|British Hong Kong Flag|
|Modern Hong Kong Flag|
So I was super excited about going to Hongkong. I was honestly trying to not get my hopes out about it still being British - despite the mantra of "Hongkong isn't China" that I hear so often. Grabbed a burger and icecream from Lotteria and then some beer for the bus ride. Buses to Gimhae from Daegu run pretty regularly until about 6pm after which they're only every hour. Got there predictably early so found the 7/11 at International Arrivals (downstairs from departures) and got a bottle of makgeolli to sit and drink whilst gossiping. Usual Friday night haha. Went through security and the makgeolli was much more expensive so got beers. There were two flights leaving at a similar time to Hongkong from Busan and we thought we were on the second one which was delayed.. luckily a woman came over and grabbed us! Would've taken some explaining if we'd tried to get on the wrong plane!
Arrived and got through the airport easily enough. Hongkong runs a fleet of night buses all over the territory, they only take Octopus or exact change and took about an hour to get onto Hong Kong Island. When we got there though the bus looked like it was full, the guy who worked there told it to go even though there was loads of space on top so we had to wait a half hour :-( . Got booked into "Hong Kong Hostel"- there are a few on Patterson Street in Causeway Bay. This is our view on the right looking towards the harbour.
Poor Erica had to get up early to go to her TEFL course, I got up about 9 to grab a coffee and do some last minute internet research. First stop was to walk around Time Square, a bunch of high class shops and a big food court. Next up on the way to the ferry port I found a lovely small park to sit and have a bacon and egg breakfast roll with iced lemon tea (whole chunks of lemon!).
Next up was the ferry from Wan Chai ferry port across Victoria Bay to Star Ferry Terminal in Kowloon. This only took about 7 minutes and cost about 2HKD. Got talking to a high school basketball team, who spoke with flawless British accents despite being babies when HK was handed back.
|Avenue of Stars - Looking over Kowloon Bay towards Hong Kong Island|
While passing the central mosque I was stopped by an Indian guy trying to sell me a phonecard. I pretended to not understand English, pointed at my tshirt and spoke in Korean. After a few minutes he became agitated and stormed off telling me to "speak my own language". Weird.
Past the strange racist anglophone Indian and I headed into Kowloon park, there is a street of anime statues to walk down and even has a big swimming pool near the north end. Passed through the Temple Street Market before it had really started and got the 11 bus from Jordon Road towards Wong Tai Shin. Got off one stop early at Tai Shing to look around that market before walking to Wong Tai Shin temple.
Wong Tai Shin 黃大仙祠 temple is one of the nicest I've been to. Possibly as most of the temples in Korea were destroyed by the Japanese or North Koreans.. It's surrounded by rundown skyscrapers but manages to be quiet and peaceful. I liked how the complexes around also had entrances. Highlights included a walkway of the zodiac symbols, lots of incense and of course the huge inner pond. There were lots of people milling around, bowing and burning incense. Ran into a big Korean tour group, offered to take their photo. Only thing they could say in English was "I lobe Daegu". Typical. Only other Koreans I ran into outside of the airport were going into a Korean restaurant - "우아!한국 음식 맛있겠다" - "Wow, korean food, delicious!". At least they weren't carrying around their own weight in rameon.. </kbashing>
|Sad Face |
Stopped to rest a couple times, not sure what this sign says in Chinese but pretty sure its "there's a tram you idiot!". My honest advice would be to tram up and walk down. Anyway, good exercise and amazing views. Wandered around the top, you can see Aberdeen from The Peak! Here's a video of when I just got up.
Took a big panoramic photo with PhotoAF, it looks really good on my phone but for some reason I can't upload the HD version. Found free wifi so sent off some messages and updated my fb. Joined the queue for the tram - I thought it was large at the top but when the tram got to the bottom it was REALLY busy. Video here.
Wandered through the bird park and hothouse on my way back. Highlights included cacti room, art space, vampire plant, turtles and koi in the pond, 300 species of butterfly, tai chi garden, weird sounding frogs (video here). Last botanical stop was the SARS memorial built to commemorate the 10th anniversary. The faces on it are health workers who died during the 2003 outbreak. Walked to the top of the tower, it was quiet and peaceful. Of the 300 people hospitalised with the virus, more than 10% of them died.
Walked past the Shangri-La Hotel, British Embassy and a huge shopping mall. There was an architecture fair going on at the time - urban farming, floating city in the bay, waste recycling plants, hydrosufficient buildings etc. Really cool!
Caught the road tram back to my hostel. The centre two lanes are reserved for the tram system so even though the traffic was bad they could run without difficulty. Got some food and beer with Erica then sat and watched nighttime TV in the hostel - both of us were really tired. Erica was not very impressed by Coach Trip - "they're just way too polite!"