After lounging in my room, I checked out and decided to splurge for a taxi to my next hotel. Too hot to deal with public transit with all my luggage, and besides, I got to squee about all the sights I got to see on the way- "Wow, this is one long bridge", "We must be on Kowloon now", "I am not sure I've ever seen a 1 way street that you had to turn off because on the next block it becomes 1 way in the opposite direction" LOL
My room wasn't ready, so I figured I'd walk around for a bit. There's an Esprit outlet right down the road, so I won't run out of clothes- I already saw a T-shirt I need to get. Down from that is a 7-11... and I was just as excited to go there because I love seeing what beverages and candies they have in other countries. They have Pocari Sweat here, one of my fave Japanese sports beverages (although they also have it at the Asian market near home, which makes it slightly less exciting to find on my travels than it used to) And they have crispy mint M&M's which I absolutely must try! :) (Capuccino Kit Kats too- but I think I've seen those in Japan)
After that, the waterfront area beckoned. And I was like a kid in a candy store because I didn't know which way to turn and because everything was new and exciting. There's the Star Ferry Terminal to my right- but to my left was a mall... dilemma!
I decided to snap a photo of the Star Ferry
and go into the mall first. At the Lane Crawford department store, there was a sign that said "Be Amazing"
and I figured I'd take that advice. :)
Then I was off at the Avenue of the Stars, enjoying the view, snapping tons of photos, and feeling very hot. I got a BonAqua sports drink which was ok; better than their bottled water which reminds me of Dasani or AquaFina, both of which I detest. (this made it slightly problematic to stay hydrated at Disneyland) I've only resized 1 photo
for now- possibly more later.
Hit another mall- there were some old fashioned cars there and I noticed a sign by a model T Ford that told me it was there for photo taking only. So I assumed that meant I ought to take a photo
I finally got myself an Octopus card for public transit- I'd forgotten to pick one up at the airport though I hadn't needed one yet. Did walking down some random streets
and Nathan Road
. I found a cute store called something like Trendyworld- they had lots of Hello Kitty and Disney stuff, though nothing as voidy at the MTR Hello Kitty Train and Theme Song CD that is a current promo item if you take enough subway rides (see http://www.mtr.com.hk/eng/whatsnew/r..._kitty07_e.htm
I eventually went to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe
which I stumbled across; had Apple Bacon Tomato Soup followed by a delicious Salmon with miso seasoning- all for $15, including an Evian water. It felt good to sit down for a bit. After I took a photo, the guy there insisted on taking one of me
even though I protested that I looked horrible.
Then it was time to get into my room. "It's fun to stay at the YMCA
" Except this YMCA has nice private rooms
with amazing views
. (another view
) And they also had a power adapter/converter to lend me so once again I did not need to buy one. Even the guy who just came in to fix the window (which I hadn't known was broken) was very nice. LOL Anyway, it's a great price for an amazing location- and they even have room service. I don't really need swanky; give me a water view and stuff to do in walking distance and I will be very happy. :)
So after taking a mid-afternoon break to get situated in my hotel, I decided to head over to Hong Kong Island to take a walking tour from my Lonely Planet guidebook. I'd finished reading a book on Hong Kong on the plane that mentioned a few of the buildings on the route.
I took the Star Ferry over- it's dirt cheap, literally pennies, and it's right by my hotel.
Walking around Central Hong Kong was interesting in that even though it is a city full of skyscrapers, it really didn't have that generic "Urban metropolis" feel. First off, it was cleaner than many cities. ;) But beyond that- I noticed that I was never too far off from the sound of water... waterfalls, or fountains. I think it's all the Feng Shui- but it really makes a difference, and adds some character. As an example- there are waterfalls
on both sides of the large Bank of China skyscraper.
Speaking of the Bank of China building... my guidebook said that there is a public observatory on the 43rd floor. There was no signage in the building, but I took an elevator up anyway. No one yelled at me. Nice view.
There was also a model of HK- and I snapped a voidy picture which juxtaposes the model with a reflection of the view
. (the window was behind me)
There were also a couple parks and such along the route. One was Charter Garden
. The other was Hong Kong Park, where I saw fish
, a cute frog
sculpture, and took a photo behind a waterfall
. Actually, I took tons of photos, but I think the ones I found most interesting (and chose to post) were ones that show the juxtaposition of the greenery with the skyscrapers in the background- like this one
and this one
After the tour, I realized that I was near the tram/ funicular to The Peak. (thanks to the excellent signposts that are ubiquitous) I wasn't so sure about riding it (I have issues with heights ) but I figured I had to. It actually wasn't scary, even though it was very steep at times- it was kinda neat. And what a view
! (view from another angle
Time for an ice cream break at Haagen Dazs, followed by a purchase of Perrier Cherry Ginger something to quench my thirst. (it was quite good- the flavors were very delicate and not overpowering) I went in the Peak Galleria shopping plaza and snapped a photo of this pig sculpture
because it was there. LOL Also bought my nieces each another little something. :)
There is a viewing deck at the top of Peak Tower, which is the building where the tram lets you off. I was nervous enough taking the escalator up one floor to get out of there, so I figured no way would I be able to go to the roof. But, after walking around elsewhere a bit, I decided to conquer my fear and went back with a mission. Maybe the ice cream emboldened me. ;) At any rate, I took escalator after escalator- first ones with a view outside and then ones that were rather voidy
. And eventually I made it. Views were even more fab
Even though I was looking uber untiffed after walking around in the humidity all day, I had someone take my photo
so I'd have proof that I was there. I lucked out in that I was there at the perfect time to catch the sunset
which made the city view even more dramatic
By the time I got back to the Star Ferry to go home, it was dark so I could see the glittery lights of downtown HK
fading away as I traveled back to the lights of Kowloon. Not only is everything lit up, but many of the lights "move" or change colors. I stood up the whole ferry ride and enjoyed the view.
Every night, there is a Sound and Light show on the harbor featuring a lot of the buildings. I'm sure the Peak offers optimal views of both sides of the harbor but it was already getting crowded and I was getting hungry/ tired so I wanted to be near my hotel. Although I could see it from my room, I wanted to watch from the harbor so I went back to the Avenue of Stars. Unfortunately, they were narrating in Putonghau and not English tonight, but the narration is only for the first part. (there are radio simulcasts in 3 languages and I guess they alternate which ones are piped in over the loudspeaker)
My camera isn't so hot at night photos and I spent a lot of time trying to adjust the settings, but I did get a few decent ones: cruise ship passing while waiting for the light show to start
, Light show 1
, Light show 2
, Light show 3
. It was hard to catch the lasers and lights that were shooting out from the tops of buildings. At any rate, it was a neat little show- it's the sort of thing that makes the city seem a little more sophisticated and also more friendly; in the US, I can't imagine any city having a free light show every night. That is more of a Disney thing.
Grabbed a few things at 7-11 (notably the Crispy Mint M&M's and a Schweppes Zero Cream Soda) then ordered spaghetti off the room service menu. I did a ton of walking today, including up and down stairs/ ramps. Thank goodness I'm in great shape.
No idea what I plan to do tomorrow but I am going to sleep in- or at least I am not setting my alarm. (I've awakened before the alarm for the past 2 days)
p.s. thank goodness I picked up a new camera! I've taken 280 pix so far, including 130 today, and have had no issues with batteries running out. And I'm obviously starting to get the hang of the new camera.
Also forgot to mention- walking around earlier today, I saw a group of 3 people whom I'd definitely seen in line for Space Mountain at Disneyland yesterday. Not sure if they recognized me, but they did seem to look at me.