Sunday, April 28, 2013

Happy in Hong Kong - Day 2

OK. I'm not happy. I'd finished this post (after delays of about a week) and Blogger wouldn't save it or publish it. I should have, at that point, copied and pasted (and apparently bought a Mac), but I didn't. So here I am again trying to remember all my witty words....

Why the delays? Oh you know, house flooding when we got 230mm of rain overnight:

Our garage had at least an inch of water sweep through it

And our office/Video Boy's room got wet carpet (again).

I'll admit to going online and seeing what real estate we could buy if we sold this piece-of-#%$& house and started again...Cleaning up the above mess sent me into a spiral that set off another migraine. Our tax is (over) due, I have to reconcile about 3 months of bank accounts in MYOB, I've been out to work to pay for my new house, oh and I've been homeschooling our kids so they don't turn into illiterate/innumerate ingrates!

But I want to get out this post and finish off Hong Kong! So here goes nothing (may the Blogger gods be kind to me!).

Day two in Hong Kong dawned much like the first - foggy and misty. Fellow cruisers reported not being able to see a thing (a white out) at the Peak yesterday. We did have a mooring-mate at Junk Bay overnight - the Sea Princess, whom we sailed to New Zealand on! It looked a bit small in comparison to our Diamond Princess behemoth, but we have fond memories of her.

One of the biggest impressions Asia left on me is the number of people who live in high-rises. They hang their washing out the windows to dry in the dust and smog, whilst living in a shoe-box. It makes me feel very lucky to have won the birthplace lottery and ended up in Australia on my 1000 square metres (even if it does leak).

Oh and we learnt our lesson from the day before - we carried jumpers and raincoats with us!!! 

The sun-gods were smiling though, because as we caught the tender over to Hong Kong island, the clouds burnt off and we were left with sparkling sunshine and we could at last see the tops of the high rises and the Peak!

And so a quick change of plans meant we hopped back on that Big Bus and went to the Peak tram station...along with hundreds of other tourists who had the same idea! Luckily our Big Bus tickets included tram tickets, so we avoided the ticket queue that went around the block and just got on the queue to get on the tram.

The Peak Tram is much like the Scenic Railway back home in the Blue Mountains or the Wellington Cable Car in New Zealand - really, really steep climb! You can see why they built it - it would have been a killer of a walk! Back in the day, they used to get some poor sucker to cart tourists up in rickshaws! They would have been supremely fit.

The view from the top was quite spectacular - apparently it is getting quite rare to have a clear day, so we lucked in! I'm sure there is a bit of pollution involved, but just looking out over such a spectacular skyline was an experience:

No fear...

Some of the most expensive real estate in Hong Kong (and therefore the world)

Everywhere in Asia comes with a built-in shopping opportunity. They have totally embraced consumerism! You have to run the gauntlet in many situations, but we did stop occasionally and pick up and item or two - we got a beautiful teapot set here and Panda Girl got a great Swatch watch.

After grabbing a bite to eat, we rejoined the queue to head back down:

When we got down the bottom, we waited a while to get back on the Big Bus, and then decided to live on the edge and catch a cab...except there weren't any. So, after having a look at the map (you are never really sure just how far the distances are) we decided to walk back down the wharf area, and surprisingly, it was a pleasant walk through parks and mostly downhill.

We spotted bottlebrushes (Australian natives) which made us feel homesick!

Beautiful open spaces, where you felt like you could breath again.

There are large bits of Hong Kong's shopping area where you can't actually walk at ground level, because there are no footpaths - they only have these crazy elevated pedestrian walkways, where no-one stays to the left or to the right and you just have to go for it! We managed not to lose the kids :-)

There is a lot of construction going on down in the wharf/waterfront precinct - it would be interesting to go back in a few years time and see what they've done with the place! More shopping, no doubt!

Old meets new - ferries, sampans and highrises

We managed to find where we should have eaten the night before - the ferry terminals had great food! No English at all, just point and hold up fingers to say how many (beware though - two can mean two lots of three or four!!). All dirt cheap and totally yummy!

A pleasant tender ride back to the ship, so we didn't miss it. Apparently, if you are not on a tour and don't get back in time, they don't wait for you. We did hear later, apparently, that there were some people left behind in Hong Kong. As if you'd be late...

Once back on board, we actually were about an hour late in departing as we had to wait for the authorities to clear us to leave. As we sat with our engines keeping us in one spot, the sea mist rolled back in. But finally we were cleared to leave, waving a Hong Kong that was in there somewhere goodbye as we headed out for another day at sea before our next port of call, Taiwan!


  1. Hi i only recently discovered your blog and have enjoyed reading about your travels in Hong kong....we are heading over there for 10 days in June and are very excited! Taking the kids this time so its been great seeing all your photos. Did your kids enjoy it? Any good travel tips? Thanks!

    1. Hi Zoe! Welcome aboard! My first tip would be not to try to do Hong Kong in 2 days - but you've got 10, so you are ahead of the game! The kids did enjoy it - Ocean Park was a huge highlight of the trip for them - you could easily spend a full day (or two even), rather than just a couple of hours. Pack a jumper and raincoat (even if it's warm) and feed your children regularly - we had tears when hunger and tiredness combined. And go with a sense of adventure, especially with the food! It is yum on a stick!

    2. Thanks for the great tips :)

  2. You are so brave! I would be extremely intimidated to visit Hong Kong, especially with kids. It seems SO very crowded and claustrophobic. I does look like an amazing city, though, and so different from what you are used to. It must have been incredibly educational.

    When I see I pics of your girlie, I wonder if she knows how to knit? Seems like someone who loves hats so much would be a good candidate for becoming a knitter. I love making hats. They are quick and addictive!

    1. I will admit to a little moment of trepidation, and I certainly did a lot of head-counting and "come back", "stay close!". But it was OK - you get used to it pretty quickly. I would never live there, but it was fun to visit.

      And yes - very educational (I have to say that).

      She doesn't know how to knit. I can do the two basic stitches, but my Mum and Hubby's Mum are GREAT knitters. She needs to spend some time with them. I actually bought my Mum a pattern book for hats for Christmas to knit for my girl (I'm thoughtful that way).

  3. Like the new look Ingrid! Loving the look of Hong Kong, one place I've never been. I wonder if we can slide it into our itinerary, we'll certainly be doing China again, Beijing, the pandas and the warriors, but HK may be a bit pricey.

    1. Time for a little refresh. We didn't have to book accommodation as we brought our own. You could do the rest of HK on a budget though, I reckon. Just stay out of Cartier (not too hard).

  4. Is it just me, or did someone just get a new pseudonym and I missed it?

    Love the new matching t-shirt for Panda Girl too!

    1. By the way.... +1 for the new look!!

    2. I think she needs a new pseudonym at least for the duration of the trip - and how cool is the shirt? And I'm quite pleased with the new look too :-)

  5. Ahem. Did you say it was not hard to stay out of Cartier? Are you sure about that?

    1. There's nothing I could afford in there! Too depressing!

  6. I am enjoying your photos. Of course it makes me miss home but not sure which one Taipei or Hong Kong.


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