Harbour lights and more food frights
Trip Start Oct 21, 2006
115Trip End Mar 21, 2008
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We take things pretty slow today as it's hard to keep up the energy required for a full day's sightseeing every day. We feel a little guilty for not doing more on our only full day here but Hong Kong was never all that high on our list of destinations, the weather is crap today and it's so damned crowded out there that staying inside sounds like a nice option.
Around lunch time we get moving, motivated by hunger - our aborted meal last night hadn't filled us up but at least it hasn't provided us with any unwanted side effects - yet. A bit more searching brings us to another nice-looking place on the third floor of an office building - menus, waiters in uniform, metal cutlery, etc - so we tentatively sit down. Wishing to be a bit more conservative this time we go for pork & rice and chicken wings with noodles. Not good, again. Less said the better.
Hong Kong appears to have two sides - the upmarket, suit & tie, high-finance wheelers & dealers in the enormous skyscrapers, half of whom are white ex-pats; and the side alley, smelly, ragged men and women peddling dollar store crap to try and feed their families so they don't have to stir-fry Whiskers the family cat. It is this second half that we visit first, on a market street appropriately nicknamed 'Cat Street'. Here you can buy all manner of junk but it is most known for its antiques and kitschy communist paraphernalia. Copies of Mao Zedong's 'Little Red Book', posters of Soviet slogans, Mao statuettes and so on are everywhere. I buy a cool watch that has a picture of Chairman Mao on it and his hand waves non-stop - brilliant!
The one thing we specifically did want to do in Hong Kong was see the harbour at night, so we meander our way through the rush hour downtown pedestrian walkways to the Central Plaza Building. The word is that you can get a great view of the harbour from the 46th floor. However, having walked everywhere to find this building and gotten up to the 46th floor, we discover that you can't see a bloody thing because the windows just reflect the light from inside. If you press your face against the glass you can see a bit but then photos don't come out very well. By this time it is 7.45 and the nightly light show starts at 8pm. We go back down to street level and aim for a dock-type area we had spotted from the building. At 8 sharp, music begins to play on loudspeakers and all the skyscrapers, on both sides of the harbour, start to light up. Some have sparkly lights, some have big colourful signs, some flash to the music, some just stay as they are, but the overall effect is awesome and romantic. The show is an initiative from the Hong Kong Tourism Board, in conjunction with the participating buildings, and makes an already beautiful harbour even more spectacular, for about 15 minutes.
On the food front, we admit partial defeat after the two entirely unsatisfying Chinese meals and go to Yoshinoya, a Japanese chain that we had good experiences with in Japan. Mmmm, Japanese.