Posted by Amanda
Noah left this morning for his Beijing trip. We had breakfast together before he left. I'll see him again in a few days.
In the meantime, I went out in Hong Kong with Carrie and Jenne. Jenne is the other person who works in the Campus Store with Noah. She's actually an American nurse who lives in New Zealand. Her mother is a faculty member on the ship.
We went out into the mall located by the ship in search of an ATM. Along the way we found a candy stand, Starbucks, and some cute stores. We were then off to find the bus as there was one that went right from our area to Ocean Park. We wandered around a bit before finding it. The ride was uneventful but a bit long as Ocean Park is on the other end of Hong Kong Island while we are on Kowloon.
Ocean Park is an amusement park/zoo/aquarium. It was very crowded because it is a holiday. According to our interport student, everyone should have been paying respect to their ancestors and visiting their graves, but I guess all these people thought it would be more fun to go see pandas.
I have to admit, my main reason for wanting to come here was for the pandas. They have four pandas here. I wanted to snuggle with them all. I've decided that we'll smuggle a panda on the ship for me to sleep with, Noah can have the monkey on his bed, and we'll put a penguin in the shower. It should make our tiny cabin so cozy.
We took the long cable car to the other part of the park as it seemed like there wasn't a lot of the animals on the side with the pandas. You can't walk to the other side of the park. A large hill or small mountain is between the two parts. The cable cars afforded nice views. Once on the other side we decided to eat. The one little food area we found was crowded and had run out of rice. I know, a Chinese place in China running out of rice?!? What?!?! I ended up getting a hot dog as the other option was a fish noodle soup. We later found a real food court, but too late.
We really only saw the fish at this part of the park. They had a large shark tank that you walk through like at Sea World and another large aquarium with windows and walkways that spiral around the outside down to the bottom. Both were very nice. The lines for everything else were too long for our tastes. I did buy a stuffed panda bear mostly to sleep with while Noah is away. It is a poor substitute for Noah or for my cat Julian, but it will have to do. We took the cable car back and caught a cab to The Peninsula Hotel.
Carrie and I joined the line for tea at The Peninsula. Jenne went off to find an electronic thing for her husband. I had done tea here with Noah and remembered it being very posh. Made me long to be a colonist. The line was not long and we enjoyed our lovely tea. Carrie is my classy peer so I can always count on her for a tea break. I picked up some tea for home and we were off.
We walked around the harbor a bit more before I had to be back on the ship for gangway duty. I did manage to buy the lemon gum I remembered so fondly from my last trip to Hong Kong.
Gangway was easy as we are sailing to Shanghai with only 103 people. I've got a schedule of activities planned for everyone which I'm calling MVE01 (as in MV Explorer 01). I figure some of the students on board might be a bit homesick especially if they just saw their parents in Vietnam so having ways for them to connect with others would be good even if it is just watching a movie in the Union.
Before going to bed, I sorted the mail with the help of a few friends. Thanks to Alice Esh, Sarah, Judy Carmody, Grandad, and mom for the letters. It made sorting everyone else's mail worth it.