Day 7 - Monday 9th April
Met up with Dan and Michael at the cable-car station on Lantau, where we bought tickets for a trip up to see Big Buddha. Not much to see during the ascent due to low cloud, but that cleared when we got to the top.
Stopped briefly to watch a group of record holding Pogo jumpers, which was a tad bizarre.
Walked up to Buddha via the very commercialised entrance (think Disneyland) then made the climb in the blazing heat. It really is big. That's an awful lot of bronze.
On our return to Kowloon, Andy and I headed for the walled city park - a former triad-controlled slum with a population of 40000, demolished in the 90s and turned into a great park. Lots of birds and very noisy frogs.
Went back via Kowloon harbour to watch the "symphony of lights", where hk's skyscrapers put on a light & laser show across the water. Amazing. Music somewhat cheesy - think 80s bontempi.
Day 8 - tues 10th April.
Just the two of us today.
Began with a return to the Hong Kong park aviary, now it is partially open. Great place - a huge wooden walkway through treetops with hundreds of birds from 90 species. Some very cheeky Minahs.
Next stop Tai Po Kau nature reserve. Eventually made ourselves understood by taxi driver by pointing at the map a lot. Covered ourselves in deet then set off up the nature trail. Incredibly hot and humid, but lots to see. Many butterflies and other insects but not a lot of birds.
Detoured via education centre on our way back down, where we saw loads of Gunther's frogs (which sound like yapping dogs) as well as a snake!
Stopped for a rest on the easy back to the road, to be rewarded with a great view of 20 or so macaques crossing the path through the tree canopy.
Day 9 - weds 11th April.
First stop, the Hong Kong museum of history, which was fascinating. Great to see what a constructive impact the British had back in the days of the opium war - not.
Met up with Dan, Yuk-Han and the kids for lunch (Japanese, today) then headed to Sik Sik Yuan Wong Tai Sin temple, the busiest in HK. Didn't stick around long due to heat and crowds, so moved on to the walled city park again.
Said a sad farewell to the others at the station. We've had a superb week here and would gladly come back.
Day 10 - thurs 12 April.
Crammed in a last visit to the aviary and the zoo before heading to the airport for our flight to Perth.
Day 11 - Friday 13 April
Good flight. Slept a little. Watched Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (us version) which I was surprised to find better than the original.
Jenny met us at the airport at 5 am (what a star). Chilled over breakfast then Jenny and Olivier off to work and Gareth to holiday camp. Grabbed a couple of hours of sleep, then went to Mt Langley for late lunch then a wander around Hyde park. Had a lovely dinner back at the house, but all pretty exhausted so an early night all round at 8:30.
Day 12 - Saturday 14th April.
Enjoyed a lie in, then on with Jenny to do a food shop at a Chinese, a Mediterranean and an Australian supermarket. Then on to a grocers who had a fab array of (ripe and tasty, please take note Sainsbury) fruit and veg.
Back to house for a laid-back lunch then a game of Race for The Galaxy (RFTG) - a turn-based card game.
Had dinner, then more cards, a quick play on the piano and then bed.
Day 13 - Sunday 15th April.
Off to the "Rollerdrome" for rollerskating with Gareth and Olivier. Was like stepping back in time to my youth, when I (Rob) used to go every Saturday. Even the music was the same. Managed quite a few laps without falling over our flattening any small children. Decided to call it a day when I could feel overconfidence creeping in!
On to Northbridge for a table full of dim sum, which was worth queuing for 40 minutes for.
Back to the house for more cards, then Jenny took us to the Gin Gin Observatory, about an hour north of the city. Highlight was a crystal clear view of Saturn and its rings. Nearly ran out of fuel on the way home.