Friday, January 18, 2008

Last Day in Hong Kong and home!


We had great intentions to go to early morning Tai Chi class, but alas we woke up leisurely this morning at 9 after a good rest. It was needed. This trip has been so exciting and demanding we just needed a day to coast. Early morning breakfast in the hotel was a chicken congee, dim sum and steamed pork bun, all of excellent quality. This time we explored some different neighbourhoods, had soup and sushi and then got ready to leave.

We arranged the airport express and enjoyed the drive to the airport. New and situated in the hilly west end surrounded by more huge skyscraping condos, it is an amazing city of contrasts: old and new are merged together in a yin yang kind of harmony.

The new airport is stunning. The architecture is modern and light filled. Even on a dull day it is bathed in outside light. Surprisingly it is QUIET! In the main halls there are no flight announcements. There is a variety of very nice restaurants both western and Chinese. Lots of shops to browse.
Going home from this amazing trip, we need a vacation LOL!
thanks for joining us
Rick and Linda


Hong Kong Day 2






Last night we wandered around downtown Hong Kong. Our hotel is right in the middle of Times Square, yep, that's the name of it. A huge building with 12 floors of high end shopping, restaurants etc. That got tired pretty quickly and we started exploring the streets. Lots of small eateries, restaurants and shops and marketplaces in the streets. Above these is at least 3 levels of retail. We are used to street level, but here there's more. Tons of young adults wandering meeting friends, and shopping. Did I mention shopping?
To give you an idea of what it's like here, imagine St. James Town Housing in Toronto. Now imagine it two and sometimes 3 times as tall. Now imagine it everywhere all over Hong Kong! Some condos were 60 floors high! Even at that height people hang out their laundry to dry. The city is concrete everywhere and surprisingly clean for that many people. When you drive out to the airport or to Stanley Market it gets more mountainous and green. But when you are in the city there is very little greenery or plantings. We found a place with bbq pork hanging in the window. A local type restaurant. We ordered one order of bbq pork with rice and greens. It was enough for an appetizer for 2. They were very nice and found one person who spoke English and made sure we ordered the right thing. Later we got a bit hungry so we found a Japanese restaurant with interesting food. We had grilled eel (best I have ever had) and pumpkin tempura (which turned out to be acorn squash bits done in a light tempura batter ) amazing combination of crispy/salty and creamy sweet. Then we had a fried rice with eel that had veggies and a saucy consistency. We walked about a bit more till we got tired and then went to sleep.

Today we planned to go to Stanley Market. We somehow found the mini public transit 40 bus that took us on a wild ride to the far east side of Hong Kong. It felt more like a high speed chase scene in a Jackie Chan movie. The driver was talking on his cell phone and laughing hysterically the whole trip, while driving so fast we were flying off the seat. He was having this animated conversation; with someone (we hope). We were sorry we had picked the front row. No wonder it was empty!

Even through the foggy weather, the beauty of the area began to emerge. Mountains sprung up all around, beautiful huge sculptured condos dotted the landscape. Finally we arrived, to a small village area winding down to the pretty port. Stalls of souvenirs where we did our final shopping were great bargains. We had a ball looking around and walked along the promenade that led from the village to the 3 floor mall.

Inside the mall we checked out the supermarket. It was not unlike Whole Foods. Even the fish department didn't smell like fish. (which is weird because even at Loblaws it does) We quickly came to the conclusion that this mall was for white rich residents. Surrounded by very expensive condos, it felt like any suburban mall. Back to the fun at the Market and lunch in another Japanese restaurant. (I guess we had our fill of Chinese food on the cruise.) We had this amazing comfort food. Ginger rice. It was so tasty. I asked the waiter for the ingredients. Ginger, garlic and egg yolks. Have to try that at home, it was so nice.

The ride home was shorter? well it seemed so, the driver was alot safer and not in any hurry. He was on his cell phone; apparently working doesn't stop people from personal calls, interesting.