We made it to Hong Kong and have enjoyed our first full day here! I'm going to wrap up Tuesday as quickly as possible and try to condense today's adventures ... there's just SO much to cram in this one post!
Yesterday, we lived out our Thai "schedule" as long as possible, trying our best to deny that we had to leave that afternoon . Coffee --> gym --> breakfast (french toast for Kev, egg white omelet for me - with bacon for Kev) --> pool time.
Kev even convinced me to get on board with his yoga poses ... I know these pictures are horrendous form, but they had just cleaned the ledge, and trying to balance on an infinity edge with a cliff on one side is a little scarier than it looks!
We reluctantly packed up, showered, and were out of there by 3. We had a while to wait around for our 6:45 flight, which was then delayed. We waited for about an hour to go through immigration in Hong Kong, then "lost" our bags (our fault), then waited for a cab which took us to the wrong place, etc. ... it all commenced with us getting to bed around 2:30am (way later than our retiree-style bedtime!)
(view from stairs going down to our room)
Needless to say, we tried to sleep in this morning, but only made it until about 7:30. We took our time with coffee and working out, and then headed out to explore Hong Kong. We explored Pacific Place (a mall with tons of upscale shops), then saw Statue Square (with a 15-year celebratory display of Hong Kong reunification and the legislative buildings surrounding).
We walked around Hong Kong for a while, often in very circuitous routes - many of the streets don't really have sidewalks and/ or crosswalks, and they make it very difficult to jaywalk or cross streets illegally! After looping around the city a few times, we've now realized that there are skywalks connecting almost every building on the 2nd or 3rd level, and this is a much easier way to get around! After looking for restaurants for a while, we ended up at Taipan, which we imagine is a Panera-equivalent. Kev got chicken fried rice, and I got a side salad and cabbage soup (not very Chinese, I know!). We ended up eating on the stairs of a metro station exit because we couldn't find a spot! We strolled through the Gage Street Market, which was tons of vendors of food/ clothing/ household goods/ everything else you could have imagined. I would have spent the next 8 hours here, but Kev was getting pretty hot and bored, so we headed on our way. We got to take the mid-level escalator, which is the world's longest at 800 meters long, and includes entrances/ exits at most major streets!
We next explored Man Mo Temple, Hong Kong's oldest temple (built 1848), which honors both the civil god (of literature) and the martial god. The temple ceiling is full of spirals of incense to attract the attention of the gods. As we've seen in other Buddhist temples, visitors leave food (mostly fruit) and drinks as offerings; this time, though, we spotted full-on meals and opened beer cans!
Shortly after lunch, the lack of sleep and heat got to Kev, and he decided to head home. I wanted to stroll through some more street markets and browse around some more. I also tackled these stairs to view St. John's Cathedral, the oldest Anglican church in the Far East. It was very pretty, although the iPhone pictures don't do it justice (Kev took the camera back).
I saw Cheung Kong Park (a "green oasis" in the busiest part of Hong Kong), and of course found a Hong Kong underground supermarket (I can't help it, I'm powerless to resist exploring the foods of other cultures!).
After resting a bit back at the hotel, we headed back out - this time across the Star Ferry to Kowloon Island, the "other part" of Hong Kong. The views while crossing Victoria Harbor were incredible! The skyline of Hong Kong really is great. We sat on a viewing area on the other side for about an hour waiting for the "Symphony of Lights," Hong Kong's Guiness-Book-of-World-Records-holding spectacle of lights, which included lit up and animated buildings, lasers, and music. It was incredible to see how they have choreographed the light changes so perfectly with the music! Kev especially enjoyed the show, as he loves skylines.
By the time this was over, it was almost 9:30, and due to having no breakfast and a small lunch, I was very hungry (I say "hangry" for the times when I am so hungry I am angry, or at least really cranky!). We wandered into several restaurants that would have run us upwards of $100/ person, and finally settled on the closest thing possible - basically a food court in a mall. The food ... well ... kind of tasted like it was from a food court! Kev got fried rice in an egg covering, and I got a green curry (the green beans were great, everything else ... well ... ). Oh well, we boarded the ferry back to Hong Kong Island and enjoyed the 30-ish-minute walk home. (Side note: I am sore again from walking - probably about 6 hours of it again today. Still cracks me up that we can run much further and not get as tired!). On the way back, we saw HUGE crowds trying to pose with a bunch of life-sized, blue, cartoon-looking statues. Anyone know what these are?
Off to bed for another fun-filled day tomorrow! By the way, the "storm" I reference in the title is both figurative and literal ... I hear some major storms outside right now, and there is supposedly a typhoon brewing! Keep your fingers crossed that it heads far away!
-Megan and Kevin