Hong Kong (Part 1)
05/05/2010 - 15/05/2010 30 °C
Well, to answer the most important question from the Wuhan blog; YES! There IS toilet paper (and hand wash) in the bathrooms so i feel like i am being spoilt here compared to China! (Jon has it so lucky being a BOY!). We are coping using the HK $ but not used to the London price tags... We are loving HK as I am sure you all would hence why there has been a delay in blogging (sorry avid fans!), so to make up this will be a long one Also make sure you check out the photos we have uploaded too...
Hong Kong Boarder
Crossing over the border (spelt right this time mum ;p ) from China was one of the smoothest, quickest transfers we have had, not just during this journey, but i think i can safely say "in our lives!". It took all of 10mins to go from Shenzen, China to Sheung Shui, Hong Kong. Then we got the MTR (Tube equivalent) to "Central" in Hong Kong Island (called so because it is -rather appropriately- in the centre of the business district (where the $$$'s are made!) and got a taxi up to our luxury accommodation; we stayed with a friend of the family (Thanks Anthony) who's apartment was "A"mazing!
Mid-Levels and The Escalator
The apartment has 3 bedrooms, was on the 12th floor of a skyscraper in the "Mid-Levels" district (V posh - I wonder what they thought when RoJo turned up, backpacks n all!!). And the best bit - there is an escalator that runs from the bottom of Central (near the tube station) right the way up the hill to Mid-Levels district, which was suitably (not to mention convenient) used by us!!! It goes 'down' in the morning (so ppl can go to work quickly without sweating from walking down the million steps - i've counted them, and there ARE a million! - that run alongside the escalator) until 10.00am and then it changes to go 'up' until Midnight which is rather handy when you're a little tipsy (our new word for drunk) from the beer tasting (we HAD tooo!).
A Close Shave
Now as you all know (if you have tracked our progress and looked at our photos) a strange growth was forming on Jono's face - something i believe to be called a 'beard'! Some of you protested to such a thing in your emails and comments to us, and whilst it provided a shelter from the bitter siberian cold and also acted as a home to some of the delicious delights of Chinese cooking, Jono (finally) decided to have a shave!!!
A newly sheared Jono (who's face was now as smooth as a baby's botty) and a happy Rosie (for the toilet paper, not the beard shaving) took a (sweaty - HK makes you very sweaty!) stroll around (in the HUMID) Botanical Gardens. We saw Monkeys, Lamas, Orangutans, a huge tortoise and lots of birds... as well as joggers, speed walkers and other crazy sport people moving quickly through the gardens for exercise. So we sat and watched them whilst having an ice cream and beer! hee hee
Hong Kong Levels
It takes a while to figure out how to get anywhere because HK has so many different levels. There is 'street' level (as you might assume; it can be seen from the street), 'ground' level (can be seen on the ground) and 'skyscraper' level (look up). There is also 'below you' level (look down)! So It all seems like a childhood rhyme "Look up, Look down, your pants are falling down! Which of course they weren't, but it still makes you feel like you're having a sensory overload walking down a HK street - too much to look at!
Star Ferry & The Symphony of Lights
Its a ferry for the Stars, so naturally Jon and I got free transport across. Not really, but it would have been nice! A ride costs $2 for the lower deck and $3 for the top deck (20p or 30p) and as you walk up the (moving) gangway you can pick your seats and direct of travel by moving the seat's back, either right or left. You get great views of the skyline as you leave HK Island and head towards Kowloon (mainland peninsular) something that is made a spectacle of in the "Symphony of Lights". This is an automatic digital light show - some of the skyscrapers have multi-coloured lights on their outside, and they all participate in the 'show' by tuning these lights to music. However it wasn't as good as we had anticipated having been to Xi'an first and seeing the water show (which was synchronised to music too)...but it was still enjoyable to watch!
The Peak is The place to go to see a glorious view of HK and its scrapers but you need good weather to get this, and of course, HK being an island the weather is always changeable but mainly misty at the top (its near the clouds you know?)! We got The Peak Tram up (took approx 8 mins) and saw the mist, got drizzled on so had to buy ponchos and walked down (a bit steep in places) looking like sweaty ghosts (the ponchos were rather large) ... sorry no photos!
Trams and Causeway Bay
We got a tram (get on at the back and off at the front, pay on exit) and sat at the top front to see HK at night - lots of neon lights, people and traffic- to Causeway Bay. We were expecting a scenic Bay with sea front restaurants n great seafood (imagine Spain at night) but got an urban bustling sector of streets all hiding their restaurants up the skyscrapers where the only way to find them is by noticing a neon sign (amongst lots of other neon signs) and trying to locate where its entrance was. After chatting about going for seafood, we ended up in a rather posh restaurant having Goose and other various delights that were non-seafood!
Happy Valley Racecourse
The Races! How exciting!
We arrived at about 7pm and upon entry signed up to a (free) guided tour which included; How to bet, where to bet, where McDonalds was (we were told, we didn't ask!) and last but by no means least, where the beer was! So a beer jug later we were stood by the side of the racecourse (at the front) and the betting commenced. Having missed the first race due to our (detailed) guided tour we splurged out and placed a bet on two horses - $10 each to place (1/2/3rd), both of whom finished 11th/12th out of 12!!! :S not the best of starts! We mainly went by name (no RoJo insight unfortunately) and managed to loose a lot more (don't worry mum, this is in the region of $200 which is twenty quid), but we recouped $16 (1 pound 60) in the last 2 races... woo!
....part 2 to follow!