After lunch it was time to head off to Macau, a 55 minute jetfoil journey. Even though Hong Kong and Macau are now both part of the People’s Republic of China, one has to pass through immigration, both on leaving Hong Kong and entering Macau, which adds to the time taken. The interior of the jetfoil is more like a budget airline, but comfortable enough for the short journey. The weather, however, was very grey and drizzly – weather that was to persist, interrupted only by periods of heavier rainfall, during my stay in Macau.

I was staying at the Pousada de Mong-Há, a short taxi ride from the port. The Pousada is a small (30 room) government training hotel with adjacent restaurant, both staffed by trainees wishing to enter the hospitality business. The keen enthusiasm of the trainees was an absolute delight, even though the service had a few hiccoughs. (A trainee opening a bottle of wine for me at the restaurant apparently was doing so for the first time in her life. Unfortunately, it appeared to be a particularly obdurate cork, and her supervisor eventually had to step in.) In fact, the sheer charm of the staff made me think about why such charm is so often woefully lacking in the supposedly more up-market hotels in which one stays.

Check-in was swift. The room was large, as was the bathroom, all very clean and comfortable. And, joy of joys, there was a computer with a fast Internet connection. (I’d been unable to find an adaptor in Hong Kong which would allow me to plug in my netbook, leaving me suffering severe Internet-withdrawal symptoms.)

It was dinner time by then, and after a shower in a stall equipped with a vast array of jets of different heights, positions and force – rather like a device in a science fiction movie for performing some hideous bodily transformation – I headed to the training restaurant. After a preprandial dry martini I had seared scallops with Portuguese black pudding and orange marmalade, followed by a traditional Portuguese dish of African chicken accompanied by couscous and roasted courgettes. Despite at this point feeling rather over-stuffed, I was enjoying myself so much I forced down a trio of desserts with mango pudding, mango macaroon with hazelnut chocolate.

And so to bed.


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