China Chronicle – Day 11 (Hong Kong)

       Today is our whirlwind tour of Hong Kong. We began with a ride to Central (the downtown, financial district) and then up the mountain to Victoria Peak. Even though it was a little foggy, the views were still spectacular. Looking down at the huge skyscrapers and Hong Kong harbor was mesmerizing. We stayed a short while taking pictures, vowing to return again at night to see the view with all the city lights. Then we drove by Repulse Bay, Hong Kong’s most popular beach, to Stanley Market. Supposedly the best shopping in Hong Kong, Stanley market has hundreds of shops/stalls selling everything from souvenirs and trinkets to high fashion overstocks. The girls were in heaven, wishing they had more than the one hour David, our guide, gave them.
      Next we headed to Aberdeen where the fishermen and their families live in their boats, moored in the harbor. David told us that they have all the conveniences of home on their boats except for fresh water, which they have to get from the village. We actually rode on a sampan through the fishing village to see them on a typical day. It was interesting. We also saw the Jumbo Floating Restaurant, a place immortalized in several films.
      After we returned to the hotel, a bunch of us decided to take Gary’s Walking Tour of the Central and Western Districts of the city (see details below). We began our walk by taking the elevated pedestrian walkway from our hotel to the harborfront promenade and then westward to the Star Ferry terminal, passing by the Avenue of the Stars, a tribute to Hong Kong’s film industry (including Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan).
      We have been extremely impressed by Hong Kong’s beautiful skyscrapers, which, although not quite as distinctive as Shanghai’s, are crowded together creating an arresting skyline. Hong Kong is to be commended for their concessions to pedestrians — there are many elevated and underground walkways which allow walkers to avoid crossing the busy streets.
     The city is certainly a shopper’s paradise — it seems that almost every available space contains an entrepreneur or two displaying their wares. Some of the alleyways between main streets have barely enough room for a pedestrian to walk because of the size of stalls or displays.
     The walk ended at the Man Mo Temple, Hong Kong’s oldest, dating to 1847. The smell and smoke of incense is heavy within the temple and the altars contain many donations of fruit or produce left by worshipers and visitors. It was a different experience.
     After another dinner of American food (Ribs at the Outback) we headed down the harborfront promenade again to see the Light Show. Every evening at 8PM the skyline of Hong Kong dances to music with colored lights and lasers. It’s as if the skyscrapers come alive! We stood (very crowded) mesmerized and enjoyed the show. Following the 15 minute program, we headed north on Nathan Road to find the Temple Street Night Market, another opportunity for bargains. We bought a bag that we plan to use for gifts now that the luggage restrictions are over. We got a great buy, spending $15 for something that would cost at least $20 – $25 in the states. We took a cab back to the hotel, since we were exhausted from all of today’s walking.


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