Hong Kong - exciting to explore
Hong Kong Travel Blog› entry 6 of 6 › view all entries
At 03.00 a.m I woke up my first morning this time in HongKong. My bodywatch was not as easy as my mobilephone to put the time six hours ahead from what it is used to. Well, after all that was my mainly reason to come here 36 hour earlier than needed. When I finally opened ‘my blue’ again, the morning had broken and almost past by. AND it was raining! The skies touched some of the very tall buildings, and it was dark like in late afternoon. You could see more than one street lighted up like in the evenings. When I later commented to one of the local people taking pictures with his Canon 400mm lense I ask him if this was the ideal day for good pictures of the skyline. He told me, very friendly, that some days you almost cannot see the skyline at all, due to heavy congestions and polluted air caused by the mainland China.!! I was thinking that HK itself perhaps does not make the strongest efforts to minimize the pollution. At least most public transport are still on diesel.
My hotel is in Kowloon, Booth Lodge, and is a guesthouse runned by the Salvation Army. To be a guesthouse they have decent rooms, whilst some are spartan and basic. I think I got one of the better ones, /see my review of Booth Lodge/. After breakfast I headed off out for walking the city and today Kowloon. HongKong island is separated from Kowloon by the sea, and it takes ten minutes with a ‘Star Ferry’ to get over there. You can also take the fast and convenient MTR-trains, the underground. The best option is to buy an Octopus Card loaded with 100 HK$. That takes you through almost all the public transport systems and gives you a discount of about ten percent from single tickets. Well, the first thing I needed to do was to buy myself un umbrella this very rainy day. Not so professional planning from my side, not taking an umbrella to HK. The rain can be heavy this time of the year, although mild as the temperature in the shower. Add to this a humidity of circa 80 percent, and your clothes gives you a feeling of a fomentation.
I strolled Nathan Road towards the Kowloon Harbour, went into a shop selling figures and jewellery of jades, and became very surprised of its high value; tried a fishsoup they were marketing out in the street and that warmed my stomach, it was really nice. Further down along the road, the streetsellers are a bit aggressive in their marketing trying to sell you a suite or some new shirts. Just ignore them and they leave you in peace. The rain now was not so heavy so I decided me walk the ‘East Walk’ with its ‘Avenue of Stars’ and from there you have an excellent view of all HongKong island skyline. You may forgive me if I have published lots of pics of the HK Skyline, but it is just amazing, even a cloudy day like this. The Starwalk reminded me of Hollywood or why not Liseberg in Göteborg. You could read all the story from the silent film days of Chinese and Hongkong movies and filmstars. Interesting really.
My next stop was a long one. At the HongKong museum of Arts I stayed for almost four hours, including one hour in the very well-sorted museum bookstore and souvenir shop. They had really a good selection of very good stuff and quality. I really recommend it. The museum itself contained an excebition of the great Chinese painter Wu Guanzhong. It was very pieceful and reflecting watching his very fine peaces of art. Over ninety years old he wrote to one of his paintings ‘- When a tree is old, its roots are exposed, when a lotus is old, its stalks break. It is better break than submit, leaving no regrets, even when youth is gone…’.
Next floor dominates of Chinese Antiquities Gallery, displaying Chinese china and vessels of other materials from 3.000 BC to AD 1950. It took me some two hours to watch and admire those things, since it also was a huge collection. I was surprised over the good quality and well preserved vases and amphoras more than 4.000 years old could stand there right in front of me. Other floors had contemporary and very special art exebitions, and I took the rest of my visit to watch the samples of Chinese paintings from old days and the art of Chinese challigrophy.
After the museum tour, I needed something to eat and I grabbed a Big Mac &. 27 HK$ is the price, just in case… I ended my lunch with a Café Latte at Starbucks, but believe me HK is different also about Coffee. It tasted more like the warm cup of milk, my mother cocked me as a child, than real coffee. I also looked into an official gift-store for jewelleries, jade figures and other typical Chinese handicraft with very high quality. AND extremely high prices. You can buy some small stuff for say 2-3.000 HK$ but they are very small. Most of the figures had price tags from 35.000 and up to 6 million HK$. But it was like continue my museum walk in there. Many pieces dated back to 17th centurary. I regret that I was not allowed taking pictures in there.
Now I was ready for the Market Walk, but first some quite moments in Kowloon Park. The park is quite of an oasis, in the middle of the buzzling city. It reminded me of Central Park NewYork, or Hyde Park, London, but the vegetation is quite different and interesting. They also have some birds there and ponds with fishes , ducks, flamingos and swans. Within the area for the Park there is a public swimming-pool and a sports-club. So, now I started my city Market Walk. Not to buy anything special, but to look and enjoy the diffrencies from the Malls in western or European styles. A very local toch. I went into the Jade Market where you can buy jewelleries and figures of Jade and other jewellery quite inexpensive. Of course, the quality can not compete with the official handicraft shop or jewellery stores, but good stuff anyhow.
After another hour it was really good taking a rest in my room, and a shower.
In the evening I located the venue for the conference I will attend here in HK, and byed myself the Octopus Card. You pay 150HK$ but fifty dollars are as a deposition and it s loaded with hundred. You can refill it whenever you need. Having said that, a single ticket costs about 6 HK$ so transporting are very cheap. Then found a good local restaurant for my dinner, that was grilled duck but I was not so exited about it. After some further walking I m back in my room trying to settle down after many good impressions today.
That was my very first day in HK this time, after that I walked a lot in the city and took several photos and most of it you can read of in my reviews from different places.