Day 3 - Hong Kong
Tuesday, March 27, 2012: Morning dawned on another sunny day. Our arrival in Hong Kong had ended a week of rain, but we had beautiful weather the entire time, because we have amazing weather luck.
|Breakfast in the Continental Club was amazing. Smoked salmon, stir fry noodles, pineapple, hash browns, and all the delicious dim sum we could eat.
|With one last glance at the view from our room, ...
|... we left the hotel to head out for sightseeing.
|Our hotel was so incredibly convenient to the Star Ferry, we could leave our room and be waiting for a ferry five minutes later.
|Once again, we boarded a Big Bus Tour, this time headed for Stanley and Aberdeen.
|Here's the Happy Valley race track.
|Here's a hillside cemetery.
|The shortest route to Aberdeen is through a tunnel through the mountain.
|One of the bus stops is at Ocean Park, an oceanarium and theme park.
|We didn't have the time to stop, but seeing the cable car that links the two parts of the park, we wished we had an extra day to spend. This hillside garden art of a dragon was pretty cool too.
|As we continued the drive toward Stanley, we could see more of the park in the distance.
|And we're driving past Deep Water Bay, ...
|... and we're driving past Repulse Bay, ...
|... and we're still driving past Repulse Bay, ...
|... and we're approaching Stanley.
|Stanley has a famous market, but since we're not fans of shopping, we didn't hop off here.
|We just looked and photographed and carried on, ...
|... past the luxury condominiums on Repulse Bay, ...
|... and back into Aberdeen.
|We hopped off the bus in Aberdeen and redeemed the sampan ride tickets that came with the tour ticket.
|We joined a boat full of strangers for a ride through Aberdeen Harbour.
|The sampan was festively decorated.
|Our first stop was to see the Jumbo floating restaurant.
|It was a popular sight, as evidenced by the many boats circling in front of it.
|We circled around back behind the Jumbo and headed back toward the main harbour.
|The harbour is filled with fishing boats that double as housing, ...
|... in sharp contrast to the luxury yachts moored here as well.
|At the end of the sampan ride, we walked down the Aberdeen Promenade.
|It was about a 15-minute walk to the Jumbo Restaurant pier, where we boarded a shuttle boat to take us to the restaurant.
|And here we are. It is a huge, gaudy thing. Do not eat here.
|We were asked if we wanted an outdoor table. That turned out to be an extra charge. Do not eat here.
|Enjoy the view we inadvertently paid extra for. Do not eat here.
|We started with two orders of overpriced dim sum. We were given sauces for our food. That turned out to be an extra charge. Do not eat here.
|Then we had an order of undelicious calamari (heavy on the flour, light on flavor) and a bowl of something that was mostly bones. We were given hot tea with our meal. That turned out to be an extra charge. We were stunned when our bill came to over $100. It was all in Chinese and contained many more things than we had ordered. Do not eat here. You'll leave angry like we did.
|That unpleasant experience behind us, we walked back to the bus stop and just missed the bus, so we waited another 30 minutes in perfectly pleasant weather.
|The bus arrived and took us the long way back to Central Station, passing another cemetery.
|It's hard to keep hands inside the open-top bus when driving past trees filled with blossoms.
|Hong Kong goes straight up in all directions, ...
|... with the occasional normal-height building tossed in for variety.
|We passed this McDonald's - Burger King combination several times. Seriously, who passes up a McDonald's to go into a Burger King? Well, maybe it's easier if it's just a McCafe.
|Back at the Star Ferry terminal at the end of the tour, Debbie couldn't resist trying this malted soybean milk drink, Vitasoy. Wow, it was nasty. The two of us couldn't finish the whole thing, but now we know to never drink that again.
|Here's the view of the cruise ship pier on the Kowloon side. Star Cruises' ship, Pisces, was there every evening, departing to places unknown at sundown, and returning first thing the next morning.
|At the end of the cruise ship pier stands our hotel, the Marco Polo Hongkong. We declared it to be the best possible place to stay in Hong Kong. It is the building in the very center of this photo. The Harbour City mall is located in the lower levels of the pier.
|Here's the short walk way from the ferry terminal to the Harbour City mall entrance. The back door to the hotel was right next to it, and the elevators were just inside the back door. We never ate at the McDonald's here, but we did go to Watson's pharmacy right next door to buy a knee brace and pain relief patches for Debbie's twisted knee.
|We had some time to relax in the Continental Club. There were two large TVs in the room, showing CNN on one end and Fox News on the other. Here is CNN with a story on Kofi Annan's China visit. Oh, by the way, Kofi Annan attended Debbie's alma mater, Macalester. No big deal.
|After the Jumbo Restaurant disaster, it was great to get some food that was both free and delicious, with waiters standing by to bring fresh Diet Cokes.
|Next up: a Star Ferry Harbour Tour. The one hour tour does a circle of Victoria Harbour, as you can see on their wall-mounted map.
|There is indoor seating, so we chose to enjoy the view from indoors for a change while having some hot chocolate.
|There's Hong Kong Island for the hundredth time, ...
|... where the buildings were just starting to light up.
|We didn't have time to visit the promenade in front of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, ...
|... so we could only admire the Golden Bauhinia sculpture from a distance.
|There were cruise ships milling about not far from where our boat turned to head back up the Kowloon side. It's a popular place for cruise ships, as we know first hand, since we first saw Hong Kong from the deck of a cruise ship four years earlier.
|Looking back from where we started, that is Hong Kong Island on the left and Kowloon on the right.
|Hong Kong Island on the left, ...
|... and Kowloon on the right.
|This was the first time we had seen Kowloon lit up at night from a distance.
|Here's the Peninsula, with its newer towers rising in the back.
|More of Kowloon, including the Clock Tower, with the Star Ferry terminal at the far left.
|The next tour group was waiting their turn to board. They would be on the boat when the Symphony of Lights started, ...
... but we watched the entire spectacle in the comfort of our fabulous hotel room.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy