Friday, 3 June 2011

Hong Kong - Fragrant Harbour

View from my hotel room.........
Now my time with the family is at an end it is sad farewells and I am on my way home.  I've got a couple of nights in Hong Kong which is always fun.  I love Hong Kong, the hustle and bustle, the interesting street life, the food, the shopping, the buzz.  I have decided to splash out and stay at the Sheraton right by the harbour in Kowloon.  My room is in the Towers, the executive floor, and has a magnificent view of the harbour and Hong Kong Island opposite.  The view is so lovely and the room so good that I am tempted to just sit by the window and watch the activity on the harbour, reputed to be the busiest  in the world,  instead I head out for a long lazy stroll up Nathan Rd.

....and another view from my room
  I traveled to Hong Kong many times for work and know the good shopping spots and markets so make my way to a favourite market which is largely unfamiliar to tourists.  I wander up and down  the market not seeing  anything much I want to buy. I have found lately that  I am less and less interested in actually buying things but do still enjoy looking. I buy my grandson a shirt and forget to bargain, paying twice its local value It still seems  a reasonable price, though. Further on is the famous tourist trap, the Ladies Market.  I walk up and down buying a few small gifts for friends and family AND remembering to bargain with good success.

T shirts for tourists - Ladies Market
Chicken for dinner anyone?
Later, back at the hotel, I take advantage of their generous Happy Hour which offers free drinks and plenty of finger food in the guest lounge. Goody, no need to buy dinner tonight!  I meet an interesting Singaporean man and his son-in-law and we have an enjoyable evening talking about everything under the sun from politics to geography to history to children. Back in my room I take a bath which has a clear view to the television and right across the bedroom to the harbour.  I lie in the foaming bath watching the CNN news and the nightly laser and light show on Hong Kong decadent is that? Luxury! The next day it rains so I take my time at breakfast and watch the harbour activity before a walk around town.  I stroll through Kowloon Gardens, an oasis for the teeming millions who live in the city.  It is verdant and pleasant with winding paths, quiet contemplation areas, a large walk-in bird aviary and flamingos on the lake.  Then it's back for a complimentary afternoon tea in the hotel lounge while looking out at a grey and drizzly city and later another happy hour before walking down to the sea front, to watch the light show again.  I have seen it many times but still enjoy it.  Loud speakers along the sea front play music synchronised with the lights and lasers which run up and down the sky scrapers surrounding the harbour.  When I watched it from my room last night the show was greatly diminished by the lack of music.  The rain has stopped and it is a beautiful evening.  I find a perfect spot and wait for the show to start.  Some friendly Australians are standing near by and we have a good chat.  The show is, as always, excellent.
The light show..a feeble attempt at photographing it!
The next day I am heading home.  The transport system in Hong Kong is brilliant.  A free shuttle bus takes me to the Kowloon train station and a $20NZ train trip takes me to the airport...quick, efficient and painless.  The new(ish) Hong Kong airport is lovely, bright, modern and spacious.  A quick check in, a short wait and I am on my way home.  I love visiting Hong Kong but wouldn't want to live there.  The skyscraper apartment blocks are packed in to the tiny land mass and the streets are crowded.  I am now looking forward to the green,  space and beauty of New Zealand.