Australian couple Jeff and Maureen Evans returned to Macau after 5 years away and to their favourite apartment building.
When it comes to Christmas time the Evans family tends to be somewhere hot. Either in their native Sydney in 35 degrees heat, with a barbeque by the pool, or in the sweltering heat of their last posting in the Middle East. This year’s Christmas will be another hot one – back in Sydney with their three daughters Elizabeth, Jennifer and Felicity. There’s much excitement and anticipation in the air with the expectation of a first grandchild on the way.
Jeff and Maureen first came to Macau in 2008 when he worked for 2 years on the construction of the City of Dreams’ Grand Hyatt. When the project was completed they moved to Abu Dhabi, a place that they clearly both fell in love with. “Wow, we loved everything about it!” exclaims Maureen, “Coming from an ordinary working class family, I suddenly realized that I was in Arabia, on the other side of the World with all the exotic excitement that a new culture can bring.”
Jeff was working for Arabian Construction Company ‘ACC’ on the Gate District Towers, an interconnected 3 tower building of 3,300 apartments and offices. It was a vast building site with 4 mosques on it and 11,000 workers. Large scale projects therefore don’t faze him one bit. Back now in Macau, hired initially to work on the Venetian Parcel 3 podium of the Parisienne hotel, casino and resort with gradually expanding responsibilities as the project develops, this experienced project manager, an affable, unruffled, trouble-shooting problem solver takes everything in his stride!
When they knew they were coming back to Macau there was really only one building they wanted to live in – the Manhattan, which had previously been their home. Their current 3 bedroom, 1700 sq feet apartment in the North Tower suits them perfectly. Whilst now much of the view has sadly been obscured; “The apartment can get quite dark being penned in by other buildings”, there’s still a little bit of greenery to see. And the furniture, provided with the lease, is tastefully modern.
The master bedroom and ensuite bathroom is off the living room, and the guest room, study and guest bathroom are at the back of the apartment off the dining area. The galley style kitchen, long and narrow, contains all the mod cons including oven (rare in Macau!) and temperature controlled wine storage cabinet.
Standard to all Manhattan apartments are the dark chocolate brown wood floors throughout. The dining table is chocolate brown, the dining chairs and sofa, in cream suede, add elegant contrast. Behind the sofa, the window seat is filled with framed family photos.
Two striking pieces of artwork are an aerial shot of Sydney harbor and one of the Three Sisters rock formations in the Blue Mountains where the Evans’s keep a holiday home. A couple of Chinese hangings come from a trip to Beijing.
Other treasures from their travels – a round mosaic tile topped table bought in Jordan from a sheltered workshop set up under the benevolence of Jordanian Queen Noor. The natural stone used is only found in Jordan. “We saw them being made” says Jeff, “The artisans use tweezers to place the tiny pieces of tile.” Another piece de resistance collectible is a beautiful stained glass Turkish lamp bought in Abu Dhabi.
Being back at the Manhattan, what they most appreciate about it is “Location, location, location! It’s so easy to get everywhere” says Maureen; “restaurants, shops are all within a few minutes’ walking distance and we feel in the thick of it here”. Jeff walks the nearby 1-hour Taipa Hill trail most Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings. “And the staff make this place too” he adds, “they are all very friendly and helpful”. And what about the much admired Manhattan clubhouse, do they use this often? “We’ve not stepped foot on level 6!” they laugh.
The Evans’s don’t keep a car, preferring to travel by bus. “Buses are fantastic if the drivers were taught to drive!” exclaims Maureen, “but seriously, they are very reliable and there seem to be more of them, arriving more frequently, than 5 years ago”. And taxis? “We used to be able to walk out on the road at the Manhattan front entrance and get one easily but now no longer. The other day we had to bribe a taxi driver to take us”.
They’ve also noticed a change in demographics amongst the expatriates in Macau. “The Manhattan used to be somewhat of an ‘enclave’ of Leighton executives, with newly arriving wives/partners being taken under the wing of wives already settled. But not now. Its not as easy a life as before for my female expat friends who don’t work”, explains Maureen. “Couples arriving seem to be younger, and perhaps its because there are fewer Westerners, that the expat staff coming in are from other Asian countries like Singapore and Malaysia who make their own support network”.
Living in the heart of Taipa there is a good choice of supermarkets around. “CCK for frozen meat, ParkNShop for general stuff and the US Store for a decent low carb beer, wine, fresh fruit and excellent avocados. San Mui is very convenient for us, and New Yaohan on Macau side is still Maureen’s favourite store, (“they have lovely linens from Australia”) though things there “cost an arm and a leg!”
Whilst clearly its a strain being away from their three beloved daughters, Jeff and Maureen have settled back into the groove of life in Macau. When not working he enjoys cooking, and is an accomplished cartoonist. They meet friends for meals in Old Taipa Village and on lazy weekend afternoons the two of them kick back with some good wine and cheese and enjoy soothing bluesy/soul music provided by Jango.com online radio.