I never used to have a problem sleeping on night flights, but perhaps being older any disruption of sleep is a bad disruption. Caught up with a few new release films including Tron Legacy on the way back. Really enjoyed it.
The entertainment system had to be rebooted not long after takeoff. It took a good 20+ minutes for the system to come back to life. Still with the restrictions of flight, I ponder at what sort of server would be required to simultaneously provide independent movies, games & other electronic frippery to a couple of hundred customers.
After debarkment, we happened by Highpoint for some lunch and ordered (drumroll) sushi! Normally, we’re very happy with our sushi, but after having the genuine article for 3 weeks Melbourne’s foodcourt sushi was not nice. Too much sauce. Too much salt. Serve sizes wrong. Tastes odd. Oh well, it is a food court.
One of Lonely Planet’s suggested walking tours in Hong Kong was the old market district of Wan Chai. Not too far from there, I’d noticed a Telescope shop and thought we could make a trip of it to see what we could see.
Cathay has the advantage of being able to check in your luggage from the CBD which is then shot off to the airport. You just have to turn up later when your flight is due. Very convenient given that we had a day to kill but had checked out of the dorm first thing.
The Telescope shop was a repeat of the Ginza Leica experience (closed!) but did afford us a chance to have a good look around. We also had the chance to catch some of Hong Kong’s double decker trams.
A lunch date with a family friend at the Macau Jockey Club followed, and after they graciously chauffeured us around a few other markets for a bit of a look see.
Then it all came to an abrupt stop as we played the inevitable travellers’ ‘waiting for the next connection’ game.
We made it back to Kowloon by nightfall as I’d made a hair appointment for that evening. We returned to the mega mall at Kowloon Tong. Sort of a Chadstone on steroids: very shiny, all the brands, all the premium brands, few if no bogans.
The restaurants were all full, and we felt like some sushi. In Hong Kong.
There seems, like Japan, not many places for people to go and hang out, and malls such as this seem to be the viable ‘third place’.
It was with some astonishment that we discovered the Ramsar wetlands of Mai Po Marsh. A historic rice growing region, the river delta is (was) a thriving wildlife area. The super-industrial region of Shenzhen is right next door making a depressingly inevitability for the natural region’s demise.
Unlike the rest of Hong Kong, we had to make an effort to book and get there. Which made what we saw the more worthwhile.
Historically aquaculture worked in this region also, but like a lot of toiling work, the new generations are largely not interested. Additionally areas in dispute or subject to development have mysterious fires, or are ‘accidentally’ made worthless to wildlife but since everything’s dead let’s put some buildings up…
Much the way developers work the world over.
We needed our passports at the ready as the actual Ramsar site was over the technical border of Hong Kong to mainland China. Call me paranoid, but I still have a mistrust of the mainland communist…
A fabulously beautiful area was revealed to us. As the tide was out, we were witness to much birdlife, the fidler crabs of the mangroves and strange walking fish on the mudflats. More power to Hong Kong WWF’s arm.
A dinner date with my high school mate Tsang beckoned, so killing two birds, we’d arranged to meet in Sham Shui Po so that I could check out the Golden Computer Arcade for various bits and pieces. I picked up a number of cooling fans, and graphics cards which will complete my newly designed HTPC.
In a strange for me role reversal, I blend into the crowd whereas Anna & Sarah stick out and are easy to spot. Dinner was great, and we thought we’d trawl some night markets only to discover that they kind of closed early, and offered on the whole what could only be described as cheap crap.
Bit sad, maybe I’ve become a quality snob in my middle age.
It always astonishes me how drastic and rapid change can be. Granted, it was a little over 10 years since I’d been to the Peak (and it was fogged in that time), my memory is from 2 decades before that when there was a nice little restaurant and viewing area.
Exiting through a gift shop, one is accosted in the face by stuff to buy, stuff to see, stuff to eat, and all manner of other stuff. Chinese if nothing, are not known for their subtlety. And it would not have been so bad had all the stuff on offer not been available almost everywhere else you might go. Australian airports are no different to any bogan shopping mall these days.
An international capitalist homogeneity replaces what used to be a localised unique experience.
Ignoring all that, I found the view from the Peak breathtaking. Sadly, we were on a schedule, so look left, look right, look up, look down. And back on the bus.
Greeting us at the Star Ferry terminal was an extraordinary amount of construction works. Par for the course in Hong Kong where a landmark is not a travel marker in case it becomes a completely new building overnight!
The terraced and stepped streets brought to mind very early childhood memories, and a Starbucks provided us with free internet and a small break before going onwards and upwards.