Thursday, 19 August 2010

Summer Vacation: Part Two - Hong Kong

It was a shorter trip than I thought from Manila to Hong Kong. And when we turned up at Hong Kong Airport it was like going forward in time. Not literally though (Hong Kong and Philippines are in the same time zone I believe) but compared to the budget airport in Puerto Princesa with all the third world-esque trimmings - the dirt roads, the oh so many insects - it felt like what the 21st century should look feel like. So, we rolled into the airport and I have HSBC bank staring at me waiting to give my debit card a big hug. And so it did :P (Dad: It reminded me of the scene in National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation when Clark Griswald goes to the ATM and gets a ton of money out with an excited grin on his face like he's just won the lottery :P)

So, the big guns were out and I was ready for Hong Kong.

Hong Kong

First port of call was the hotel. Now I use the word 'hotel' very generously here because what we stayed in was actually some scummy guest-house that let no light in and had warm (lukewarm) water. It let so little light in that we woke up to what felt like 5am but we couldn't get back to sleep for some reason so we checked the time on Beth's iPod and found that it was 10:30am... :( Budget. It was near some place called Chung King Mansions, which apparently is a little bit famous. Overall though it was only a place to sleep in between hitting up Hong Kong.

So, after getting our stuff sorted in the guest-house we went for a bit of a wander. Beth said something about a ferry to Hong Kong island so we jumped in a taxi 'cause we didn't know where it was :S We rolled up to the ferry terminal and I don't think I'll ever forget the view that hit me. I just didn't expect it.

This is me in front of the most amazing skyline I've ever seen. My camera doesn't really do it justice :/

These are the two towers in 'Batman: The Dark Knight' that I didn't realise was in Hong Kong until someone said. We tried to go up to the top of them but they're actually proper finance towers where people actually work so we just had a beer at a smaller rooftop about a third of the way down. Amazingly, I saw my friend Kara at the bar here just chilling out so it was nice to catch up with her... Unplanned meeting too. So random. But things like that always seem to happen to me.. saw my mate Andrew at Namsan tower randomly a couple of months back, but that doesn't compare to this chance meeting halfway around the world in Hong Kong at some random bar.

Anyway, this is me eating 'beefy balls' at a place Lonely Planet recommended:

It took a while to find because it was stuck in some warehouse looking thing which turned out to be a market where they seemed to sell only raw meat, other various food, and this stuff. It was like a sweat box in there but it was cheap, and actually pretty filling and tasty. Good fun.

Later that day we took the ferry over to Hong Kong island again and then took what was described by Lonely Planet as a 'short taxi ride' to Stanley Market. 30-odd minutes later and we were there :P It was a pretty cool place. They had plenty of souvenir stands, pubs, and this pretty nice view you can see from the above picture.

Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak is THE view of Hong Kong. The viewing platform structure appears on the back of the 20 HK dollar bill and it's jam packed with tourists. Basically the place to visit in Hong Kong. Shame it was a smoggy day :/

Oh wait. It cleared up at night.

The view was spectacular. Like you can see, we initially went up to the viewing platform during the day but figured that it would be better at night. So we had dinner at some awesome Chinese restaurant to pass the time and fill our bellies. But during the dinner the storm started. And when I say storm, I mean thunderstorm. And when I say thunderstorm, I mean the worst storm I have ever seen. We were so high up that we were actually in a cloud for most of it so we could only see flashes when there was lightning. It was actually a little scary. I mean I didn't wet my pants but it was a little unnerving because we were so high up. The rain cleared but the storm continued and here were the results (it gets good around 27 seconds so don't give up on it):

It was like this for ages but I only managed to capture this little bit of it on film for some reason. My skillz are letting me down :/

Avenue of the Stars

Next day we went to the 'Avenue of the Stars' (Chinese/Hong Kong stars). Here are some pictures:

The master... and Bruce Lee :O

Think my hand was roughly the same size as Jackie Chan's.

Me and the Hong Kong skyline.

Other general Hong Kong stuff

After all this we went to Hong Kong Park. It was surprisingly beautiful for something that looked like it was dumped in the middle of the city. It had an awesome aviary where we saw plenty of tropical birds; some weird, some just pigeons. They also had a load of Koi and some terrapins that were basking in the sun. This is me at the park:

There was a Tai Chi garden in the park in which they had a tower with 151 steps (I think) and this was the view from it. It was humid. We were knackered.

This is my dessert at the place we ate at in the park. Again, you can reach me at

Me sitting at an awesome side street restaurant that had great food at a pittance. Not sure how clean the kitchen was and the bathroom was worse than the one in Trainspotting but I loved it.

Giant Buddha... almost forgot to write about this

On our last proper day in Hong Kong we decided not to go to some random waterpark and instead to hit up the 'largest seated Buddha in the world'. It sounds a bit of a farce like 'the world's largest cat fed only on salmon' or 'the world's smallest boat with two fridges'.. but that aside, it was an awesome sight to behold. We could either walk it, coach it, or take the cable car up to it. Seeing as we didn't know anything about the coach and the walk would've taken about 15 hours in the blistering heat, we decided to take the cable car up and enjoy the view. 45 minutes in the non-air conditioned queue later and we were up and enjoying the scenery:

The cable cars we went in. Here you can see the Buddha in the distance and part of the path you can take if your mental enough to want to walk there.

Me with Giant Buddha. I felt slightly bad taking pictures like this because there were actual Buddhists praying around me and there's me eating an ice cream and acting like an inconsiderate tourist :P

World's largest seated Buddha.
Me with a general that is supposed to represent my Zodiac sign, the rabbit.

Well that's pretty much it. Roll on Chuseok!


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