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Paul & Tracey's Travels
7th Dec 2008 - Hong Kong
Second day in Hong Kong

First full day in Hong Kong and Ali's 15th birthday - since she had already received presents before departure from the UK, a small treat was supplied on the day ie a card written in Mandarin with a few Hong Kong Dollars slipped under her door ! We hadn't actually quickly learnt to write Mandarin, rather Paul copied some off a teabag, but it looked authentic. All a bit tired after the 24 hour travelling and limited sleep yesterday, but sun was shining and it was pleasantly warm, so after a continental breakfast from the baker's round the corner, set off at 10am to tackle the day. Walked to the nearest underground (MTR) station (Mong Kok) through the back streets - local shops and markets clearly do not open until later in the day. At the MTR station bought an Octopus card which allows you to travel on most forms of public transport in the city pre-paid and with a discount, so avoiding purchasing lots of different tickets, and saving money - recommended. Whilst we were purchasing the cards, we turned round to see Naomi and Ali having their photo taken with a Phillipine guy and his family who said they thought they were film stars ! I'm not quite sure what films they had been watching, or perhaps something was lost in the translation....! As an aside to this story, it is very noticeable that outside of Hong Kong city centre, there are very few westerners to be seen. Anyway, armed with our Octopus cards we set of to tackle the underground system. Everything is very well signposted and all extremely clean. The stations are huge however, and you do tend to have quite a walk to reach the street. The trains are all behind glass, which slides back when the train arrives to allow entry. There were huge numbers of people using the underground, but that may be because it was a Sunday. Certainly the sheer volume of people everywhere is very noticeable, and walking along the street is by necessity a slow process. We took the train from Mong Kok south to Central Station which is on Hong Kong island (as opposd to Kowloon where the hotel is), and took a 10 minute walk to the Peak Tramway, which is a fernicular style railway which takes you a few hundred feet up into the hills to a wonderful viewing spot where you can look down on the city and harbour. At the top this has been extensively developed into almost a mini town, but was fairly breezy. The journey up is extremely steep and at one point I am sure we were going up at a 45 degree angle, which was challenging for those who were standing as we were cos of the lack of seats. Despite the grooves on the floor to allow you to 'dig your heels in' and get a grip, at one point Ali was declaring that she "couldn't hold it much longer" ! On return to ground level, and after stopping to have a snack in Chater Gardens, we walked to the Ferry Terminal to catch the Star Ferry back across the harbour to Kowloon. A recent addition to this side of the harbour is a Hollywood style 'walk of fame' which pays tribute to the Hong Kong film industry, and has plaques in the walkway (complete with handprints in the concrete) dedicated to the likes of Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Bruce Lee. By now it was early afternoon so we decided to retire to the hotel to recharge our batteries before the evening. The girls got the MTR back, but I walked the couple of miles back to soak up a bit more local flavour, and because my Octopus card refused to let me through the barrier at the station !  At 6pm, having re-charged the batteries, headed out for an evening at the cafe ap the road - real local's place that would serve ham n eggs if it was in blighty, instead Singapore noodles for 3 and a BLT for Ali (!!) at £13 - a cheap birthday meal. We then caught the bus (using the faithful Octopus card) back down to the harbour to see the Symphony of lights show - this was not actually put on especially for Ali's birthday, but is a light show projected on and from the skyscrapers on either side of the harbour and happens every night at 8pm. While we were waiting Naomi found me a basement CD and DVD shop, in which I supported the local music scene by buying a CD by a local Hong Kong band, and also found several interesting DVDs for less than £2 each - bargain ! Looking foward to another full day tomorrow.

Next: Hong Kong - Lantau Island and a big Buddha
Previous: Arrival in Hong Kong

Diary Photos

Hong Kong From The Peak

Hong Kong From The Peak

Hong Kong From The Peak

Po Lin Monastery, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Hong Kong old meets new

Kowloon From Hong Kong

Victoria Harbour Ferry Terminals, HongKong

Kowloon From Victoria Harbour Ferry

Victoria Harbour Ferry, Hong Kong

Hong Kong From Ferry Terminal Kowloon

Tracey & Paul at Hong Kong Victoria Harbour

Hong Kong Victoria Harbour

Victoria Harbour Ferry Hong Kong

Naomi at the Walk Of Fame, Kowloon

Bruce Lee at the Walk Of Fame Kowloon,

Victoria Harbour Hong Kong

Downtown Kowloon

Theresa's, Waterloo Rd, Kowloon

Hong Kong Lightshow

Hong Kong Lightshow

View From Metropark Hotel, Kowloon

Statue Sq, HongKong

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