Hong Kong

Hong Kong

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  • Day51

    Tja, irgendwie sind wir in Hongkong gelandet obwohl diese große faszinierende Weltstadt so gar nicht auf unserer Reiseroute stand.
    Wie es dazu kam? Eigentlich wollten meine Eltern und mein Bruder uns in Hanoi besuchen kommen. Leider haben die Vietnamesen einen kleinen Knall was ihre Visabestimmungen anbelangt, denn meine Mutter durfte nicht einreisen, da ihr Reisepass nur 5 1/2 weitere Monate anstatt der vorgegebenen 6 gültig ist. Da meine Familie eine Zwischenlandung in Hongkong vorgesehen hatte warfen wir alle Pläne über Board und trafen uns letztendlich am 13.12. in Hongkong.
    Und wie soll es anders sein, wir sind begeistert von diesem „Staat“ !
    Es gibt wahnsinnig viel zu sehen, die Skyline ist atemberaubend, gerade auch mit den weihnachtlichen Lichtershows, und auch die Vielfalt an Kulturen und Menschen ist einfach großartig.
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  • Day19

    Hong Kong is rather like an old shoe; comfortable, slightly scruffy round the edges and thoroughly welcome at the end of a long day. It has lost nothing in the four years that have passed since our last visit, still resembling New York on speed! We arrived at our hotel in Kowloon mid afternoon and were checked in by a diminutive young lady called 'Pinky'. An enquiry as to Perky's whereabouts would have course fallen on deaf ears and probably just as well, in these politically correct times.
    The weather is warm, (mid seventies) and misty and it is a pleasant change to wander about in short sleeves. Having said that the Chinese are in unrelieved black and autumn sweaters. The queues outside Hermes, Chanel and the like are undiminished from ten in the morning till ten at night, closing time. The appetite for designer labels is seemingly as strong as ever. Interestingly there are markedly more mainland Chinese here than when we were here before, only confirming the looming presence of the Chinese tiger just round the corner with wallets stuffed full of yen.
    We found an old friend in a restaurant close by and retired early to bed only to sleep the clock round to our surprise.
    Our major plan of this short visit was to visit Happy Valley, the racecourse shoe-horned into the centre of Hong Kong Island. Along with our fellow tour compatriots we were guests of the Hong Kong Jockey Club for supper and the racing, alongside an unlimited supply of whatever tipple took your fancy. The only request from 'Joanna' our guide was that we were able to stagger back to the bus at the end of the night, as she would not be able to carry anyone! The racing was competitive and we had an excellent view from the balcony outside. All bets are taken at the equivalent of the tote counter in the room and apart from the odd wander down to the paddock and winners enclosure, you are relieved of your money with the least possible inconvenience. It is all very civilised. A small starter voucher of 30 HKD is provided and after that you are on your own, or as in my case retired to the stables! The company was good and a very convivial evening flew by. The setting of the extremely palatial course is unusual, in that you are surrounded by towering skyscrapers with their twinkling lights, quite unlike anywhere else in the world and it was an occasion to savour.
    Another tick on Peter's bucket list.
    We are moving on today to Australia and I am tapping away to you in the lounge at the airport awaiting our flight to Adelaide, from whence I pen you the next instalment.
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  • Day11

    Well,we are part way there. We got to Heathrow early and spent the time in the No 1 lounge - comfy chair, proseco and food (paid for with a token). Our Cathay Pacific flight left at 8 pm Thursday flown by Captain Jed Wood - no duets with the co-pilot though! Free Champagne offered once in the air - I'm enjoying this flying lark!! New Pirates of the Caribbean film is not bad and Their Finest was great. We are now at Hong Kong Airport for 6 hrs - again we booked a lounge and I am writing at 18.08 pm Friday evening. It is around 32C a little warmer than Hayes maybe?! Sarah's Misfit was really surprised when we arrived -"Great Scott! You travelled forwards in time by 7.0 hrs". We will be heading off to Brisbane on the next leg, again with Cathay around 21.20 pm with a touch down at Cairns. My time clock is completely haywire - might get some sleep on this leg, maybe?!Read more

