Leaving Europe

Without any previous experience outside of our European continent, I drank up the last Czech Pilsner, went through the gate and suddenly left the Prague airport on the 27th August 2013 at 4 p.m.ImageAlthough I usually hate flights choosing Emirates airlines showed up to be a great choice. Instead of inconvenient seats, a jumping plane and listening to advertisements during the whole flight to which I was used from budget airlines, flying with Emirates was a pleasant experience. The  food was tasty, beverages were served for free and the personal computer was full of movies, TV series, games, music so I did not get bored. Besides, I was full of expectations and thinking a lot about next days. Many questions occurred to me and actually, I asked to myself: Why did I decide to go to Macau? ImageThat’s an interesting question 🙂 When I finished my Bachelor in Prague, I wanted to move on to recognize different culture, different way of studying, to experience and see something new. As I am a fan of winters and pure nature, I was led to the north, Umea, Sweden. This international experience changed my life but that would be a different story 🙂 I met there so many people from all around the world. The world showed up to be much smaller and everything seemed to be so close. That’s the reason why I wanted to see more. Looking at the possible exchange places from Umea university, Macau seemed to be one of the most interesting ones. I wanted to move outside of the Europe but it is a European colony so I didn’t expect it to be a dangerous jungle. I thought people will speak English there. Also, it is well situated for travelling. I’ve heard you can get from Macao easily to Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China and also to the south eastern Asia. Lastly, I thought about weather. Despite Swedish beautiful snowy winters and white nights in the summer, the autumn is not the best there :/ I wanted to avoid rainy and dark October and November. In addition, I read that the best time to visit Hong Kong and Macau is autumn so I just have to survive the last month of the monsoon season (May-September) and then, it will be amazing there 🙂 After I was accepted to the exchange, I found out Macau is considered to be “Las Vegas of Asia” which is just a another plus 😀 But let’s get back to my journey. ImageI was flying via Dubai and Emirates offer a nice bargain packages. If you book a room in a hotel, you get also transport to and from the airport, breakfast and visa for free so I chose the cheapest one and stayed one day in Dubai 🙂 Dubai is really worth visiting. There is both interesting historical and modern city centre. My first steps led to Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. ImageIt is 830 m high but the touristic viewpoint is just at 452 m. Anyway, it is a beautiful view. You can see from there Dubai Skyscrapers, desert, Persian Gulf, Burj Al Arab hotel, the World islands and other stuff and staff as well haha 😀ImageThe only problem is you feel like in a sauna. The observation place is made from wood which absorbs sunrays very well so imagine how it could be like there when it is +40 C in the shadow.

There is the second biggest shopping mall in the world- Dubai Mall next to the Burj Khalifa. Besides thousands of shops, there are other attractions such as a huge aquarium, ice rink or a waterfall.ImageFor lovers of shopping, it must be the best experience. I think especially some girls could spend there a week without any problem 😀 I didn’t have so much time and money so I moved to the old city. Finally, I could see the Arabic architecture- the Mosques, the old quarter Bestakiya or traditional markets. ImageImageIt was pretty difficult to get rid off merchants with souvenirs. Not only once I got the traditional headscarf on my head and I was forced to take a picture. I really didn’t want to buy it. My luggage was already oversized and I couldn’t afford to bring something more but negotiation was really fun 😀 Starting at 150 dirhams finished at 20 dirhams (they claim the normal price is 50 dirhams in the guide so I am really good 😀 ) ImageBut anyway, they were so sad afterwards when I didn’t buy it 🙂 After 3 hours of sightseeing in +40, I felt quite hot so I visited another air conditioned shopping mall- The Mall of the Emirates where I cooled down even better by a look at a ski slope. Image

My last stop was at Dubai Marina where is nice scenery of many skyscrapers.  Besides a harbour, there is a long sand beach nearby. I read that the average temperature of the Persian Gulf in August is 32 C so I had to try to swim in a coffee. Actually, I think it was warmer than my body. It was like swimming in a hot spa in the Alps but with a view at skyscrapers instead of mountains.ImageThe way back to my hotel took around one hour by metro because the Dubai Marina was around 30 km far from the city centre. When I got back, it was already midnight and I had to move to the airport to catch my flight to Hong Kong. My transport (a luxurious Volvo) was already waiting for me 🙂 the chauffeur went to pick up all my luggage and I felt like a VIP person 😀

I think I have to go back to Dubai. It was very nice  experience but too short time for such a big and interesting city. I was afraid of a cultural shock and to do something embarrassing but I felt very safe and comfortable. Just once, I felt embarrassed because I entered a carriage of a metro for women but I realised it rather early and I moved to another one.ImageWearing jeans in +40 seems to be strange but rules must be followed. I felt bad about primarily Russian tourists who didn’t follow the dress code at all.

The rest of my journey was without any problem. After landing in Dubai, I took a Turbojet ship and I came on 28th August at 19 p.m. to Macao. Then, I felt little sorry for a Macao taxi driver who took me to the dormitory because I couldn’t pay by card and I had only 54 HKD and it cost 75 HKD but he let me go. Thanks for this noble deed 🙂

I am sorry I think I wrote too much just about the arrival and nothing yet about Macao 🙂 it will come soon 😛


About jarinek

I am a graduate Master student in Business development and internationalisation at Umea University, Sweden. In the fall 2013 I went for an exchange programme to Macau, University of Science and Technology. My blog approaches my experience there in China. View all posts by jarinek

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