I made my flight at 5.50am, but it was a strange morning before that!!
Firstly, when I got up and left the hotel, there was someone on reception, to allow me to check out, but he was fast asleep and even though I tried to make enough noise to wake him, he was well out of it and so I left my key on the desk and departed.
Out in the street it was eerily quiet, but there was a little wind in the air and a second after I left the hotel there was an almighty bang and the sky lit up and a thunderstorm swept over the city. It was really spectacular, but mush as I tried I couldn’t get a photo of it or even a video of any of the flashes.
Next, as I walked down a dark street towards the main road, I came across two dogs rooting through the rubbish for scraps of food. They were obviously strays and not used to seeing someone at that time in the morning and as soon as they saw me, they bared their teeth and started towards me, growling – I know how to deal with a dog and stood my ground – staring them both down and shouting at them to 'Fuck off' loudly. It worked quite well and they backed down allowing me to pass and get on my way. When I turned around again they had disappeared, so god knows where they went.
I continued towards the airport – just a 10 minute walk, but it was weird walking down the main road, that earlier had been mad with bikes and traffic – There was the odd taxi taking people to departures, but nothing else. It was the quietest I had seen Vietnam and even quieter than when we arrived in Hanoi at 5am.
I’m now sat in the departure lounge – I checked in and noticed that the 'locals', in the queue weren’t acting as mad as normal. They were quiet and were leaving gaps between each other as they queued – Then I noticed that most people had US passports, so that explained it! It didn’t explain however, the fact that nearly everyone had big cardboard boxes. Heavy cardboard boxes all packed up to load onto the plane. Do they not own suitcases? Whatever they are taking back to the states in their boxes, they all do it!! The flight is obviously the first leg of their journey home and as such the security is high. We had to watch our checked bags get x-rayed in a special room, before getting our carry on luggage checked twice before reaching the departure gate and one more time when we got there. I’m flying with United Airlines, from the USA and you really can tell!!
I liked Hong Kong as soon as I landed. Large clean airport, easy route through and after buying a travel card I made it easily into town and to the Hostel without any problems. Easy to read signs, people letting you pass without trying to sell you shite and easy to cross the road. Its like being back in the west, but I know its only for a few days before China.
|Last bit of Vietnam|
|My 1st 747|
|Nice- at the peak in the afternoon|
|Later at eth Peak|
I left my bags at the hostel and walked down-town to the company that are sorting out my visa. I dropped off the passport and then went to the Harbour, to see the avenue of stars (mainly Chinese and apart from Jackie Chan and Jet Li there weren’t many I knew) and to see the harbour, which is spectacular. Buildings of all heights built in precarious places on steep hills surrounding a glorious busy harbour – Its a stunning sight.
I hadn't had a rest yet, so I went back to the hostel to relax for an hour before going out at 4pm to visit 'Victoria Peak', the hill on HongKong Island on the other side of the harbour, where you can see down over the city. I took the Peak tram up there which climbs the hill in about 10 minutes at about 27 degrees – its weird as the building look like they are leaning over. I then spent a good 4 hours watching the city as it got dark, the lights came on and I took a lot of photos, as well as helping other people take theirs – Its surprising how many people need help taking photos and I enjoyed it a lot – especially Zoo and his wife from Cardiff who were there on their honeymoon and were loving it. I also waited till 8pm to see 'The Symphony of Light', a spectacular light show from the top of the cities skyscrapers It was shit though. It looked like 4 people with head-torches were stood on the top of a building looking lost. There was the odd flashing building light, but I guess having been in London and Sydney for New Years and also the Vietnamese independence day, I was blessed with experience. I have seen more impressive wedding DJ’s lights.
After a beer costing $68 I got the tram back down (Lazy I know, but I have walked about 10 miles today already and only slept for 2 hours) behind a girl wearing cool Panda shoes. Then a deathly quiet MTR (Subway train) back across the city and only arrived back at the Hostel just before midnight after stopping for dinner and one more beer (only $46 this time). Its been a hell of a long day, but I really like Hong Kong already!
|1st beer in HK, While the queue goes down|
|On the harbour|
I slept in on purpose the next morning, waking up at 10am and vegging out till lunch. I have to pick up my passport at 4pm, so didn’t want to stray too far away from where the office is. I ended up spending 8 hours adventuring around the city. I went for fish and chips under the worlds 4th tallest building, then visited the ferry terminal to find out about a day trip to Macau. I found tranquillity in lovely Kowloon park, in the centre of the city where pink flamingos live in the lake and there is a superb outdoor swimming pool and gardens. I got my passport at 4pm – all ready to go to China and then I took a trip on the Star ferry across Hong Kong Harbour. Then I rode the half mile of escalators that take passengers halfway up the hill behind Hong Kong waterfront and through the night life of Soho, to where the local rich people live. Finally I enjoyed a $100 steak and a pint of cider before watching the Symphony of lights from a different angle – this time from the ferry terminal roof as I waited for my return trip across the harbour to Kowloon again.
The last act of the day was to get a softee Ice Cream from an Ice Cream van I saw in the street. I was in a brilliant mood, it has been a great day again but I need some rest for my tired feet!
|Me and a building|
|Star ferry trip - ace!!|
Day 3 was also good in HK. Ill give a short version of what was a great day out!!
A trip up the brilliant Cable Car, after queuing for an hour to see the big Buddha on Lantau Island, was followed by a super fast elevator up to the 100th floor of the worlds 4th highest building and more great views over Hong Kong. Then to top it all off, I went to the Man United Café bar for a beer and had two pints of Boddingtons, with enough bar snacks to fill an horse, all for $70. That’s less than £6, so for HK its a bargain. Plus it was a United bar with highlights from last nights game and even the toilets had 'Male and Female devil signs.
I might well go there again before I leave.
|Great cable car|
|Me and Buddha - Hes the big guy in the background!|
|Manc beer in a manc bar!!|
|Ive done 4 and 5, no 3 next week!!|
|Cool. I have no body!!|
Theres loads of more photos and videos on my picasa and you tube web pages - enjoy!!