  • Day9

    So we arrived about 3/4 hr early at HK airport an we walked down the steps and into warm rain, slow bus to the terminal some distance away and we were fed into a very efficient immigration system. Even stopping to fill in an arrival card we were through in 5 mins despite long queues and thus optimistic we would be out and away very shortly. But the bags took ages to come out about 45 mins. Just as we were beginning to twitch they appeared and we scooted to arrivals to find our lift. The poor woman was frantic, apparently she had been phoning to make sure we were still coming to HK. For the first 20 mins in the car what we got apart from welcome to HK was an explanation of how many phone calls she had made ...and on a sunday too. I felt quite guilty, but we had no way of knowing a) that it was excessive (it was still quicker than any baggage arrival at Fumicino) B) how to contact her. Anyway after that we srttled in for a slow drive to our hotel. I hate to say but I didnt catch her name and we won't see her again - we are on our own now. but she gave us subway maps and a map of Kowloon and Central. Much of the traffic was caused by roadworks restricing the roads from Lamma & the airport whilst they build a new Arts and cultural centre. Ms Guide was very scathing - "I dont know why they are building another one, we have one already and we aren't interested in art". Anyhow at about 3:30pm we arrived at the Salisbury.

    The Salisbury is he Kowloon YMCA! but actually it is a good hotel and we got upgraded to a partial harbour view, we even have a bowl of fruit. Also it feels very plush after China, all the hotels were fine but just slightly below par in someway - a patched up bath or grubby corners.

    After we had admired our view we set off in the rain to visit the Hong Kong History Museum. I didn't have enormous expectations but it was excellent, lots of information about Hong Kong's development, it was very good on recent stuff opium wars and early colonialism ...enough to push my guilt buttons ..and reminded me of the scratched pots in the Forbidden City. It also had a whole recreated turn of the 20th C or so street. All in all good and we both enjoyed it. Also it was free (not sure why) - always cheers Dad up.

    After that we went to find money - we needed HK $ now. We found an ATM but it was a Union Pay one (which is the big Chinese ATM system), I didn't have this problem last time I'm sure. Anyway eventually we found an HSBC and could therefore go and get dinner. Beef, pistachios and asparagus for me, prawns and crabmeat in spicy sauce for dad. Plus fried rice and eggplant with minced pork all washed down with copious quantities of tea. We came back via the 7-11 with a beer each for consumption whilst admiring the view.
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  • Day10

    Last night we walked back from the museum area all along the harbour causeway (on the Kowloon side) so we had the spectacular Hong Kong sky line to look at. Then we watched the Symphony of Lights around the harbour. Which wasn't as impressive as I remembered but still fun, and huge crowds of people all around the star ferry area watching it too.

  • Day10

    Slack start this morning so we didn't get up till gone 7:30. A leisurely start then down from North Tower where our room is to the dining room in South Tower. Excellent breakfast and attentive staff who greet you by name. Trying to work out the best use of our time given the weather.. It is very grey and overcast this morning.

    We decided to ride the star ferry to Central and try the peak anyway. So an interesting walk across huge new reclaimed area that didn't exist 12 years ago as along a raised walkway that gave views of skyscrapers and traffic before we arrived at Central.. A quick bob down to buy an octopus card (another sodding no change incident at the star ferry convinced us that what ever yesterday's guide said it was just easier even for 2 days). Round Central is peak shopping country for the wealthy denizens of HK: Gucci, Harvey Nicks etc etc. Then a walk to the peak tram past the Cathedral, a relic of HK's colonial times,. We then walked along Battery Path... Past the missionary headquarters and just below government house... All so colonial.

    Huge queues at the tram but after a short while we realised that if you had an octopus card you could skip the cash desk and go to the gate.. We had to wait for a member of staff to drop the rope but it saved a bit of queueing. Sadly we then ended up with a large noisy party who irritated Dad and who occupied all the decent seats so we were spread up the tram. By the time we got to the top it was intermittently cloudy. Then we saw the enormous queue to go back down stretching for miles. We walked to the viewpoint and took some photos but there were more vocal tourists and by now Dad was very grumpy. So we went for a restorative Starbucks coffee and muffin (well Dad did, I had a cup of tea and a blueberry yogurt). Balance restored we wandered to see if the queue had decreased or whether we should play hunt the bus. Hallelujah the queue was nothing, we got seats on the view side and all was well. The only down side was the lashing rain....
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  • Day10

