments about me on Quip where everyone could see them. That gave me an incredible amount of anxiety, and I'm really glad it's over with. The good news is that some people that signed up for my class forgot to come so there were less people watching me than what I initially thought. I don't think I ever want to do another open class for teachers. It went well and I got all positive feedback, and my students behaved themselves and learned from my lesson, but I got way too in my head and stressed beforehand. Next year, I'm going to ask them to please pick someone else. I feel like there are plenty of others who don't mind that sort of thing, but I do!!

We went on a field trip to Shanghai Sculpture Park. The kids loved it because they got to play all day. It wasn't a very educational field trip, but I was happy to see my students have so much fun. One of my students said to me, "At home I have so many rules. At school there are so many rules. On this field trip I finally felt free!" So many of my students told me that it was the best field trip they had ever gone on.


 It's that time of year again when teachers are requesting their co-teachers for next year. We don't get to decide ourselves, so my co-teacher and I are worried about who we will be with. We just want to stay together again but don't know if that will happen for us because we worked together for two years in a row. I say if it ain't broke, don't fix it... I guess it's pointless to think about it too much because I put my request in, but ultimately it's out of my hands.

Health 

My co-teacher and I couldn't stop coughing for about three weeks. I just felt crappy all around. The coughing got so bad that I was up for hours at night before I could finally fall asleep. We knew that we had the same thing because we had similar symptoms and got it at about the same time. My co-teacher said she would go to the doctors to get checked this weekend and let me know what "we" have, which I found quite funny. What I did not find so amusing was that we both have acute bronchitis. I thought I was being a baby or that it was just allergies, so now I know I at least had a legitimate excuse for feeling so miserable.

Last Thursday, I had to go into the hospital where I had my back surgery last May. My school prepared a red flag that I was supposed to give the surgeon and his team who operated on me. A red flag is a "very Chinese" kind of honor that can be hung up in their wing. Basically, they're getting recognition for their good work. My surgeon did give me an excellent surgery, but I didn't personally like him too much because he fat shamed me at least three times. The other three doctors that worked with me were SO nice and patient. I know that they have a huge workload, but one of them even gave me his personal number so that I could message him with any questions. They really did help me a lot. When I walked into the orthopedic building, I ran into one of my doctors in the elevator. I think he was happy to see me, and oddly enough, the feeling was mutual. When I walked to the spinal unit, I saw two more of my doctors. As weird as it sounds, it was kind of nice to be reunited with them--I guess I spent so much damn time there that we became friendly. Even my surgeon seemed happy to see me. He called me his American friend in Chinese, and when I presented the red flag to him he wanted to get a picture with his personal cell phone. He didn't even call me fat that day, so I was pretty pleased. Seriously though, he really did a good job on my surgery, so I am glad I went to him. God forbid anything happens again with my spine again...but if it does I would go back to him. I gave him a hand-written thank you card, too. The doctors thanked me for stopping by and delivering that, so it was pleasant to have that kind of closure.

Speaking of closure, my one year anniversary of my trip to Urumqi just came up. That's when I woke up one day and couldn't walk because of my back issues and had to get flown back to Shanghai on a stretcher to have my operation. I thought the one year mark would never come. The recovery was a long and painful process, and I still have to be very careful, but I'm just thankful to get most of my independence back! I hope I can put this chapter of my life behind me and just move forward, even though I'm not ever going to be back to what I was. 

Have you ever been to a Disney park outside of the USA?

Love/Hate Relationships

May 3, 2017
Are there certain products or services or even parts of everyday life that you just can't make up your mind about? I've thought of a few that I have a love/hate relationship with. Sometimes the feelings are simultaneous, but sometimes I lean more towards love and then change my mind.

Facebook- Back in 2007 when I signed up for Facebook, I loved it! I do enjoy taking pictures and found that Facebook made it so easy to share pictures among friends. Also, at that time, I was only Facebook friends with my close friends, so I felt pretty free in what I shared since I had a private account. I still like Facebook for the photo sharing options, and it is a good way to keep in touch with people from all over the world. Because of Facebook, I was able to meet up with some of my old friends that I would have lost contact with otherwise. I like some of the groups I'm in like my Spinal Fusion Support Group and a few blogging groups. However, I'm sure I'm not alone for thinking that Facebook is the worst sometimes, too. The political posts, friend requests from weirdos, the spying, the unflattering tagged pics, the people you feel obligated to be friends with, the having to watch what you say on your own account, seeing the same post hundreds of times, and the Candy Crush/other annoying game requests are all reasons that Facebook is not my favorite form of social media. Still, the pros must outweigh the cons because I still have my account, right?

