I had done no previous planning for Macau except to ask the concierge how to get there (I was told to just hie myself to the ferry port and they leave every half hour) for various reasons (some of them being that I had stayed up all night Thursday ostensibly to catch the sunrise but really was just cuz I wanted to, had made an impromptu visit to Disney on Friday, and simply given myself no time to do anything more than to just jump on the first random ferry that said it was going to Macau on Saturday).
It turns out that I hopped onto the one ferry that goes to Taipa instead of the Macau peninsula port. But that's okay cuz I saw that there were dozens of free buses from the major casinos ready to shuttle money-loaded tourists, and so I took the closest one to the Venetian. The Venetian concierge then kindly informed me I should have taken the Wynn Resort one instead, as that one actually goes to the peninsula, and then directed me to the City of Dreams, where I could take another shuttle to the Sintra Hotel. (At this point, my journey was beginning to sound like the modern equivalent of the Arabian Nights.)
I finally make it to the peninsula, and just a convenient one or two blocks from Senado Square which I had been aiming for. I literally take no more than ten steps before I end up loaded down with 2 giant shopping bags' worth of all the presents I had wanted to get but couldn't find in Hong Kong.
So then it was an about turn to look for the Wynn hotel (which took two inquiries because, forgetting this wasn't Vegas, it was a slow realization that the Wynn wasn't large enough to be seen past all the other gigantic casinos) since I figured I could drop off the shopping with their bag check and I could confirm the shuttles back to Taipa at the same time. After three inquiries (one in Mandarin, one in English, and one in who-the-heck-knows-what-but-it-sure-wasn't-Cantonese) for their concierge desk (which I never did find), I stumble across an atrium with a really cool eastern/western zodiac installment around which a whole crowd of people were loitering. Since it seemed like they were all waiting for something to happen, I waited around to see if something would happen too.
AND SUDDENLY THIS GREAT SMOKING GOLDEN ANIMATRONIC DRAGON ROSE OUT OF THE HOTEL DEPTHS.
I found the bag check. I figured out the shuttle back to the ferry port. I ate. It was now something like 5 pm, I had seen almost nothing of Macau yet, and I was totally not bothered by this.
I finally limped out onto the streets (my knee was still bothering me, and I was still looking for Senado Square) and wandered for a good 30 minutes consulting a paper map and GPS, taking random snapshots along the way. For some reason, I was having a much more difficult time navigating than usual - partially exacerbated by the fact that for the life of me I couldn't find any street signs 99% of the time (as in, the 1% was earlier in the day when I was first dropped off and I hadn't been able to find any since).
Finally, I figured out the problem when I stood at a railing and stared out at BLACK OPEN OCEAN while GPS claimed that I was still 20 blocks inland. I had walked clear to the other side of Macau on foot, and it wasn't until I just stowed my phone away in disgust and staggered into a random Best Western that I finally found out where exactly I was on the map.
They got me pointed in the right direction. I might have been more afraid of all the back alleys I wandered through if I hadn't already determined that I was taller than and outweighed 95% of the population by a good 2-4 inches and 10-20 pounds (and that includes the men, never mind the women). This time, knowing I shouldn't trust GPS, I managed to find my way to Senado Square.
Only to find that I had passed it an hour ago. Not 10 minutes from the Wynn Hotel. I HAD EVEN TAKEN A SNAPSHOT OF IT AND THOUGHT OH WHAT A NICE PLAZA BUT IT LOOKS KINDA MODERN AND BORING.
I learned his English name is Shine. I learned he is a 22 year old, last year student at the local college studying Human Resources. I learned he wants to visit Santorini someday. I learned he thinks HR is kind of boring. Why did I learn all this? Because this guy, after spending 5 minutes trying to help me figure out the best way to get back onto the main avenue of the city using my map (which was English) while cross-referencing his phone (in Chinese), offered to PERSONALLY LEAD THE WAY. What a mensch.
Thus, I followed a Pizza Hut delivery dude down and down one staircase after another and through what felt like the rest of the back alleys of Macau that I hadn't already gimped through ...
... and ended up right back at Senado Square. I now suspect that it is the Bermuda Triangle of Macau.
This time, I didn't care that I knew exactly where I was, I didn't take any more chances and caught a 2 minute cab ride. I not only made it to the ferry terminal in time, I was a whole hour early. At which point, thank you Chinese expediency, they simply handwaved me onto the next ferry instead of making me wait for my actual return ticket time. Woohoo, and there you have it, I survived Macau. \o/