Next Stop…Hong Kong

After nearly 2 weeks in Vietnam, Shelley and I are off on our own for the final leg, before we head home.

Hong Kong is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. We landed after midnight and were gratefully met by our guide and new friend Michelle.  It was great to have the luxury of getting into a car with someone that knew where they were going! We had arranged to stay at the Langham Hotel, centrally located on the Kowloon Peninsula.

Shelley is on vacation, her work is over.  We wanted to make the most of our last few days before heading back to our normal lives. She has a family anxiously waiting for her at home, I have my birds, that my neighbor has been feeding, but I just know they missed me, too.

We told Michelle, we’d be ready to meet her at 10:00 the next morning.  Keep in mind; we didn’t get a lot of regular sleep up to this point. We both normally get up early at home, so it wasn’t all that unusual.  We didn’t get to our room until nearly 1am, but we knew we would be up and ready to go.

Guess what happened?  Shelley set her phone alarm, but it didn’t make the time change from Vietnam to Hong Kong.  I woke up at 8:45… EIGHT FORTY FIVE…and starred at the clock, I could not believe it, that’s like almost lunch time in our world!! No way were we going to be ready by 10…Two women, showered, hair, makeup and breakfast by 10.  I think we were just plain tired, so the sleep really felt great. Our new start time was 11, on that Friday morning.

Gone are the motorbikes, they have been replaced with really fancy cars.  Welcome to shopping.  Imagine, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, 5th Avenue in New York City, Champs-Elysees in Paris…are you getting my drift?  Kowloon Peninsula in Hong is all that and so much more. Store after store and malls with more of the same.

I’ve seen fancy designer stores, but never where there is a queue of anxious shoppers that are let in to the store, by a door man. It appeared his main focus was “crowd control”.  From what I could see, a crowd was no more than 20 people at any given time.  I’m not kidding; every single store had a line of people. Men and women, I might add.  The majority of the shoppers were from China, where their money doesn’t stretch as far, because there is no sales tax in Hong Kong.

That’s dandy but a $2,000 Prada purse is still no bargain in my world, tax or no tax. You would think with the tons of pictures I took, there would be at least one picture of the stores.  But in reality they were so big, I couldn’t stand back far enough to actually snap a picture.

People walk, a lot of people walk.  The weekend was approaching and we thought it might be a good idea to focus on a few locations.  Michelle wanted us to get a flavor of Hong Kong and the peninsulas.

First stop…The Star Ferry that takes you for a 10 minute cruise around Victoria Harbour.  You see the large buildings, representing business and residential living. We’re getting off on the Hong Kong Island.

We are now using Hong Kong dollars. They do not go as far as the Dong in Vietnam. Hong Kong is not inexpensive.  Although, we didn’t blow our bank account either.

Okay, one more thing…Up until this point, I had managed my money well.  Did the exchanging at the Hotels in Vietnam, charged when I needed to, kept cash for taxis and food. But now, I’m ready to use the ATM just to have a bit more cash and have it in Hong Kong dollars. It was bound to happen, me and my money.

In Barcelona, I had my wallet stolen, that was bad. In Hong Kong, the ATM ate my debt card; not nearly as bad. Here is the scene of the crime!

I think it should also say, Please Remember To Take Your Card Quickly…That was probably my mistake. I was too busy trying to figure out the exchange.

Some views from the Ferry:

The weather wasn’t all that great, in fact I was cold. Ended up falling into the Gap for a sweater!! I was so excited to see a store that I could afford!

Okay…so now we are in our taxi on the way to Victoria Peak, the highest Peak in Hong Kong at 1.811 ft.  I’m sure on a clear day, this is even more spectacular.

Not only did we ride the Ferry, we also took taxis.  They still have their steering wheel on the right side of the car, symbolic from years of British rule. We took subways and busses as well.

Here is another fact along the way. Hong Kong is 424 square miles with over 7 million people.

Speaking of facts, this should crack you up, it cracked us up!!

Had a wonderful dim sum lunch. I’ll just show one course, noodles!

For me, the highlight of the day was the Nan Lian Gardens.  I could have stayed there much longer, but it was getting late into the day. We had already had such a wonderful time, what a great way to end the day.

Serenity mixed with high rises.

Would have been fun to eat here.

Thanks Michelle, for a great day!! Let’s get a bite to eat at Jimmy’s Kitchen and call it a day!  Because tomorrow…we’re going to see the Tian Tan…The Big Buddha!!