I was “forced” to go to Hong Kong last weekend to fulfill my tourist visa regulation of only staying in China for 30 days at a time. I can’t begin to tell you what a hardship it was. Anders told D that we had to go. She made the hotel and train arrangements. Ben picked up the train tickets at the station and gave them to Anders. Ben drove us to and picked us up from the station. And in between it was a bunch of fun.
We left Saturday morning and came home late Sunday afternoon. It’s an easy 2-hour express train ride. I have been on the train for 2 trips and it seems that no matter what time of day or day of the week the train is full.
The first thing we did after checking into the hotel at about 12:30 was…any guesses? We found the nearest Irish pub! Anders believes that no matter what city you go to in the world there will be at least one Irish pub. We have made it a mission to put that to the text in the next 3 years. I meant to take a picture here but forgot. It’s OK as this was not our last visit to Delaney’s. We then just started walking. We decided on a whim to take the tram to “The Peak”, not the tram in the photo to the left. It was an
exhilerating exhausting walk in the heat and humidity to find the departure building and we arrived damp but we arrived. It was good to walk and work off the Irish beer. OK, so perhaps we sweat it out too. Waiting for the tram was an endurance test because the building was packed, open on 2 ends, and no A/c of course because it was open on 2 ends. Let me tell you this, Europeans have nothing on the Chinese when it comes to pushing and shoving. Even the oldest, most frail looking little old lady could take out any NFL player on her home turf. The kind of nice thing is that if you want to get anywhere you have to push and shove right back. They make you be rude. And it’s accepted practice so for all you nice, polite people out there that want free license to be obnoxious. You just come to China and you’ll feel better because it’s OK.
We finally made the tram after our “30 minute” wait. I think they must do some funky time conversion because from where we were in line it was more like an hour. Your trip isn’t done either when you alight from the tram. We had to go up another 5 escalators to actually make it to the viewing deck and of course they snake you through gift shops and restaurants but we didn’t fall for that! Oh no, I was on a mission and that was to get to the highest viewing point, one of my favorite things to do no matter where we are. It was hazy and a storm was moving in but still the view was spectacular. Hong Kong is an amazing engineering feat and mind-boggling. I have never been anywhere like it and the view from up high really helps you appreciate it. The storm did eventually come in and unleashed a downpour but there just happens to be a mall at “The Peak”. We walked around a bit and went outside to escape the crowd and wait under an overhang and watched a very old man clean up the area. He motioned for us to go in but we were able to convey that we needed the fresh air. After about 10 minutes we went back in, gave him a thank you and goodbye in Chinese and he just grinned and said bye-bye in English. I think he was quite pleased with himself.
We made our way back to the hotel walking of course and stopped at a beautiful park along the way. We just happened to look to our right and tucked in amongst the skyscrapers was a huge park. And then a short 15 minute walk away from that are the bars where the hookers hang out. It’s all part of the experience. Anything you want is available in just a short walk. 😉
For dinner we decided we were going to find a Thai restaurant that served great food but at a fraction of the cost at the nicer places. The guide-book did not have streets listed it just said that in the “warren of side streets” in little Thailand they are abundant. Well, maybe they are if you can read Chinese but let me say that we were up and down every side street and after almost giving up walked down a dead-end street and found a place. The food was quite good and for a total bill of $13 we walked away feeling satisfied (this it the place where we were given a roll of TP for napkins). For dessert, which I haven’t had since I moved, I gave in and stopped at McD’s and Anders and I each had a McFlurry. It was the best McFlurry I think I ever ate.
The next morning was rather easy as we had a 2:00 train to catch so we walked to one of the many malls in HK and shopped. It was a bit swanky and after we took the escalator to the top floor we looked around and realized we had no business whatsoever being there and took the next one down. I’m surprised they didn’t have security guards at the escalators to send the riff-raff down.
I was proud that we did not take one taxi, bus, or tram. We walked everywhere and had a good time doing it. I commented that I didn’t think I could live in HK. It is a very densely populated city and everything feels so closed in. Walking the streets I felt the buildings and shops were right on top of me. That’s what I didn’t like. Not that I won’t be going back, I can’t wait to discover more of HK but I like GZ just fine for living. I think that we’ll take all of our visitors to HK. It is a city not to be missed.
4PM – 97° (Anders helped me find the degree symbol!)