As part of the pre-trip negotiations, I guaranteed Harrison that we would do something fun every day. The implicit understanding was that this would be kid-fun. Day 1 of Hong Kong barely met this agreement, so Hong Kong Day 2 was ...
... Ocean Park, Hong Kong's amusement park. Ahhh ... it was fine ... the kid's had fun ... the food was gourmet quality ... the rides were awesome .... we saw live pandas. We took a double-decker bus back and forth. The only notable difference between North American and Chinese amusement parks is that it was possible to eat either McDonald's OR a Madras curry before braving the next roller coaster. Not much more to say ...
At the best of times, amusement parks are exhausting for parents, so mid-afternoon when we were done with Ocean Park, we decided again to head back to the hotel to rest prior to heading to the Happy Valley Racecourse for the Wednesday Night Extravaganza. We picked up some Husband and Wife cakes from a Chinese bakery at the corner of the street next to our hotel. Guess which one was better? Everyone's favorite including mine was the Wife cake.
Having slept through Tuesday night, we ... again slept through the whole thing. I woke up at 9:30pm, way too late to head to the races. Apart from Harrison, everyone else was too sleepy to move.
|Temple Street Night Market|
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Hong Kong Day 3 was all about altitude. We decided to hit some of the sights even though it was winter in Hong Kong - cold and wet!
In the morning, we headed off to the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island at the end of one of Hong Kong's subway lines.
|Cassandra (with purple sparkly shoes) on Hong Kong's immaculate MTR|
We got up to the top to a (probably recreated for tourists) remote alpine Chinese village. It was freezing and foggy, so we headed directly to the Starbucks to get warm.
|Gigantic Buddha sitting on his lotus leaf plinth|
|Trish and the kids on the steps up to the Po Lin Monastery|
|Do we look cold? Harrison took this shot.|
After going back down the gondola, we headed back into central Hong Kong. We had lunch just off Statue Square and then walked to the base of the Peak tram. Throughout all of our travels in Hong Kong, this was the only time we ever had to wait in a queue and even at that it was only for about 20 minutes.
|Going up the Peak Tram|
We inexplicably spent $300 HKD ($40 Can) on about 2kg of candy to keep us company on the ride down. We thought about doing some shopping at the Landmark and the Prince's building, two of the malls around Statue Square, but it was WAY too bling for our budget.
Friday, January 7, 2011
On our last day in Hong Kong, we decided to walk around some of the Kowloon markets. We only had the morning and afternoon as our flight to Auckland was leaving at 19:15. While Hong Kong Island is a noticeable mixture of Chinese, white, Indian and other faces, as we headed deeper and deeper into Kowloon, there were less and less white faces mixed among the Chinese.
We followed Nathan Road through Mong Kok and Prince Edward districts. The first market we came to was the Goldfish Market on Tung Choi Street.
|A whole street of aquariums and fish in bags hung on racks|
Next, we walked through the flower market along Flower Market Road. I loved all the orchids, although the miniature clementine trees were cool as well.
|Tons of Orchids|
|Miniature Clementine Trees|
At the end of Flower Market Road is a stairway up to the Bird Market along Yuen Po Street. There wasn't much to see, but the sounds of 1000s of birds in tiny cages was almost deafening.
Finally, we headed back to our hotel through the Ladies Market along a lower section of Tung Choi Street.
As I mentioned last post, we loved Hong Kong. It is an interesting unique city and we had the persistent observation that Hong Kong is very well run. I could have easily spent another week combing through the New Territories. From the amazing transit system to the helpful bilingual staff everywhere to the efficient on-time airport, the Chinese do a very enviable job at running this amazing city. We had expected more of a Chinese Manhattan. We were wrong.
The next leg of our journey was about to begin. We flew to Auckland on Air New Zealand, a stretch limousine of an airline compared to Continental.
When we landed, the weather was beautiful and we had to contend with exiting tourist mode and setting up our new life in New Zealand.