We left on the Friday afternoon, flying with Cathay Pacific, and the flight was a killer, but much more bearable because of the excellent service on board the aircraft. After we landed we had a bus scheduled to take us to our hotel in Mong Kok in Kowloon, The company giving the course was in the same complex and that made for easy commuting every day.
One of our party had not brought a camera long and we seemed to spend a lot of time in shops looking at cameras, and while this was a waste of time, it was also interesting to see the wide array of electronic goods available, most of which never came near South Africa. We also spotted a local name in one of the alleys which led us to investigate more closely.
But we came away without a camera! In fact, by the time we left Hong Kong he had still not bought one.
Overall shopping was amazing, and at night the street market was abuzz, but unfortunately a lot of what was for sale was junk, or knock off designer labels. But it was fascinating to walk through the crowds and just interact with the locals.
The other night activity took part on the Kowloon waterfront, every night there would be a laser light show that happened across the harbour. It was really interesting to watch because all the major buildings would remain lit up or change their lighting schemes as the show went on. It was also a great time to experiment with the camera.
But again the complex was dominated by the designer label fad, and frankly those places do not interest me. However, the escalators were really amazing.
Our course usually ran from 8.30 till 3 and we had the rest of the day free after that, and would go walkies around the area. As it was a 3 day course we also had an extra day off (Thursday) and would fly out on the Friday, But by Thursday my sinuses were starting to suffer and I was reaching a point where leaving would be a great idea, even if I was having a blast.
Our time off we spent roaming around and just enjoying the ambience. Hong Kong was an experience rather than just a place, there is a blend of old and new on every street corner, and as far as I recall at least 8 of the buildings are over 50 storeys high!
As you climb higher towards Soho on Hong Kong Island everything changes. This is residential, trendy, yuppie and student orientated. And the area where we explored even had an escalator rising up the steep streets. Now that is not something you see everyday.
But, like a good things our trip had to end and we spent the Friday morning chasing the QE2 which was on her last world cruise. Unfortunately we did not find her, but passed her on the coach on the way back to the airport.
Would I return? of course, I returned in 2010, and would return again given the chance. The fact remains, it is a great destination offering the best of all worlds. There are no visa problems, it is safe. reasonably clean, and of course I know what to expect. Unfortunately hotel accommodation is expensive, and prices can be a surprise, although when we were there the Rand was roughly on a par with the $HK, so it was easy to get a comparison. I am not so sure now though, the Rand having taken many tumbles.
And then it was over. Massive sinus plagued me for a few days afterwards, and I had over 1000 images to process, and did I mention jetlag? yaaaawn. The flights were killers. Hong Kong was tops though, I just wish that we had seen QE2, it is one of my biggest regrets.
Oh, he never did buy a camera.
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