    So drying out and getting changed seemed to drop us in another time zone... We were aiming to get back out by 4pm and go to Wong Tai Sin Temple (one of my favourites... Full of fortune tellers, people praying, lighting incense and paper objects being ritually burnt. However despite a relatively short MTR ride we did not get there till after it had closed. Pah!
    We decided to head for the Temple Street night market for a bit of tat shopping. But by the time we got there things were frazzling and we needed a restorative starbucks again.
    Fortified we set off again and launched into the melee. Dad wanted another T-shirt and I wanted some bits and pieces. The place was full of Australians who didn't seem to be haggling and I got the impression that the stall holders missed the wrangling.. I was complemented on my haggling skills at a couple of stalls. Lots of hand-shaking and congratulations to Dad on having a good haggling woman with him! Best bargain was a new case... Lily was lovely but she insisted on dragging my bag for me... Sadly the wrong way... And two trips like that and the nylon was starting to hole... So for £20 I got a rather excellent hard-shell case in lime green... No problem spotting that on the luggage return belt.
    We had dinner at the Spicy Crab stall on the edge of the market. Food was good although they seemed to be increasing their income by subtly increasing the bill and then having a failure to understand the tourists. We didn't care, what we had was good and it was a great people watching spot. A very pernickety group arrived on the table next door and didn't stop whining... We need an extra stool (they could have grabbed one themselves, we need the table wiping again... Then when it was wiped they wiped it again with their own stash of tissues...... If you're going to eat at a street food type place you just have to be relaxed about it all... They were the sort of people who give tourists a bad name. We left them whingeing and headed back to the hotel via the 7-11 where we got a beer each, with the intention of taking in the harbour view with a beer once we had sorted the packing.

    Can't add photos from the big camera... Will follow when home...
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  • Day12

    The last time I saw the Buddha it was at the end of an epic ferry/bus ride. Now the MTR has been extended and you hop off that and take a 25 minute cable-car ride. Which is a high and spectacular ride over green hills covered with tropical vegetation. There is obviously a walking trail to the Buddha, far below us we saw a jogger and a strolling couple, which might not seem noteworthy but the path is tiny, remote and you appear to have to leap over a small waterfall at one point.

    As it was late in the day we got a car to ourselves and at one point we were in the clouds. Soon the Buddha could be seen on the horizon. Eventually we clambered out of the car and walked through a hideous overpriced plaza of dubious souvenirs. Bizarrely thus path took the foot traffic past a set of decorative drums mounted on a bridge... Which had sharp instructions not to tap them... Why put drums if you don't want them played..... Once through the plaza we ended up on a path marked by statues of various generals associated with the Chinese horoscope years... Didn't seem very Buddhist to me. The whole thing felt fairly awful, I really liked BB last time relatively quiet, very uncommercial but the village just seemed like another money making scheme.. Wonder if the monks had a hand in it or are fuming? On the upside the cable car must bring more visitors and more donations for them. The other odd thing were the buffalo/cows ambling about on the path to the Buddha... No explanation given. The other thing going on was that ITV / Amazon Prime were filming something there... Can't remember what it was called and we were not allowed to take photos, so chances of me ever seeing it are slim.

    Eventually we came to the bottom of the steps that lead to BB. A total 268 steps up... Slow and steady got us to the top. It is impressive even if it does only date from 1993. A very kind woman we had spoken to earlier decided that Dad and I needed a photo to capture the occasion... She spent an age lining us up. Photo on the big camera though so will try to upload tomorrow. We had a good admire of the Buddha, and a wander about and the we creaked Dad's knees back to the main temple. He took photos I lit some incense that hadn't caught and then we headed back to try to catch the last cable car.

    Huge queues but we got on after a not very long wait and were rewarded with a spectacular sunset. (big camera). The clouds had lifted and we had great views for the whole journey. Once down we ride back to Hong Kong Station to track down the Michelin starred Dim sum that I found on TripAdvisor. We had some trouble finding it... It is tucked away in the station and looks like a fast food place in many ways, but there was a queue for a table. We were lucky and got a table to ourselves... Lots of them were long shared tables and I would have felt embarrassed wielding my chopsticks so publicly. Great food esp the pork stuffed eggplant.. Reluctantly after that we decided that it was more sensible to head to the airport as the time required to get back to the Star Ferry, ride it and get back was just a bit too cosy.

    Smooth ride out, an easy passage through security and into the lounge to await our flight. Now we are at 35000 feet having dinner. The Sky Chef comes and takes your order.. 😀
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  • Day4

    Hello from the coastal city of Xiamen.