Tieks- In this post, I mentioned how frustrated I was with my pair of Tieks. They were badly scuffed after less than four days of wear! Oh, and they aren't a cheap pair of shoes, either. The customer service department didn't respond the way I would have liked after I sent them an e-mail with pictures. Still, since I can't return my Tieks, I wear them almost every day. I love the style and they are pretty comfortable, even on days when I'm walking around a lot in Shanghai. 

Gel nails- I brought this up before--gel nails are so convenient because of how long they last. In Shanghai, there are such good nail salons that are cheaper than what I would pay in the States. There are tons of options for nail art, too! Yes, I could get nail art on a regular manicure, but then I'm paying more for something that only lasts around a week. With gel nails, I used to splurge on nail art since some of my manicures lasted me a month. The drawback of course is that gel nails ruined my real nails. At one point, my real nails were so flimsy that 8 out of 10 were broken. I've stopped doing gel manicures for a few months now and probably won't get another gel mani for a long time. My nails are still recovering.

Unfollow app for Instagram- If you have an Instagram account, I'm sure you've been followed and unfollowed more times than you can count. Like many bloggers, I downloaded an app to see who unfollows me. I do find it really useful and unfollow people who have added me just to get me to follow them back only to unfollow me once I have followed them. One day, I was scrolling through my feed and saw that someone who I thought was a good friend had unfollowed me! It really hurt my feelings, and I got so mad at her that I did a super mature thing and defriended her on Facebook. Sometimes when I look at who unfollowed me I do think, "Ouch!" from time to time. I don't take it personally when randos unfollow me, but if you're a good friend...then apparently I do take it very personally! 

Chick-fil-A- Luckily, I don't have to worry about this one anymore since I live in China now, but back when I lived in Georgia, I would crave Chick-fil-A. On the other hand, it felt wrong to eat there because the company's stance on gay marriage. To make it even more confusing, my gay friends still ate there. 

We Chat- We Chat is so useful in many ways! If you want to host an event, just add your friends and start a group. I am also really all about paying by We Chat. It's so handy because you can just use We Chat Wallet to pay your friends back what you owe them immediately without having to fumble for change. I don't know what I'll do in the States without it. But...Sometimes I'm in so many groups that after a few hours I have hundreds of unread messages. It's so much to catch up on! I don't want to be attached to my phone every second, but sometimes I feel like I have to be because we communicate for work through We Chat.

Small Talk- I'm bad at small talk and don't enjoy it when strangers come up and talk to me. I still continue to do this because sometimes it's just a stage you have to go through before you actually become friends with someone. If I quit partaking in all forms of small talk, it would be very difficult to make new friends and establish those deeper connections. I guess sometimes it is a necessary evil for many introverts.

Do you have any love/hate relationships? What would be on your list? 

What I Won't Post on Instagram

May 1, 2017
My favorite form of social media is, without a doubt, Instagram. Lately, I've been trying to step up my Instagram game, so it got me thinking about what my personal no-no's are.

Here are a few things I won't be posting on my account.

* Pictures of injuries- Believe me, I've had many to post about! But, I'll spare you my swollen ankles, wound in my back, my crazy looking scar where it looks like I was mauled, and bruises. I get that it's natural to want sympathy, but I know that I personally don't enjoy looking at that kind of stuff on others' feeds so I don't particularly want to post those types of pictures on mine. At all. I rarely post pictures like that, but if I really feel the need, I'll opt for another form of social media where my focus isn't to share pretty pictures.  

* Close ups of my students' faces- This one is hard for me NOT to do. My students are a big part of my life, as I've taught the same class for two years in a row. They're also beyond adorable, and I spend a huge chunk of my day with them. In the States when I taught in a public school, I would never, ever even dare to think about doing that, but now I'm in China at a private school and I feel like it's more lax. Several teachers at my school do post close up pictures with their students on their Instagram accounts. I don't think my students' parents would mind, but the keyword there is THINK. Unless I actually ask their permission, I just don't feel right. The most I will do is post some pictures of angles that don't show their faces up close. 

Example:
A post shared by Lisa (@lisak0417) on

* Different pictures of the same thing again and again- I like variety in my feed, so no matter how amazing I think the Shanghai skyline is, I probably wouldn't post more than two pictures of it near each other. If I do find myself with another cool picture of it that I can't resist posting, I'd likely wait and post it again a few weeks later. 

