Day 4 - Hong Kong
Wednesday, March 28, 2012: With a bad case of jet lag, waking at 5:00 AM was easy. It turns out that Hong Kong does turn off all of those colorful lights eventually and does a little sleeping.
|We had another delicious dim sum-filled breakfast in the Continental Club, ...
|... with our usual Diet Coke accompaniment. How cool is this Coke-bottle-shaped bar code?
|We had a morning tour scheduled, so off we went to the Kowloon Hotel. It was a mere two blocks away as the crow flies, but we had to maneuver a bit around a freeway entrance so it was a few extra blocks of walking. We met our tour guide in the bright glass lobby.
|The tour bus had five narrow seats per row, so we opted for the side of the bus with just two seats.
|We were on a tour to see pink dolphins, so our guide showed us photos of the dolphins and told us all about their plight and efforts to preserve their habitat.
|While in Hong Kong last time, we took precisely one photo on our way from the cruise terminal, but could not remember where. It was here ...
|... next to a container port. Now we know.
|We passed a million boats on our way out to ...
|... the Citygate area. No way! Way!
|We got on a boat just a few blocks from our beloved Novotel Citygate.
|We opted to sit up top, and had the entire back of the boat to ourselves.
|There was the airport on our left.
|When one of the kids on our tour announced in a British voice, "Hey, there's biscuits! Biscuits!," Tom ventured belowdecks to get us some hot chocolate ...
|... and biscuits, AKA cookies.
|It was about a 50-minute cruise out to the area where we would be looking for the dolphins.
|Our guides knew that a fishing boat trailing nets would be a likely place to spot some dolphins and they were right.
|Here is a juvenile dolphin, identifiable because of his grey speckled coloring.
|And here are two adults, showing off the pale pink coloring they are famous for.
|They're beautiful, aren't they?
|Here are a couple of them following the fishing boat, scooping up some goodies left behind by the nets.
|We circled in this area for a while and saw lots of dolphins.
|Sometimes they were alone, but more often, they were in pairs or groups.
|With the perfect weather and so many dolphin sightings, we were really enjoying the tour.
|The boat's flag says it all.
|We took dozens of photos, but we're only sharing the very best here.
|Thanks for the show, beautiful pink dolphins.
|On the way back, it would cross our mind every once in a while that we were looking at mainland China the entire time.
|Debbie's twisted knee slowed her down a bit trying to get down the spiral stairs to the lower deck and Tom was nice enough to get a photo of the awkwardness.
|Off the boat, past the Novotel (again), ...
|... past the container ports (and a million Maersk containers), ...
|... and back to the Kowloon Hotel in just over a half hour.
|We went straight to the Star Ferry (again), ...
|... and got on the Big Bus Tour (again).
|This time, we were using it only as a quick way to get to the Victoria Peak Tram. Where's the tram?
|There's the tram!
|The Big Bus Tour ticket comes with free tram tickets, so we went straight in without having to wait in line at the ticket office.
|Where's the tram?
|There's the tram!
|Off we go! The tram consists of 3 or 4 cars, ...
|... each with skylights along the length of each side to enjoy the sights.
|The route is steep, ...
|... and there are walkways lining much of the route, which must give the locals quite an excellent workout.
|Further up, the city gives way to wooded park, ...
|... and amazing views.
|Once at the Peak, the crowd entered the Peak Tower, featuring shops and restaurants. We went up one escalator after another until reaching the Peak Lookout. It was an additional fee to go to the Lookout, but we gladly paid it.
|After all, we had to get a photo of Orchy up here ...
|... and one of us too.
|But we're really here for this perfect view.
|Off to the right, the Peak Tram was visible.
|Behind the Lookout is the Peak Galleria, consisting of more vantage points, restaurants, shops, a garden, and a preschool.
|Back in the Peak Tower, we went off in search of a restaurant and passed a candy store with a tempting variety of Hello Kitty Pez in both small ...
|... and large. Debbie was able to resist.
|Debbie was also able to resist the Swarovski crystal Hello Kitty display.
|We chose to eat lunch at Kyo Hachi, a Japanese restaurant ...
|... with fantastic views.
|We decided to splurge on the Australian Wagyu Beef Set for Two. We started off with Coke Zero, tossed salad with dragon fruit, and assorted sashimi.
|Next up: tender, buttery Silver Codfish Teppanyaki, ...
|... then Lobster Teppanyaki, ...
|... then miso soup, fried rice with bacon, garlic chips, vegetables, and Australian wagyu beef, all washed down by a second Coke Zero each.
|A scoop of vanilla ice cream finished off the meal and we declared it to be great. It was the single most expensive meal we've ever eaten ($250 US) so we'll never do anything like that again. (Update: a $340 high tea at the Burj al Arab in 2014 set our new record.)
|Here's the Peak Tower in all its glory.
|And here we are in all our glory.
|These footprints told us that New York was 12,979 km away.
|After spending a little cash at 7-Eleven, we headed back to the Peak Tower and waited with the masses for the next tram.
|The way down is just as steep as the way up, except that this time we were going backward.
|We reboarded the Big Bus Tour again for a scenic ride back to the pier.
|Looking down the busy street, ...
|... and looking up the side street.
|Hmmm, there's a plastic severed foot on top of that news stand. Odd.
|We rode under the Central–Mid-levels escalators, a series of escalators that move people down the hills in the morning and uphill the rest of the day. That would be a fun thing to try if we ever come back.
|Modern Hong Kong still has traditional touches tucked away everywhere, like this tiny vegetable street market, ...
|... and this small temple.
|It's a stark contrast to ultra-modern stuff like this staircase with neon orange benches.
|This is Duddell Street, famous for its four gas-powered street lamps, two at each end.
|Cooking pots have never looked more desirable.
|Here's another Rimowa store, selling our luggage. There was a store in the mall attached to our hotel as well.
|This was our final time on a Big Bus, so we got one last photo as we pulled up to Central Pier, ...
|... then one more as we crossed Victoria Harbour at dusk for the last time. Our Big Bus Tour tickets came with four Star Ferry passes per person, and we used every one.
Dinner at the Continental Club was a series of entrees and side dishes served in a variety of tiny dishware. We were always too tired to take advantage of the free cocktails, but the waiters knew to bring us Diet Coke by now.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy