Friday was a little stressful to say the least. I went into work and was going at it full speed to get everything done before going away. Thought I was winning and then got asked to help with some urgent coding but got everything done just about.
Left the house at 6pm and put myself in the hands of British public transport. The bus was late. The train was late. The second train was waiting for a platform to become available (so basically late)
Got to the airport at 8 for 930 flight. Breathe. Stuck my passport in the machine – sorry we can’t process your ticket. About ready to meltdown now but a helpful guy sorted me out. Problem is flying with virgin but ticket is air new Zealand. Sorted out but flight boarding soon. Got to the gate and told go straight on the plane. Thought this plane seems very empty. Plenty of time in fact and we were actually delayed waiting for someone
Had requested an aisle seat and got one – opposite the toilet. No-one can say I don’t travel in style! Still got to ponder the great questions of life like why is that woman going in the toilet wearing a onesie – with rabbit ears?
Arrived at Hong Kong and got the metro to my hotel. Was advised to get the metro to Kowloon and get the free shuttle bus. On the metro was a TV with a story about Chinese internet censorship. Shows hk is still reasonably independent even if Chinese now.
The express shuttle bus was neither express nor a shuttle but was at least a bus. Left the station and was immediately gridlocked. Was left thinking if this is what the traffic is like at 630 on a Saturday what is it like at rush hour? So after an hour got to my hotel all the while thinking I could have walked this quicker.
Still got a chance to see a little of Hong Kong. First impression was one of concrete. Buildings were tall or taller. Massive elevated highways snaking around or through the buildings. This place could be Manhattan but in Asia. And Sinatra could have easily sung his famous song about this city instead.
Hotel was nice. Had a shower and then went for a wander up Nathan Road. Still busy and bustling even in the evenings. Looked for somewhere to eat but could only find one place with an English menu and that was rammed so err went to McDonald’s. Had a slight currency mishap where tried to spend £36 on my happy meal.
Went back to the hotel and up to the rooftop swimming pool. Lay back and looked up at the full moon while gently paddling . Very nice.
Couldn’t sleep for ages then managed to oversleep and was woken by the cleaner.
Went and got the metro to Hong Kong central. The metro was busy. Unlike the underground it doesn’t have carriages just one big train so could see a long sea of heads in both directions. Left the metro and walked up Garden Road to the Peak Tram. Had to queue as many others had the same idea. The tram was slightly hairy as on a 48 degree angle in places. Thought that at the top might be a traditional Chinese pagoda and tea room. Instead walked into a gift shop with particularly shiny tat and then out into a shopping mall with Ye Olde Tie Rack etc.
Managed to find my way out and there was actual a nice 2k walk around the Peak. The governor’s summer residence is on the Peak. According to traditional feng shui the governor’s house was situated in a perfect location and this has led to the success of Hong Kong. On the top of the mall is a sky terrace with great views north over central Hong Kong, Victoria harbour and kowloon. They had an audio headset that described it as a forest of skyscrapers and this is very apt. Due to the lack of room Hong Kong is supposed to have more skyscrapers than New York.
Back down the tram and then went to Hong Kong park. Very green and relaxed. Lots of families and students in their graduation robes. Went in the conservatory which had desert and jungle plants. Then into the aviary which had friendly birds but hard to spot what types they were. Think one was a Bali Myner. Lots of warnings about touching birds due to worries about bird flu.
Then decided to go down to the water. This was quite tricky as there are not many road crossings. Instead I had to take various sky bridges which criss cross their way through buildings so quite hard to work out where I needed to go. Saw several families having picnics on the sky bridges which was a bit bizarre – perhaps they are banned in the park. Eventually I did manage to make it to the harbour area which was quite a bit quieter. I went along to the piers and got a ferry to Tai Sha Tsui on the other side of the harbour. I had to keep checking my maths as the ferry crossing was very very cheap at only 30p. I thought to myself I know that there is competition with the metro and that the ferry itself is only 10 minutes long but you would struggle to get a peddalo on exmouth boating lake for that! Back to the hotel.