    We had a very pleasant day Sunday with Maria’s folks walking around the Olympic Site and visiting the Llama temple. On our previous visit we had stopped only for a quick photo of the birdnest stadium in the rain during a jammed packed tour day so it was nice to see it in more detail. Lots of lovely public art. Also lots of new building happening for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. Poor Maria was done being a translator by the end of the day. Admittedly, it’s very hard to even begin to know people if you can’t communicate. Maria’s Dad had lots of questions about my Mom’s place, and who’s was paying and what she is doing etc. Maria’s Mom has decided that we should move to Beijing because it’s much cheaper to live. She offered me a key to one of their flats. Very generous people indeed. However, in addition to many major reasons for not moving to China, the main day-to-day barriers for me would be a lack of good, affordable coffee and ditto for white wine.

    We left Beijing on Monday morning bright and early. That is everything left Beijing except for my iPad which I left in the security area which was beyond busy. We were checked, ID etc at least 3 Times. Fortunately, a friend of Maria picked it up yesterday on his way through to Vancouver and we’ll recover it there from him. There is security and checks everywhere here and we were reminded by Maria that we must have Passports on us at all times. We don’t normally think about it. The Chinese have ID cards that they use for everything.

    We are in another great hotel here in Xiamen in what seems to be a kind of expat district in this city. Nice lowers profile city and We have a beautiful view across the river to the main city. There is a Starbucks next door where we found decent coffee. Xiamen is a port city across the strait from Taiwan. There are essentially 2 islands- the larger one with the city and the smaller one was a British Treaty Port from 1842to 1912. Today we took the ferry to this smaller, car-free island called Golangyu. We put on lots of miles steps wandering around the island which is now a UNESCO site because of the many old colonial buildings. We visited a lovely small piano museum which had amongst the collection a Chickering piano - the same brand as mine! The island became a unique hub for pianists because of the large number of pianos brought to the area by the Brits. A number of world famous Chinese pianists came from the area.

    We stopped for some interesting take out food. Fried things mostly . We are wary because of some of the crazy things that are on offer but also because of Mike’s allergy to shellfish.
    Much of the food here is as Jon would say- greasy but good. We’ve tried a few unfamiliar things but mostly on the veg side - bitter melons. We had spicy fish head the other night. We left the lips and eyes to Maria who. Is very adventurous when it comes to eating. Tonight we went in search of some weird sea worms.... evidently a local dish. Everything is served family style and people just pick away at things. I’m getting much better with my cop sticks. The smells here are very strong and I have them hard time with them at times. The Duran fruit and the really smelly tofu just knock you over.

    . Today we head inland on the bullet train inland to a place called Wuyishan. On the way we are stopping at another island . Wuyishan is a Chinese resort city in Fujian province's Wuyi Mountains. It's popular for bamboo rafting on the 9-Bend River and viewing the range's 36 peaks, including high points like Great King Peak.
    That’s it for now.
    Love Heather (Mom)
    Fi, hope the trip to the Uk was uneventful.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Hongkong, Hong Kong, ሆንግ ኮንግ, هونغ كونغ, Honk Konq, Гон-Конг, Хонконг, হংকং, ཧོང་ཀོང༌།, Hong Kong S.A.R., Tseina, ཧོང་ཀོང, Hɔng Kɔng nutome, Χονγκ Κονγκ, هنگ‌کنگ, Hong Cong, હોંગ કોંગ, הונג קונג, हाँग काँग, 香港, ჰონგ კონგი, Гонконг (арнайы әкімшілік аймақ), ហុងកុង, ಹಾಂಗ್ ಕಾಂಗ್, 홍콩, ຮ່ອງກົງ, Honkongas, Honkonga, Хонг Конг, ഹോങ് കോങ്, हाँगकाँग, Ħong Kong, ဟောင်ကောင်, हङकङ, ହଂକଂ ବିଶେଷ ପ୍ରଶାସନିକ କ୍ଷେତ୍ର ଚୀନ୍, Regiun d'administraziun speziala da Hongkong, China, Гонконг, හොංකොං, ஹாங்காங், హాంగ్ కాంగ్, ฮ่องกง, Hongi Kongi, Гонконґ, ہانگ کانگ, Hồng Kông, i-Hong Kong

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