* More than two pictures in a row- When I travel, I get excited about what I'm seeing and want to post tons of pictures. However, as a courtesy to others, I refrain from posting more than two pictures back to back. Otherwise, it clogs people's feeds. I know when I scroll down, I get annoyed if I see 10 pictures in a row of someone's new puppy, whereas if those same pictures were spread out over time, I would have probably liked them all. 

* Blurry pics- About a month ago, two of my friends and I were in a really cute picture together so I posted it to my account only to decide to take it down. It was not a clear picture and it stuck out like a sore thumb. (At least to me!) Yes, my friends in the pic teased me for removing it, but I did put it on Facebook because I'm not as concerned about picture quality on there. 

* Someone else's picture- All of the pictures I've posted on my account are my own pictures. I have a lifestyle/travel account, so I want to stick with pictures that I've actually taken. I get that some accounts just repost other people's pictures, and I think that's fine (with credit and permission), but that's just not the kind of account I want to have personally.

* Current check in's- If I'm posting a picture of a place I'm currently at, I tend to not check in or add the check in part later. There's always the option to wait until later to post both the picture and check in. Living in Shanghai, I just feel so safe, so I started to just check in at places while I was there. When I went to Morocco, I got some private messages from men asking if I was still at the place I had checked in at! That freaked me out a bit, and it's something to think about when I go back to the States, too!

* Tons of selfies in a row- I'm no celebrity or model, so I don't see the need to post selfie after selfie and not much else. Don't get me wrong, I will post selfies, but I also am sure to spread them out. Honestly, accounts that are mainly selfies really bore me, and those are the types of accounts I usually end up unfollowing.

What will you not post on Instagram? What are your favorite types of Instagram posts?

Deciding What to Do This Summer

April 11, 2017
What to do, what to do? This summer is rapidly approaching. As I have mentioned before on here, last summer was NOT the best for me. However, it's true that (thankfully!) I am in a much, much better place now. Seeing as how things have slowly started turning around for me, I am able to do a bit of traveling and wanted to head back to the States for a month and a half. Since my back is still healing from a surgery I had, I was planning on just paying a lot for a Business Class ticket. By "a lot", I meant I was willing to fork over almost $3,000 for a roundtrip ticket. That's about how much tickets were when I first looked months ago. Unfortunately, when I looked recently and was ready to purchase my ticket, most tickets were around $5,000! After a lot of searching, I found some for cheaper, but not by much. The price of the tickets is making me rethink my decision to go home.

Here are my options, but I can't say that I particularly like any of them.

Option 1: Pay almost $5,000 for a Business Class ticket and go home to the States.

Pros:
* I haven't been home in almost two years. 
* It would be nice to see my parents after such a traumatic event in my life. (Read this post if you are curious.)
* I could stock up on clothes and toiletries that I cannot get in China. I really need shoes and pants since I can't find any that fit me here!
* There is just something comforting about being home.
* I'd be able to visit some of my close friends in Cleveland and Columbus.

Cons:
* That is almost two months wages for me.
* It will mess up my debt repayment plan from my surgery.
* It's only to go home for a month and a half, and I don't have too many friends in the town where my parents live. Therefore, if I wanted to see many of my relatives and close friends, I'd have to fly out to see them and that would cost even more money.
* My best friend is marrying his partner in October, and I'd like to be able to go, but there's no way I could afford to go to the States twice in such a short time period buying a Business Class ticket. (Honestly, as much as I hate to say it, I don't know how I'm going to be able to make this one work period.)
* Well, this is truly awful to admit, but I have to say that I do hold it against certain people for not coming to help me when I couldn't take care of myself for months. Some of my very close friends from home didn't even message me. A small and horrible part of me thinks, "Why should I go through all the trouble and expense of going home to see people when they left me to the wolves?" I try to dismiss that negativity by thinking that people didn't know how bad it really was for me. Of course I do not feel this way about everyone at home, but just feel that some people could have been more caring and empathetic. On the bright side of this, I did have good support here and my dad helped me out financially. Still, there is that part of me that is hesitant to go back.   
* I'm scared to buy all those expensive flights since I wasted thousands of dollars on airline tickets and then couldn't use them because of my surgery. I even had travel insurance, but my friend Scott called and wrote so many people over it and we never heard anything back. I just couldn't be bothered to fight it because I was stuck in the hospital for so long.

Option 2: Stay in Shanghai for the summer.

