Hong Kong: Day 2
With our minds made up that we were definitely leaving on Tuesday we had to go buy our train tickets to Shanghai. The train station was near the History of Hong Kong museum and the agency who were sorting our Chinese visa; we probably should’ve done this yesterday. It was hotter and more humid now than the day before and just standing outside was almost unbearable. By the time we reached the station we were literally soaking wet from sweat. The humidity makes walking around Hong Kong quite an unpleasant experience. In the station we easily bought the tickets to Shanghai. An 18hr train journey to look forward to.
With that done we went looking for food. Noodles on the street in China will cost about 50p. Noodles in a restaurant will cost maybe double that. Noodles in Hong Kong are £3-4 and don’t look as nice. So we looked elsewhere. Turkish food for about £10, French food and baguettes for £5-6. This was painfully expensive. We kept looking. Nothing took our fancy or it was far above the price we wanted to pay. We took the metro over to Hong Kong island and continued the search. Eventually we gave up and chose Pret A Manger. For £5 each we had a sandwich and a yogurt. It seemed like we’d failed and the prices were top end UK prices. Ouch!
We took our lunch to the 4th floor of the IFC mall and sat outside on overlooking the harbour. The reviews I’d read about the deck greatly exaggerated the location! But at least we were near our next destination.
The IFC2 tower has an observation deck on the 55th floor which is totally free to visit.
After some wandering we finally found the desk that hands out the passes to allow visitors in. Obviously many tourists wander aimlessly here because as we approached each desk they would point where we had to go long before we ever reached the desks. Once up the tower to view was pretty good. It was on the south side of the building looking over the city and towards the peak, rather than the harbour. But, for free it was pretty good and 55 floors is not something we get to do very often.
Next on the list was the Bank of China building. It also had an observation deck on the 43rd floor and was open to tourists for free. We walked into the vast cavern which is the lobby of the bank and asked at reception for a pass. They wanted some official ID. Our passports were with the agency getting our Chinese visa, but Annemarie carried a copy of our passports just in case. Nope, that’s not good enough! It has to be an original document. After explaining that in Britain our passport and driving licences are about the only true identification we have (sure there’s others but they either have no photo or aren’t really recognised outside the UK) and we have neither with us, only copies, we were told we couldn’t visit. Stupid Chinese! What does the passport prove? I’m a person. Can that only be verified with a passport?
Beside the huge skyscrapers, home to so many banks is Hong Kong Park. It was a short walk there with a small slope but it left us soaking again. The park has an old building that the British put up about a hundred years ago. Nowadays its home to a tea museum. We went in to cool off but after one boring room quickly left! The park also had a large aviary and we spent far longer than expected wandering around it watching the birds. That was a nice park, although only bearable when standing still.
With our tour of the park complete we decided we should go back to the apartment, eat early, then come back down to the waterfront to see the cityscape by night and watch the light show at 8pm. The light show is every night in Hong Kong where many of the skyscrapers are lit and lasers are flashed around in the sky. Imagine Blackpool illuminations and New York combined. On the way we collected our Chinese visas.
That evening we were back on the waterfront to see the show. So were hundreds of other tourists! But we found good spots to watch the show. But, yet again it was hugely overrated. The lasers were a couple of green lights on top of the buildings and then some rubbish background music was played while a few buildings had coloured lights create patterns up and down them. One or two buildings looked like they’d put some thought into it and looked good but the rest were just crap and looked as tacky as Blackpool! Why not put one decent, catchy, well known song on and have the buildings flash and pulse to the tune? That would be good! However, the view of the city was good. Hong Kong at night looked good!
On the way back to the apartment we found an upmarket supermarket. I’d read that this chain sold Yorkshire Tea and other British brands so we went in. We found the tea, plus some crisps (it’s almost impossible to buy salt and vinegar crisps in Asia, or other flavours we like) and a few other foods we haven’t had since leaving home over 7 months ago. Stocked up on goodies we went back to the apartment to eat and drink them!
Posted from Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong.