Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday in Hong Kong

Our second day in Hong Kong was epic.
Hong Kong operates on a different system to NZ - shops don't really open in the morning, if you're lucky they open around 11am, otherwise they're definately open in the afternoon, and the evenings are when everything comes to life.
Like the foreign tourists we are, we set out around 8.30am to have breakfast and soon discovered that it was awfully difficult to get a non-McDonalds or noodle soup breakfast at that hour of the morning in Hong Kong. After walking for about 20 minutes, we arrived in Tsim Sha Tsui and stumbled upon an "american" coffee shop (Everything Westernised in Hong Kong is actually Hong Kong westernised - i.e. McDonalds has pork burgers, sandwiches might feature processed cheese or prawn, and coffee is made with powdered milk) and after having our "flat white" and croissants, headed for the Hong Kong Museum of History.
It started with some archaeological history of the Island, such as remnants of the life of early peoples who inhabited areas of the outer islands of Hong Kong. It was amazing to see pottery and necklaces from people who lived during the time the old testament was written (I know that's a wide time frame!) and to think that we were actually in the area that the artefacts were collected from - as opposed to just seeing them in an exhibit, far from their home. After that, the museum went through the dynasties (got a bit lost here, as everything jumped around a bit and we felt like it would have been good to have more background information to better understand this section of the museum), war and Japanese occupation, and the creation of Hong Kong as it is now. (Also, there was the Bun Tower. See picture of me in front of it. I can't remember why it is done in HK/China, but it is. Awesome. They had to stop doing it though because one year the tower collapsed as hundreds of people climbed it looking for a free lucky bun... Sad, really.
After around 3 hours in the museum, we got some lunch in the cafe and then headed south to the end of Tsim Sat Tsui, by the ocean. We browsed around a few shops there and then caught the Star Ferry over to Hong Kong Island. Our impressions of the Island were that it was a bit more westernised than Mong Kok, where we were staying, and thus I think the two of us felt a bit more at home here. We walked up to the Tram station and took the tram up to The Peak. We stopped just before the tram station at a beautiful cathedral where we took a pew for a few minutes to catch our breath.
The Peak is 552 m high, and the views were amazing. Hong Kong is a city with huge numbers of high rise buildings and apartments. After poking around up the top of the mountain for a few hours, we took the tram back down the hill and searched for some dinner. Eventually we ended up at a place with burgers made from NZ angus or Aussie chicken. After this, we took the ferry back to Kowloon and made our way home. By the time we got back to our hotel we had been walking in 34 degree heat, 85-90% humidity for nearly 4 hours total, and had been out for about 12 hours... All I can say is we were pretty tired by the time we got to our room...!!

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