Erster Stop in HKOctober 17 in Hong Kong
Wir sind gut in HongKong angekommen!
Wir sind gut in HongKong angekommen!
Monday 24th October
We slept surprisingly well given the beds are very hard. I expected to wake up aching all over, but not so, it was a great night’s sleep only to be woken by Janet ringing half an hour before breakfast to ask about the note by the bed which said if you left it on the bed they won’t change the bed linen -seems rather extravagant to change it every day. Breakfast is a strange arrangement; you get one breakfast voucher per room not per guest so Janet’s is inclusive and for us we have to pay for one breakfast. Never come across that way of doing it before. Still, apart from that the food is good and plentiful so we enjoyed it all and decided we had best set out to buy some clothes in case the cases didn’t turn up. Our hotel directed us to the Causeway Mall which was about a 10 minute walk away. As soon as we stepped outside the hotel the heat and humidity hit us, it was incredible and within a few minutes we were all drenched in sweat. Shops became a refuge and we frequently lurked in the doorways feigning interest in the shops whilst taking full advantage of the blast of cold air from the air-conditioning. The Causeway Mall was a bit of a disappointment as it turned out to be a designer shopping mall, with the exception of good old M&S. Thinking we were bound to find suitable clothes in there, we separated and each went to look. Janet found a top in the sale which was reasonably priced and we met up with Peter outside also carrying an M&S bag. He had bought some socks, pants and a belt, wait for it, for £95!! I had to repeat the price back to him several times and got him to show me the receipt before I would believe it. Even so I couldn’t comprehend him spending such an extortionate amount on a few undies. Under normal circumstances in the UK he wouldn’t dream of spending that much. I asked if he didn’t think it was a bit pricy when he got to the till, and he looked a bit sheepish and said he had thought so but put it down to Hong Kong being an expensive place. Still I’ll remember this when he next says anything about the price of something I want. After several hours exploring various back streets and markets we were beginning to wilt and went into a local café. It was the first one we saw that advertised English Breakfast Tea! Not an opportunity to be missed, the food was delicious and the tea was Twinings, doubly good.
Our hotel has a pool on the roof, the 39th floor, not a big one, but a lovely spot to relax and take in the views of the city and harbour.
Hong Kong is a very busy city, packed with high rise buildings both commercial and residential. There are skinny double decker trams running along all the main roads together with small single decker, battered up buses that are rusty and rather shabby but I imagine are cheap to use as they always seem packed with locals. This evening we got the underground from Tin Hau underground station right opposite our hotel to the Temple night market which was an interesting place to wander around. Peter and Janet had a chinese at a local café and I had a ghastly cup of tea, made with condensed milk and very strong. We asked for glasses of water but instead of refreshing iced water, were brought hot water, we repeated our request but simply got more glasses of hot water. By now our table was filled with glasses of steaming water however, glancing around the café we noticed that everyone else was drinking hot water. Returning to our hotel we were horrified to discover our cases, which had been promised by 18:00 had not arrived and it was now 20:00. Panic started to set in and we asked the concierge to telephone Emirates to chase the missing cases. After a call he assured us they would arrive by 22:00. We sat in the bar and were pleasantly surprised when he came down to us at 21:30 and, showing us a photo on his phone, enquired if these were our cases – they were!! Much relief and smiles all round.
Some pictures of the views from the top our hotel and the pool as well as the trams and the better cup of tea!Read more
Tuesday 25th October
Today we explored the city by train, ferry, tram and foot. It has been an absolutely exhausting day but we have seen so much. All visitors to Hong Kong recommend going to the Peak. This is the tallest point in Hong Kong sitting behind all the high-rise buildings and covered with thick undergrowth and trees. There are roads up it and the intrepid hike up but most ordinary people take the tram. The queue for tickets was 1½ hours, but we finally joined the crowd to board the tram finding ourselves by good fortune 5th from the front. We noticed two French ladies duck into the priority queue lane and move to the front of the queue. They transferred back to our lane and then promptly pulled their husbands and a friend forward, ignoring protests and fierce looks. They boarded and dived into the front seats which afforded the best view. We were all very annoyed at their arrogance and rudeness in pushing to the front of the queue. Alighting from the tram at the top of the peak there were then a further 3 or 4 levels up via escalator. However, it was worth it once we finally got to the pinnacle. The views were tremendous, right over the city across the harbour and beyond. Although it was still very sunny, it was also refreshingly cooler at the top with a gentle breeze blowing. I asked a guy who I thought looked like he knew about photography as he had a large SLR around his neck to take a photo of Pete and I at the top. You can see from the photo that whilst he got us well positioned in the shot he failed to mention that Pete had the tie from his hat hanging over his forehead and his audio guide dangling around his ears. Pete was unimpressed and thinks he looks like a pirate, however I nearly cried with laughter when reviewing the day’s photos back in the hotel. After our photoshoot, we stopped for a cup of tea and a bite to eat at one of the cafes on the peak then made our way back down via the tram.
