Like this one about a trip to Macau:
It’s the Macau International Music Festival again – one of the annual events I always look forward to. Monday’s concert, by Musica Antiqua Koln, was one of the three I am to attend this year. I am not too crazy about Baroque music, finding it a bit too tidy in its architecture and structure, but I enjoy the feeling of going back in time, especially when listening to the harpsichord, and this quintet is renowned in Europe. The venue, Teatro Dom Pedro V, is itself also an attraction. Built in 1858, it is the oldest theatre in Macau and is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. So I was hoping that it would be worth the trouble of queuing up for the tickets one hot summer morning in July and the hassle of catching the 6pm turbojet right after work.
I took a taxi to Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, which was a 5-minute walk from Teatro Dom Pedro V. There was about half an hour left for a quick dinner, so I went a Portuguese restaurant called Vela Latina, which was just opposite Largo do Senado. After flipping through the menu and placing a quick order, I tried to forget my urgency temporarily and blend in with the leisurely mood of the place and the people. It was then that I noticed the western woman sitting at the next table, obviously a tourist because she was reading a travel brochure. When our eyes met, she smiled and offered me the small bottle of red wine she couldn’t finish. That set off a polite conversation, through which I found out that she was an American living in Laos and had eight days to spend in Macau, and she found out that I was from Hong Kong and coming to Macau for a concert that would commence in twenty minutes’ time. Then I went back to my dinner and she went back to her reading.
It was when I asked for the bill that we spoke again. I thanked her for the wine and she said she would like to go to the venue of the concert with me to see whether there were still tickets available. I wasn’t very confident about that, since the tickets had been on sale for three months, but I felt that I should oblige to the curiosity of a tourist, so we walked to the theatre together. To my surprise, when she asked the usher whether there were any seats left, she was led to a counter. A minute later, she came back, a smile of victory on her face and a ticket in her hand.
I was happy that in this chance encounter favours were exchanged – she gave me the wine and I presented her with a chance to enjoy the concert at a delightful historical venue. Encounters like this make traveling interesting, even though it was just a short trip to neighboring Macau.