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Hong Kong Travel Blog

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Hmm Hong Kong. the 53rd floor of our hotel - the roof - had a swimming pool. From there, you could see that you were in fact on top of one of the shorter buildings in the neighbourhood. Kind of an odd thought. Obviously there just isn't that much land in Hong Kong, so the only solution is to build upwards. What's was interesting was seeing the blend of old and new - the small backstreets through the town, leading on to major roads lined with modern skyscrapers. The rattling doubledecker trams that look like the might have been new sometime around 1920 - if you're feeling generous - passing through the steel-and-glass wonderland of designer shops selling clothing that probably cost more than the tram.
Wondering into a building and catching a lift up to, say, the 30th floor, for a drink in a bar or a meal, was a bit unusual. Half the time you feel like some big beefy security guy is going to come and ask you what you're doing, and the other half you kind of expect to get there and just be greeted by a corridor with doors, or some offices.
Catching the Star ferry across the harbour between HK island and Kowloon and back was a bit of a ride back in time, and the view, especially at sun set and after dark was spectacular.
We didn't move a whole lot in Hong Kong. We'd wanted to get out and about and really cover some ground, including going to Macau for a day for the sheer hell of it, but somehow Ness managed to twist her knee while asleep on the plane. Walking for much of the next three weeks was fairly difficult, so we tended to take it fairly easy. We did make it up to Victoria Peak, twice actually, the first time was what we think was a bit of a typical Hong Kong day - smoggy as anything. the view was simply a wall of grey, though the actual funicular ride up the hill was pretty good fun - think it goes at angles of up to 70 degrees up the hill, and then down... backwards! And you're just sitting there suspended by a little cable. Second time was much better, though since it was just about the only truly clear we had in our 5 days there, we were not precisely alone up there.
The food was an experience. We were staying relatively close to dried seafood street, so called because every shop along the street sells bread, er, dried seafood. It's simply astonishing to think that any of them make any money at it there's just so many, and who could possibly eat that much dried fish? The enormous number of dried shark fins was a touch disturbing given the nature of shark fin fishing, especially some of the huge ones that could really only have come from some of the big, endangered species. With Aaron allergic to shellfish (and something of a dominance of fish on the menu), we couldn't really rely on our usual method of point and hope. English speaking and signage has apparently gone down since the handover to China, and the most authentic-looking (and hence most interesting-looking) restaurants often had menu's only in Chinese letters, and not much in the way of English speaking. Still, we made do, and the food was, not unexpectedly, the best Chinese we've ever had. We ate cantonese, haianese (or however that's spelt), and every other -ese you could come up with. Chinese breakfasts were good, much better than bacon and eggs, with little dumplings, congee and bits and pieces. Aaron took to having fried rice for breakfast at the hotel. Our first night there we found ourselves seated next to an eldery local couple in a restaurant. They both spoke a little English, which put them one up on us with our no cantonese/mandarin/anything else remotely useful, and passed us a few good tips on the menu. we ate the best food we had while we there that night, which on reflection isn't all that much of a surprise.
Another memorable food incident involved the octopus card. This is a little rechargeable card you use to catch public transport (similar, for those of you in London, to the oyster card - or the new smartrider cards being introduced in Perth). Hong Kong's taken this concept a great deal further however, and you can use your card to pay for a variety of things from vending machines and stores. We came across a noodle shop - a chain one, so food was a little average, but it was handy and Ness needed to sit - that took octopus, so we paid for lunch on our buspass. Very nice idea. I understand they trialled a similar thing in London with the oyster at newsagents and "oyster stops", but decided it didn't work. Not sure why, works a charm in Hong Kong.
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Hong Kong
photo by: Sunflower300