Pros:
* I would save SO much money because I wouldn't be buying any airfare at all. In addition, my school will let me stay in my apartment for free if I want.
* I could pay off a large chunk of what I owe my dad for this surgery.
* It's peaceful here in the summer, the air is typically better, and I could try to meet other expats in Shanghai.
* It could be a really relaxing time for me.

Cons:
* Staying in Shanghai this summer reminds me too much of last summer when I was alone and helpless.
* All of my friends would be going home.
* I'm scared it would "catch up to me" later, like I'd be fine in the early fall and by the time late fall hits, I'd really be missing my friends and family from home.

Option 3: Buy an economy ticket and fly home.

Pros:
* I'd get to go home and do it at a much cheaper cost.
* This would ideally be the solution to my problem if I could handle it.
* I asked about long-haul international flights in my spinal fusion support group, and many people are saying they did it, but that they were just uncomfortable. If they can do it, maybe I could do it, too?

Cons:
* What if I can't take the pain halfway through the flight and I'm stuck in economy? That freaks me out! Flights from Shanghai to Chicago are about 14 hours.
* My back is still healing, and what if I mess something up? I've been okay for awhile, and I'd hate to regress with something I could have avoided.

Option 4: Travel in Europe instead.

Pros:
*Business Class flights to Rome are about $2,100 right now.
* I'd be flying Business Class, so I wouldn't be harming my back AND I'd get to travel in Europe.
* There is still a lot of traveling I'd like to do in Europe. I was thinking of maybe going back to Italy, to Croatia, and then to parts of Northern Europe.
* I have some contacts in Europe that I could meet up with. I can speak some Italian, so I'd feel more relaxed in Italy and that's where I'd probably spend the majority of my time.

Cons:
* Well, the flight is way cheaper, but I'd need to pay for accommodation within Europe for a month and a half. Also, I'd have to buy my meals. That can get costly.
* I'd be traveling by myself for at least part of the time. I realized before my big injury that I prefer a travel buddy, but I realized after my surgery that traveling with someone puts me much more at ease. If I'm alone, I'm constantly worrying about falling or getting hurt and not being able to help myself. Part of this stems from the fact that when my back first gave out, I was traveling in another city in China and was alone for my first few days in the hospital.
* I still wouldn't be able to see my closest friends and family members.

As you can see, I have a lot to think about! What would you do in this situation? I'm going to keep searching for cheaper fares and try different dates/city combinations. However, I do need to make a decision fairly soon. Eek! I just hope it's the right one.

How to Have the BEST Time in Macau

April 10, 2017
Last week we had three days off in a row for the Qingming Festival. In case you're not familiar, this holiday is Tomb Sweeping Day. During this time, Chinese people go to the cemetery to honor their dead relatives. Since we didn't have to work for three days, I thought it would be a nice time to get out of Shanghai for a bit and explore Macau. I had a really, really good time, even better than anticipated! Below you'll find my suggestions for your future trip to Macau.


Step One: Find yourself a fun-loving travel buddy with similar interests to go with you. When I brought up wanting to go to Macau, my friend Chris said that he'd like to go, too.  We had traveled together before when we went to Xi'an, so I knew that the two of us would travel well together again. Chris said he wanted to do some sightseeing but nothing too intense, and he mentioned that he didn't want to rush around. That is exactly what I wanted to hear because I'm not even physically capable of running now due to my bad back. Chris was a good partner in crime for our little excursion--we laughed a lot and wanted to do the same type of things.


Step Two: Maximize your travel time. We booked our flight to Macau right after we finished working on Saturday, had all of Sunday and Monday to explore Macau, and then flew out on Tuesday night since we had to work on Wednesday. It was a rough working day the next day, but I'm glad we didn't fly out early or else we would've had to cut something from our trip. Macau can be "done" in a weekend, but spending more time there was the right call for us since we used our evenings to swim in the pool and relax instead of sightsee.

Step Three: Get a good deal on a fancy hotel. Chris got us a discounted rate at the Altira through the Genius Program at Booking.com. The hotel was undergoing some construction, so Chris said we got some money off for that, too.

We LOVED the Altira. Our room had a waterfront view of the city, a massive bathtub, and there was even a tv in the mirror of our bathroom! The staff treated us like royalty. Just to give an example, one staff member ran ahead of us to press the elevator button so we wouldn't have to and then bowed at us as we were leaving. Everyone we came in contact with really seemed like they wanted to help us. We got some tea as a welcome drink, the soft drinks and beer from the mini fridge were complimentary, and every day we got some sort of little gift on our bed such as cooling foot gel or moisturizer for our face.




