Day 12: Fragrant Harbour

Originally titled: Day 12: Fragrant Harbour – 香港

Givenchy, Gautier, Darling, names names names!  We even passed by Harvey Nicks, sweetie!  Patsy and Edina would be very happy!

After spending the day away from the central business districts of Hong Kong and Kowloon, we decided to spend time closer to Hong Kong by… going to Hong Kong, the city.  People often think of Hong Kong as the combined entities of Kowloon and Hong Kong themselves, but it’s a much bigger place as evidenced by our visit to Tai O yesterday.  I know I’m guilty of that.

Hong Kong is an autonomous territory, a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.  Previously it was a British Overseas Territory, handed back to China as agreed to after a 99 year lease in 1997.  An area of 7.2 million people.

It is a vibrant, busy place.  It has no taxes, so shopping is relatively cheap relative to some places.  If you’re looking for a new watch, gold, jade or a new suit, this is the place to be.

MTR is an awesome service.  If you’re a traveller, order the airport express pass in advance and you get 3 days of unlimited travel which was perfect for our needs.

One of the things that struck me about MTR, are the advertisements for safety.  They’re quite funny to me at one level because I can be pretty twisted, but these are very important advertisements especially for mainlanders who may not have the big city experiences that some of us do have.  As MTR’s slogan goes, “Caring for life’s journeys”, and it shows.

Getting up, the day was grey, rainy and humid.  Totally unlike our first day which was beautiful.  When in Rome, do as the Romans – Get yourself an umbrella and make the best of it.

We headed to Causeway Bay which was similar to the area our hotel was in, except for the guys hawking “Copy Watches” and suits – There were none, which was very refreshing!

Ah yes, the guys who love to approach you and say, “Friend!  I’ve got beer for you if you come and look at my suits!  I’ve got ice cream, friend!” or the guys that, right in front of a Rolex shop ask if I’m interested in a copy watch which is a fake watch that might last a year if you’re lucky.  Dude, seriously, I’m wearing an Apple Watch, or a Citizen Blue Angels Skyhawk, or a 25th Anniversary Swatch Club watch… Do you really think I’m going to be wanting to buy a copy watch?  I’m going to go to a reputable dealer and buy that Seiko Astron for $2000 (which I did not), not go for a copy watch.

I do like watches, I have to admit and I will say that the pricing was out of my league despite the tax free/duty free pricing.

None the less, I am amazed at the number of shops that sell jewellery in Hong Kong and amazed that theses businesses are sustainable.

It’s amazing seeing bamboo being used for construction.  I’ve heard about this and seen pictures, but never in the flesh.

The rain soon cleared up as did the fog/mist/cloud coverage on Victoria Peak, so we decided to get the cable car up to Victoria Peak.  Yes, another tourist trap mecca, but has to be done. J   The cable car journey is quite something.  You’re easily at a 45 degree incline.  It’s quite something to experience especially as a big guy.

The view from Victoria Peak is stunning.  Such a beautiful view of Hong Kong, Kowloon and environs.  It has to be done at least once, and take it from me, words do not do it justice, nor pictures.

We stopped for lunch at the Hong Kong Day restaurant at the peak.  Don’t bother with the other restaurants there, they’re expensive and somewhat westernized.  The Hong Kong Day, while probably inflated, has good cheap food relatively speaking and it was tasty!

We got the Star Ferry back to Kowloon.  This, again, is something that must be done.  For HK$2, it’s cheap, historic and you get some amazing views of the CBD.

Sadly, for today, I did not have my good camera on me, mainly because of the rain so had to settle for my iPhone camera.

One of the first people I worked with when I started my career 20 years ago at Nortel, lives in Hong Kong along with his wife.  He had arranged dinner at the Peninsula Hotel, specifically at Springmoon, the Chinese Restaurant within the hotel.

Scott and I knew this was quite an upscale hotel without even walking in.  Heck, after walking into our hotel and seeing some choice luxury automobiles, walking into the Peninsula and seeing the cars parked outside, we felt very out of place.  Very out of place.

The lobby of the hotel was out of this world, just beautiful.

Dinner was off the planet!  Peking Duck served two ways, Hot & Sour Soup, Fried rice, Mango pudding, just amazing, and the service was stunning. (Dinner pictures coming)

It was so good seeing Albert after 17 years, and his wife Natalie; where we’ve gone and the things we’ve done.  It’s weird knowing that I have spent just slightly over half my life in the working world, and not in school.  The time flies so quickly.

After we stopped by the Avenue of the Stars featuring many icons in the Hong Kong movie industry, beyond Bruce Lee.

The one thing I wish we could do is spend more time in Hong Kong, checking out places outside the standard tourist areas.  We only scratched the surface.  That said, that is why, on trips like Scott and I just took, that we sometimes like to go to a place for a small ‘teaser’ to make us hungry to come back.  Believe me, I really do want to go back to Hong Kong.

Tomorrow would be our last day in Hong Kong.

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