Hong Koming – Only a Minor Sidetrip

A mere two days after we’d returned from Guangzhou, with just enough time for me to procrastinate packing, and for Lucy to retrieve her passport from TeachTEFLInChina, we set off for her final adventure; three days in Hong Kong. After the success of arriving in Guangzhou late at night, we were doing the same for Hong Kong, and it worked well. Arriving in the middle of the day had caused us to take an hour at least to get through immigrations; this time it was hardly longer than twenty minutes.

Our first day, we headed to Ocean Park, which was an aquarium, theme park, and safari park all rolled into one. I somehow managed to get zero pictures of the rides (including upside-down ones – something that was lacking at Disneyland Hong Kong) I did get many of the animals, so here’s a dump of them.

The park was split in two, on either side of a mountain, connected by a train that went through the mountain, or a cable car that went over. We obviously opted for the cable car, and I realised that I was no longer as saccharine about floating over a hill as I once was, although I did fairly quickly manage to relax, my heart rate didn’t come to its resting rate until I was on an awesome rollercoaster.

Because it was a Friday, Ocean Park was actually pretty quiet, compared to everywhere else we’ve been and we thought it was because it was a Friday, but it was a pretty common theme for the whole weekend. Its possible that due to the weeks of protests beforehand, there were fewer tourists in general, or we were just lucky in the places we went.

Ocean Park took up the entirety of that first day, and, like Chimelong in Guangzhou, we didn’t get to see it all. At least we didn’t get rained on this time, except for on the water ride when we both got pretty drenched.

Once again I was limping, however as my blister had migrated from the heel of my foot to the side of the heel and was developing into a blood blister. Because of my fun feet fatalities (at least, that’s what it felt like), we headed back to Mongkok, the shopping capital of Hong Kong, and quite by coincidence, our home for the week. We wanted to go to a Chinese food place, since Lucy would only have sup-par takeaways when she got home, but we managed to find a Japanese food place instead, and it was actually one of the best meals we’d had in a while, despite our successful foraging at Mark’s and Spencer for lunch.

Day Two we started out by going to the Sky Tower, which you can only access by tram, which while currently undergoing upgrades, looks very old fashioned, and I managed to only get some pictures on my phone, which at the time of publishing was not cooperating, so sorry about that. But the pictures from the tower are across the commercial sector of Hong Kong and the shopping district as well.

Next up we wandered around a church like wot you see in Europe before making a late-in-the-day decision to head to Ngong Ping, aka, Giant Buddha, accessible only by cable car. Lucy and I thought, as the ride drew to a close, that we were supposed to have just taken our seats and any photos should have been taken from those seats, but because we were the only two in the Gondola, we wandered around as we saw fit to take the pictures we wanted, including far off photos of the giant Buddha.

Although we managed to sneak our way up to the Buddha after it had officially closed, we were not so lucky at the next-door temple, and so we got a closed-door photo of it. But otherwise, it was also an interesting trip.

Because we had tiny appetites and had shared a pizza to the point that we both felt like we were about to burst, we weren’t particularly hungry for dinner so we just at raspberries and called it a day, although I did find my favourite foreign cider in the world (Somersby) and then had an adventure trying to open the bottle without a bottle opener. After a fateful failure in India, I did not use my teeth, but instead spent ten minutes with my flat keys prying it open. It was as good as I remembered, and just what I needed.

Our third day in Hong Kong dawned slowly for us, the same as the previous days, and for once, this was not the ideal, as the fish market that we had wanted to see in Aberdeen only ran in the morning, so by the time we got there, it had already finished for the day. However, a nice old lady coerced us into a boat ride on her son’s boat, and then proceeded to tell me in great detail about every single one of her three hundred (or thereabouts as it felt) children. Her son, during the tour was fascinated with telling us the prices of everything that we could see from the boat, including flat prices per month, how much the fancy yachts cost, and the price of a plot of land at an overcrowded cemetery. However, without any tutelage, he was able to work my camera better than I can.

After yet another supposed-to-be-Chinese-but-ended-up-Japanese meal we ended up at the Avenue of Stars, which I’m sure is fascinating for Chinese and Hong Kong-ian people, due to them all being stars of the Chinese silver-screen, but held little interest for me, as I barely knew any of them.

However, seeing the Sky Tower from the other side, so to speak was interesting and I was happy enough to sit there and watch the sunset, seeing how the colours of the river/water change, and the lights come on, on the “traditional” boats (the sails were for decoration and tourists; they were actually powered by motors).

And then Lucy was leaving and I had twenty-four hours left in Hong Kong during which I did nothing before I came home for my European leg of this crazy year of adventure.

For those who are concerned, despite the fact that this was the first weekend that the protests in Hong Kong expanded to the airport and started to become violent, we saw literally nothing save one sticker about it, and one MTR line had a live news feed. But at no time were we near any of it, and we saw nothing in regards to it, which in my opinion, was the best thing we could have hoped for.

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