The HK hustle

Trip Start Oct 03, 2011
Trip End Dec 25, 2011

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Where I stayed
A pretty hot, noisy, neon-lit room.
What I did
Discovered a Tokyo without the quirkiness!

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

In Japan the year was not '11, oh no, but '23 (something we failed to ask anyone about). On landing in Hong Kong we took the airport bus into the twinkling city with sky-scrapers and lights as far as the eye could see (both on the horizon and upwards) and actually felt like we had traveled 12 years into a city of the future.  Arriving late into HK left us little to do on our first night,  but we did hit the supermarket, which quite possibly made Amy the happiest she has ever been: it sold Weetabix! 

The next morning we set out early (not) towards the antique/crafty part of town to sniff out a few bargains. Our first experience of how bad we are at bargaining was softened as Amy bought a couple of delicious cake/pineapple based snacks to enjoy into the stifling heat.

We eventually embarked upon a walking tour of the heart of HK, but not before stumbling aimlessly around one of the many perfectly manicured shopping malls. At first the supposed short-cut's air conditioning was a relief; by the end we were happy to escape the labyrinth. A wander around via Statue park and the 43rd floor of the Bank of China helped us find our bearings (with a quick stop in the surprisingly interesting Museum of Tea Ware), followed by the HSBC building (complete with statue lions named after the big branch managers at the time, as well as the occupying tents of the demonstration against banks of HK). 

We then headed up the incredibly steep tram to the touristy Peak for some more views of the city. Back down at a reasonable altitude we pottered around the botanical garden in the twilight towards "the world's largest escalator". However, we have two major problems with this escalator!

1. It isn't continuous (hardly surprising given the practical aspect, but the sections aren't even long!)
2. An even more pressing matter: It only goes up! A crest-fallen walk down the steps next to it follows as we head home hot and dejected. 

The next morning we think ourselves terribly clever and head out super-early up the Peak for a free Tai-Chi lesson. The hour long bus up makes us think it is likely we are going to be late. We are: by about 3 years, we are informed by one of the employees. D'oh! Back down again for a shop for travelling bits and bobs is followed by a Star ferry away from HK Island then up to the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas. The quiet retreat is a welcome escape from the hustle of bankers and tourists and is quirky to say the least. The walk up is lined with (sometimes grotesque) gold statues of Buddha in many posses. The gold encrusted buildings and temples at the top are crammed floor to ceiling with tiny glistening deities, there is also an orange-stealing monkey, and a vegetarian restaurant serving up delights such as deep-fried vegetarian duck(?!). The day is concluded with stunning night-time view of the wealth on show across the harbour.

Before turning in we got our internet fix in the central library, which was pleased to inform all who used it that the elevator button was disinfected once every hour. For all you OCD'ers out there we had seen similar signs in the shopping malls and subways etc. Once you noticed it, the HK clean-freaks were everywhere.

Our final day in HK saw us set out for the cable cars up to the big Buddha statue out of town. An hour queue we were told - 2 hours later and we were off! The cables cars were pretty immense and not for vertigo sufferers, but with great mountainous scenery abound (atop of one sat the (22 year old) giant Buddha) it was almost worth the wait. What was not however was the Disney-esque feel meeting the hoards at the end of the ride. After a quick saunter round we rejoined the 2 hour return queue and headed home. Wishing to rekindle our enthusiasm we took in the bustling hum of the night market and impressive sights of the Star ferry at night. 

Wearily (stopping to stock up on, you guessed it, Weetabix!) we turned in for the night, looking forward to escaping into Vietnam. Still scarred from our previous attempt, we managed to arrive at the airport with a few hours before the Hanoi flight, ready for more adventure.
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Jill Wood on

It looks fantastic xx

Sue Meade on

Hi Amy! Don't forget to contact us if you're coming through Port Macquarie! Would love to see you both. xxx

Katherine Garton on

Ha ha the bit about disinfecting the button made me laugh. i work with a guy who regularly disinfects the door handle to the office and the communal computer's mouse keyboard! I'm having a catch up with your blogs and enjoying it immensely xxx

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