Hong Kong Visit-Pt. 2
Here is our continuation of our two-day visit to Hong Kong the first week in October. Our second day was warm and humid with some haze and fog draped over the mountains that rise up from Victoria Harbor. We did some classic tourist activities: rode the Peak Tram, took a Big Bus Tour, had a drink in Lan Kwai Fong (the hip bar section), and cruised Victoria Harbor on the Star Ferry.
We rode up the Peak Tram to Victoria Peak. It is the oldest tram, or funicular, in Asia, and, of course, was built by the Brits.
The building of the tram led to people building houses higher up the slopes of the mountains that rise up out of the harbor. These houses have a fantastic view of Hong Kong, Victoria Harbor, and Kowloon. Obviously the people building these had money, so many are old and extravagant…mostly were rich British officials, not Chinese!
The older tram had a brass plaque on a seat in the front row that said, “Governor’s Seat.” This seat was to be left vacant until the last minute, in case the British governor was taking the tram. If he didn’t show, one lucky person got to sit in this seat.
From the top of Victoria Peak, you can look down on Hong Kong, Victoria Harbor, and Kowloon. We hiked around the well-built British walkway that encircles the top of Victoria Peak.
We saw wonderful views of the green jungle-type growth that covers the mountains of the island. One of the great things about Hong Kong are the many green areas,
parks, that are in, and around the teeming city of 7 million. There are many birds, lush green plants, tall trees with vines hanging down throughout Hong Kong.
Coming back down the tram, we jumped on a Big Bus tour bus, with open upper deck, and rode around the heart of Hong Kong, taking in the sights, and getting a feel of where things were. Hong Kong is very hilly so the streets wind up and down the sides of the mountains.
Hong Kong is a shoppers delight. Elevated walkways connect numerous shopping centers. These walkways are linked to the buses, subway systems, ferries from Victoria Harbor-so pedestrians can move effortlessly throughout Hong Kong to shop, sight-see, conduct business-all without worrying about crossing streets filled with traffic!
After our bus tour, we wandered back up the hill to Lan Kwai Fong, one of Hong Kong’s bar areas. It is many narrow streets with numerous bars filled with tourists, expatriates, and hip Chinese. While we were in Hong Kong we heard that the U.S, aircraft carrier George Washington would not be coming for shore leave. Speculation said this happened due to tightening US/China relations. The newspapers said the bar owners in Lan Kwai Fong were very disappointed because the the US sailors spend the most money when they are in port…and now the bars would miss 7000 of them! There was a US guided missile frigate there, but this is only about 300 sailors…not much money there!
We took a ride on the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbor to Kowloon and back. It is similar the Staten Island Ferry. You get a great view of Hong Kong, especially at night, for a total price there and back of 4 RMB, or US 56 cents! We saw the same scene we see each night on CNN Asia,which is located in Hong Kong.
You can see the I.M. Pei designed Bank of China on the left with its lines and triangles, criticized by some as “bad feng shui,” because it is too angular. Pei is Chinese. He grew up in Suzhou, and designed the Suzhou Museum.
Back on shore, we finished our day by eating at a restaurant that said it was “Hong Kong’s best congee restaurant.” Congee is a sort of rice porridge. We had two types of fish congee-one with “rabbit-fish” and one with sliced “cuttle-fish.” Both were good.
We enjoyed Hong Kong immensely. We would like to go back sometime in the future. The next day we left from the modern jet-boat terminal to go to Macau. Read about his in the next entry.