My last minute travel arrangement style have always resulted in some interesting dilemmas, and this little side trip was no exception. Prior to arriving I booked a hotel to stay at Macau, and did not print out any confirmations, assuming that taxi drivers there would know this hotel. After all, it is part of the “Best Western” hotel chain, and surely these guys would know if I mention that.
Sometimes, I forget that I am going to Asia, and English simply has no place there. This is especially so for Macau, since they a Portuguese colony once. My drama begins from the minute I landed at Macau International Airport. Coming out of the airport:
Drama #1 –> I waved at the first taxi. Using English, I said I wanted to go to “Best Western Taipa”, the name of the hotel in English. The driver looked at me funny, shook his head as if he does not understand. Hmm.. ok.. so he doesn’t understand English, fair enough. I then tried using my broken cantonese to say “Best Western Taipa” (Yes, that’s Cantonese English). And he still does not understand. Finally, he booted me out of the car, and I have to move on. *FAILED*
Drama #2 –> I then move on to the second taxi, and tried using Cantonese English to pronounce “Best Western Taipa” again, he still does not know! OK, so no one knows “Best Western” around here. Crap! Fortunately, WiFi was available and I could use my iPhone to search for “Best Western Taipa” to locate the address of the hotel. Great!! So I thought.
Drama #3 ->I went for my 3rd taxi, and happily showed the address to the taxi driver in English. And guess what!? He does not know road names in English either! Once again, I was booted out of the taxi.
At this point, every cantonese swear word I know started to come out. I just wanted to go to my hotel! I was not a happy chap. Back to my iPhone, and googled “Best Wester Taipa in chinese”. Eventually I found the name of the hotel in chinese as……. And just to make sure the driver knows where it is, I found the address in chinese as well. On to my 4th taxi, and long and behold, the driver knew where I wanted to go.
Drama #4 –> FINALLY! So I thought things will be ok.. the driver knew where I wanted to go, but didn’t seem like he was keen to move. He began explaining, “Oh man.. I’ve lined up at the airport so long and you just want me to drive 5 minutes to get to the hotel… ”. F*CKkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!! JUST DRIVE BITCH!! Turns out, the hotel was only a 5 minute drive and I probably could have just walked. I gave him double the metered fare and that gave him a smile and put me slightly at ease.
*Sigh*.. What a bloody drama just going to the hotel. Thank god I had my iPhone, thank god I know broken cantonese.
The lesson? If you don’t know Cantonese, don’t bother coming to Macau. Life will be extremely difficult for you.