I sent this postcard to my paternal grandma one month after I moved to Hong Kong for my junior year abroad.
This was my first of two trips to Macau, both just for the day and both on my own (the second trip was in 1994, after I had moved back to Hong Kong).
Macau is now the glitzy Vegas of Asia, but back in the 90s, it resembled the old downtown Vegas: seedy, retro, and sleepy.
My (maternal) grandparents and uncle visited Macau in the 60s and 70s and I imagined it hadn’t changed much when I first went in 1990.
“There was an overnight steamer,” my uncle told me, “and a 3 hour ferry.”
When I went to Macau, I took either the 1.5 hour hydrofoil or the 1 hour jetfoil, which I chose over the 3 hour slow ferry. I don’t remember hearing of an overnight steamer.
“We traveled to Macau without passports,” my (maternal) grandma said of her trip there in the 60s. (I used my Hong Kong ID card instead of a passport, but if I hadn’t been a Hong Kong resident, I would have needed a passport to enter Macau when I went there.)
“Yes, and when we got off the hydrofoil in Hong Kong,” my uncle added, “nurses greeted passengers from Macau to give them smallpox vaccinations if they didn’t already have them.”
Okay, so things had changed in 30 years.