There are few greater contrasts in Macau than the end of the Cotai Strip and the entrance to Coloane village. Separated by only a kilometre or so, the strip is defiantly 2009, with its gaze set solidly on the future, while the village seems to be, well, peddling back half a century and more. Set back from Coloane square down a rustic lane, one of Macau's most successful antique shops, Asian Artefacts, has long been a sought-after destination for visitors from Hong Kong - and much further afield - who come to buy a souvenir, some much needed furniture or simply to take in the aura of years gone by. 'I've been operating in Macau for more than 15 years,' says owner Anita Lauder. 'Customers visiting from overseas who purchased from me 10 or more years ago often come into the shop and exclaim, 'you're still here!'. 'I'm glad to say I am still in business as many Chinese furniture shops have closed down in Macau as landlords near the ruins of St Paul's [Cathedral] increase their rents, and furniture has been replaced by almond cookie and honey beef shops, catering mostly to mainland tourists.' Lauder has been involved with antiques for many years as her mother was a collector and she used to help out in antique shops in England belonging to friends when she was home from school and at weekends. 'As well as being interested in antiques and collectables I developed an early interest in travel,' she says. 'I went overland by bus from England to India twice, and lived in France and Spain and remain fluent in both languages - which has proved to be very useful in the shop.' Wanderlust led Lauder to Asia and in 1971 she started living in Hong Kong and visiting the enclave. 'Macau was - and is - a wonderful change of scene from Hong Kong. As well as enjoying the excellent food and wine, we used to wander around the old-style antique and curio shops buying as many interesting pieces as we could.' In 1990, Lauder started selling antique Chinese wooden boxes and a range of artefacts at the autumn and spring bazaars which were held at various hotels in Hong Kong. Having established the business, a friend suggested that she should rent a large shop that was vacant in the main shopping street of Coloane village, near the chapel of St Francis Xavier, where she could sell furniture and smaller items. Despite opening on April Fools' Day in 1994, Asian Artefacts prospered almost from the start. 'My customers then were mostly from Hong Kong but they were gradually augmented by people from all over the world as Asian Artefacts became more well-known through word of mouth and inclusion in guide books such as Lonely Planet, Fodor's, and Frommer's. 'Now, I also get many more customers coming from all over Asia, curious to see the new casinos and resorts and, as a contrast, come and look at antiques and village life in Coloane. 'The casinos and resorts have also been beneficial as their consultants and employees often come out to Coloane to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the village.' While Hong Kong has plenty of antique shops, high rentals in Hollywood Road and similar environs push up prices, which gives Macau an automatic edge. 'I find that antique red wedding cupboards with the original large brass centrepiece are still very popular, as are traditional Chinese kitchen cabinets and decorated Mongolian cupboards and, of course, all the wonderful wooden boxes and artefacts,' Lauder says. 'My policy has always been to buy old pieces and restore them rather than sell reproductions or make furniture to order. 'As well as selling from the shop, I also supply furniture and decorative items direct from China to dealers overseas. With the advent of e-mail many of my clients simply rely on photographs of pieces and my recommendations. 'However, it is getting harder to find many of the antique pieces that were prevalent 10 or 15 years ago. So now, rather than looking for specific items when I go on buying trips in China, I am forced to buy whatever I can find that I like. 'I have many customers nowadays saying how they wish they had bought a particular piece when they saw it, rather than hesitate and then find it had been sold and realise that that particular style was not easy to find again.' While acknowledging that Macau has changed a great deal in the decade since the handover, Lauder reckons many of the changes have been for the better. 'The new casinos and resorts are in stark contrast to the Macau that people used to know, but they are all built on reclaimed land and the resulting tax revenue has helped pay for the restoration and preservation of the 25 World Heritage temples and sites in old Macau,' she says. 'I often advise visitors to enjoy the fantasy of the 'new' and continue to appreciate the wonderful old areas that still remain, as well as the green areas of the islands.'