Dim Sum, Dolphins, Shopping, Star Ferry, Views & Lights
14.09.2013 - 18.09.2013 31 °C
Well, it had to end eventually, so we alighted our flight from London with the usual excitement of visiting a new place (for the girls), but also with a sense of sadness that this would be our last adventure for quite some time!
The Airport Express whisked us onto Hong Kong island in under 40 minutes, and we then caught the MTR four stops to Tin Hau, the location of our hotel (& also my home twenty years earlier). The temperature (31 degs) and humidity (high) was the first thing the girls noticed - Gabi especially commenting every time we left the air-conditioned comfort of the hotel. The second thing that struck our group was the full-on nature of the city ... walking along the Causeway Bay streets that first evening, I think the girls' heads were spinning by the number of people out-and-about, and the frenetic nature and smells of the street activities.
It was a relief then to stumble across a nice Japanese restaurant around 8:30pm, and after a 15-minute wait, take our seats. Confusion then ensued as no waiters materialised, but an iPad mini sat on the table. Further investigation revealed a comprehensive menu listed on the screen, and after a few false starts (better not order 22 cans of Sapporo!), we sent through our order for a selection of Japanese goodies. Sure enough the food started arriving 10 minutes later, and we were left to ponder another clever technological advance, and another reduction in the need to converse with one's fellow human beings.
We followed the standard tourist beat on our visit, only missing out on a midweek Happy Valley race meeting, which I would have loved to have shown Lisa and the kids to soak up the amazing atmosphere. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the Victoria Peak tram ride and views; a stroll through Hong Kong Park which included a quick caligraphy lesson for all; numerous MTR train trips; Star Ferry rides which took us to the stunning nightly light show over Victoria Harbour; and we even ventured up the world's longest escalator from Central to the Mid Levels.
Needless to say we had some lovely meals - mostly at bargain prices - with the standouts being some dim sum at a Taiwanese chain called Din Tai Fung, and also some beef brisket (believe it or not) at Sister Wah in Tin Hau. Lisa was disappointed with the Temple Street Night Market, but had better luck at the Ladies Market where her rarely used bargaining skills were dusted off, and put to good use! On that day I took the girls to the iconic Ocean Park on the south side of HK Island, and we had a fantastic time watching the seals/sea lions/walruses being fed, the dolphins performing tricks, catching the submarine train, getting (slightly) scared on the water rides, and generally enjoying the diverse activities of this extraordinary tourist attraction.
On our last day it was nice to finish on a 'travel high' - being able to check our bags in at Hong Kong train station (let's hope that is an idea copied worldwide) - and then follow up with some excellent Cathay Pacific service on the 9 hour flight to Melbourne. So our journey was over, but Lisa has compiled a photographic display of the sixteen months which appears in the next blog, and is well worth a look.