Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Trip Start Dec 19, 2011
Trip End Jan 24, 2012

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Flag of China  , Victoria,
Monday, January 23, 2012

Today is Chinese New Year and this is the greeting Sam learned from the front of the newspaper the other day.  We arrived to an abundance of vases filled with chrysanthemums and dahlias in all colours in addition to decorated cumquat trees everywhere.  The fruit of prosperity and good health and luck!  Hong Kong is a really interesting place to visit where order, cleanliness, red lanterns and much crystal and bling abounds.  There still remains a few architectural reminders of the British heyday otherwise mostly Fung Shui designed looming towers with wind tunnels left void in the middle of skyscrapers for 'the dragon'' to have easy access to descend from the peaks to the sea.  Incidentally 2012 is the year of the dragon and this is believed to be especially lucky so they are expecting many births this year.

In keeping with the spirit of the season McDonalds have joined in the festivities and are running 'the Prosperity Burger' to help everyone enjoy prosperity for 2012. If anything they are assured of such tidings themselves as a result of their timely gesture no less!

Speaking of luck, it's fortunate that it is raining today and most businesses are closed as the exhaustion is really taking it's toll. It was quite difficult rousing anyone from sleep to eat some breakfast today, in particular Guy. He drowsily elected to keep sleeping rather than eat. His batteries, I fear are nearly flat.

Saturday morning I woke at 1.30am, a victim of the dreaded Jet Lag again followed by Jess, Guy and Peter with Sam remaining awake in bed reading newspapers in an effort to get up to speed with political and social affairs of this country. We walked the streets trying to glimpse the city pre hustle and bustle at 4am along with the garbage run and the smells that accompany this early morning activity.

After an insanely early breakfast we set off down Nathan Road, the main strip for Kowloon shopping. Guy had saved most of his Christmas money for this day and was searching for Vans shoes in particular, which he was assured were at least half the price of Australian stock. Only 30 mins along a road which I'm sure ran the length of the entire island disillusionment was setting in. The shops had gone from tourist strip high end products to overpriced goods of no interest to youth with hawkers and spruikers at every step. As I had assured him that all he ever dreamed up would be found here I needed to do something and fast. Feet were already we're rather flat and fatiguing.

At last, a sports shoe store and some heavily discounted shoes for Jess as part of a mercy mission. The sole of his Globe HiTops was falling off. Phew! With a little help from the young English speaking sales assistant and a scrap of paper with Chinese characters scribbled on saying "Kim Wah Centre" we were on our way. Our instructions were walk 20mins then show it to someone and get further directions. This was our very own version of "The Amazing Race". It worked in the end and found ourselves inside a tiny little 4 storey building with even TINIER shops and teens swarming the corridors. We found 'teen Mecca'.

Not one but 2 shops here dedicated to Vans shoes only. Some 45mins and 4 pairs later we were off. Kids were beaming having not blown their budgets at $43 per pair with designs seen elsewhere for double or more. The very happy and friendly shopkeeper (wonder why?) obliged us with directions to lunch locally, an Esprit factory outlet etc etc. Easy!

The scene outside was something of a cultural immersion. We were in Mong Kok by now. Very few tourists and swarms of youth. There was one particular intersection of the mall which bottlenecked in a heaving mass of slow moving, calm strolling crowds of people. Almost a standstill but moving ever so slightly. We had to enter this melee on several occasions to reach the other side for whatever reason. Really needed those kids restraints of the sixties that wrap around like a greyhound harness just to stay connected. Some might say "you must be bonkers to be in Honkers" but it was exhilarating!!! Surprisingly people were calm and polite and not at all bothered by the lack of personal space or room to move, look and browse . We entered the ladies market for just a few stalls then it was collapsing time. Whisked off in a cab we arrived back swiftly and all for the grand fare of $3.00. Dirt cheap.

Yesterday was really cold at 12deg with a wind chill factor attached. Across on the Star Ferry to Central and a gorgeous cab ride to Stanley Market. This drive included a coast hugging drive around the island overlooking spectacular cliff views and sweeping water vistas. Picked up some silk PJ's for a fraction of the price at home and off to the peak, down via the incredibly steep cable car and arriving home again, spent! (pardon the pun!).

Here we are with the journey all but over. Thrilled with the experiences, treasuring the memories forever but so excited to return home to Australia, our family, friends and work. There truly is no place like home.

One more plane ride! Xxxxx
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