By Sofia Jesus

Picture yourself on a boat, on a river – no tangerine trees or marmalade skies.

I followed The Beatles suggestion. But only to wake up to memories — many borrowed from readings — of when the city was one with the river or the sea.

Surrounded by water — except at its Northern tip — the Macau peninsula has a centuries-old tradition as a harbour. And yet, today, it seems as if the river, or the sea, depending on where we stand, is always too many steps away from most of its inhabitants. As if it was something you can see in the distance, admire and long for, but seldom reach.

When I stroll around in the S. Francisco Garden — the city’s first garden, according to the Municipal and Civic Affairs Bureau — I always imagine how beautiful it should have been to be at that same garden gazing at the seaside, before land reclamation started there in the 1920s.

Similar thoughts haunt me when strolling around the Nam Van and Sai Van artificial lakes. This area, today, is very dear to me. But I can’t help to sympathise with – and envy – the longing felt by those who were lucky to have enjoyed that area when it was actually a real bay, the Praia Grande (Big beach, in English) bay. Those memories I borrow from real people, as the closing of the bay began in the 1990s.

When there is a Government plan to add about 350 hectares of reclaimed land to the city —distributed through five areas in the Peninsula and in the island of Taipa —, little spots of sea breeze appear priceless to me.

One of my favourites is probably well out of anyone’s track. It is the promenade around the Macao Science Center, which opened its doors to the public in 2010. Its splendid views (pictured in this article) are worth the trip, even if you are not interested in science.

In this little spot, you can sit by the shore, catch the breeze and almost believe you can be on that boat, on the river. If you are lucky —like I have been —, you can catch one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.

I just hope little spots like this would not soon become but a memory of mine. I would hate to end up sitting there, looking for the girl with the sun in her eyes, only to find that she’s gone.