The aviary in Hong Kong park sounded interesting so we took a very leisurely stroll in that direction. All forms of exercise here are exhausting due to the heat and the high humidity, and we found stairs especially challenging so we were not best pleased to see that in order to get to the aviary there were about 70 stairs to climb. It looked very like the Snowdon Aviary in London Zoo, but on a much much bigger scale, I’m not sure which was built first and who copied who. Visitors walked along a high boardwalk with strategic seating and feeding stations for the over 600 varieties of exotic birds there. Huge mature trees reached skyward, their berries providing a welcome treat for the birds, way down below a large pond and stream was host to some beautiful pheasants and wildfowl. Paraqueets flew round and round screeching loudly whilst cheeky Mynahs, black with golden eyes and a distinctive call bobbed on the branches; we watched one pop into a hole in a tall dead tree where it appeared to be rearing young. Its mate sat on the branch outside keeping watch. The more numerous white Mynahs with bright blue skin around their eyes were quite fearless and walked along the rails next to people cocking their heads and fixing them with a beady stare. Java sparrows darted back and forth, gathering in small groups on the swinging vine roots that hung between the trees below the boardwalk. Such pretty little birds. We spent a long time in the aviary, enjoying relaxing on the seats whilst watching and listening to the birdsong all around.
From Hong Kong Park it was a long walk to the ferry port where we caught a small, old, rusty but very serviceable passenger ferry for the princely sum of $2 about 14p across the harbour. By now evening was fast approaching and we needed to find somewhere to have our meal. As well as being constantly accosted by people trying to get us to go and have a suit made, we seemed to be in the jewellery quarter, top end shops – Tiffany, Cartier, Rolex to name but a few were all around, not much chance of finding a little café here so wearily we turned down some side roads to find the foodie centre. Finally, we chanced upon a road lined with all sorts of eating places. After a filling meal of salmon, risotto, and omelettes between us we were too tired to return to the ferry port so we caught the tube back to our hotel. Just before we descended into the station something caught my eye in the middle of the traffic on the road, it was a guy manoeuvring a load of polystyrene boxes roped together and stacked on a sack trolley, behind him he pulled more polystyrene boxes. It was quite bizarre and like something on UTube. How he didn’t get knocked over or spill all the boxes all over the road is a wonder. The underground in Hong Kong is very like the London underground but much much busier, it was quite incredible really. As one train pulled out of a station so another arrived within a few seconds. Waiting crowds surged forward onto the train and you are carried forward and crammed in. The whole operation is very efficient with no hassle; everyone stands obediently in line waiting their turn. You certainly wouldn’t come to Hong Kong for a quiet relaxing break.Read more
Sunday 23rd October
We are flying the first leg to Hong Kong with Emirates Air on board an Airbus 380, which is a seriously BIG plane with an upstairs as well! Sadly, this is not somewhere we will be venturing. We were slightly delayed whilst the baggage for a missing passenger was offloaded. Janet managed to knock her glass of water over herself, fortunately she had a change of clothes in her hand baggage so went into the loos to change. When she returned she showed us her damp trousers which had a very suspicious brown mark on the bottom. She sniffed it and reassured us it was melted chocolate! Her story was that she had somehow sat on the small square of chocolate that came with the meal and it had melted onto her trousers. A fine story!
We arrived at Hong Kong at 22:00. All was going swimmingly until we got to baggage reclaim. My case appeared, but that was it, Janet’s and Peter’s luggage were nowhere to be seen. There seemed to be a lot of angry passengers who similarly were missing their luggage. After interrogating a local baggage attendant who spoke little English we joined a long queue on the other side of the vast baggage reclaim room where a guy reassured us that this happened all the time on flights from Dubai. They often left a container of luggage behind. He said the luggage would be arriving the following day on the next plane in from Dubai, around 18:00 hours and it would be transferred to our hotel. Our theory is that when they had to offload the luggage for the missing passenger, rather than locating his case and possibly missing their flying window, they simply took off the container which had his luggage in it. We have been told we can claim for replacement clothing from Emirates so will go shopping tomorrow.
Fortunately our taxi transfer was still waiting for us in arrivals and we were transported to our hotel overlooking the bay. Peter popped into the Circle K corner shop over the road and got some milk and we are now sat in bed, showered and relaxing with a nice cuppa at 2am.Read more
You might also know this place by the following names:
Tai Hang, 大坑