The best part of the Altira was the pool area! First of all, I love a good infinity pool, and that was just the kind of pool they had there. Plus, it's an indoor pool with a panoramic view and they play underwater music! It even made it onto the Forbes Traveler list of the top 10 pools in the world. There was no hot tub in the pool area, but both the male and female locker rooms had a hot tub inside.

On the last day, the other guests that were swimming left, and we had the whole pool to ourselves for a bit. I can't say I hated that!


Step Four: Visit the Portuguese area by Largo do Senado to take in some of Macau's most famous sights. From Senado Square, it's just a short walk to the ruins of St. Paul, Monte Fort, St. Dominic's Church, and the Macau Museum.

Tip: Link arms with your travel buddy here or just be super careful not to get separated. The walk up to the ruins of St. Paul was one of THE most crowded areas I have ever been in in my entire life. Chris and I got split up in less than a minute, but luckily he was able to spot me later because I'm so tall. If we actually got separated, that would have been rather annoying since I didn't have service on my cell phone.





Step Five: Walk the Cotai Strip. I would say to try to walk it one time during the day and one time at night to get the full experience. We made it to City of Dreams, the Venetian, the Galaxy Mega Resort,  and the Parisian.

We people watched, shopped, listened to a performer sing at the Venetian, saw a bunch of what Chris described as "Carnival people" at the Parisian (they were on stilts!), had coffee, ate macarons, and admired the various lobbies at the hotels.

Tip: Don't miss the Crystal Lobby or Diamond Lobby at the Galaxy. The best is when the robots go through the Crystal Lobby!

Tip: There is a free bus that does a loop and makes stops at several of the hotels if you don't feel like walking!







Step Six: Book a ticket for the House of Dancing Water at City of Dreams. I've only been to Vegas once and did see two shows, but I have to say that House of Dancing Water was on par with the shows I saw in Vegas! There was always something going on. Your eyes would be drawn to one area, and then other acrobats would come flying down from another spot. The motorcycle stunt scene will make you cringe in the best way possible.

Tip: Book ahead for this show. We didn't book until the night before and there were very few options left for seating. We were lucky there were even any seats available at all. We paid $580 Macanese Patacas each for our tickets (about $73 USD) and had to sit in the front where we got splashed with water from time to time. We were a bit nervous when we walked in because there were towels for us on our seats, so we thought we were going to get soaked, but hardly any water got on us and we were three rows from the front.



Step Seven: Eat at the Hard Rock Cafe. Twice. Stop reading now if you only want to try the local food. ;) We wanted to go because we live in Asia and were craving food from home. The reason why I said to eat there twice is because we were given a coupon for a free appetizer for the next day as long as we filled out a survey on our first visit. For our appetizer, we split the nachos which could have basically been a meal in itself. Also, they had cream soda (not commonly found in Asia) and free refills on soft drinks (again, not common in Asia).


Step Eight: Try your hand at gambling. We are both not big gamblers, so we stuck to the slot machines. Yes, I know, they have the worst odds and we lost, but we still had fun in the casino! I want to learn how to play blackjack well enough so that I'm confident to play at a table sometime in the future.

Tip: If you plan on gambling in Macau, know that you need to gamble with Hong Kong Dollars and not with Macanese patacas, at least that was the case at the Venetian where we gambled. You may want to bring some Hong Kong Dollars with you, or you can wait in line and exchange your money in the casino.


Step Nine: Don't miss the Taipa Village area. We went there on our last day and had an enjoyable time. Even though this area is still bustling and has its fair share of tourists, it is considered a more authentic part of Macau. There are plenty of bakeries, shops, and cafes to choose from, as well as places that sold Macau's famous beef jerky. The Taipa Houses Museum, featuring five pastel Portuguese style colonial houses, is there too. Near the Taipa Houses Museum, there is an artificial lake and a park where we strolled around for a bit.





Step Ten: Enjoy some egg tarts at Lord Stow's Bakery. We tried some at the Rua do Cunha location, but there are also other locations, such as the one inside the Venetian. I've had egg tarts in Shanghai, but I do have to say the ones from Lord Stow's Bakery were served warm and had a richer taste. The top was caramelized, but the inside was still creamy.


Macau exceeded my expectations, and I would 100% go back! The glamour and glitz mixed with the Portuguese and Chinese cultural attractions were a good combination.

What about Macau appeals to you?