And so, to Hong Kong...
I wasn't really sure what to expect from Hong Kong. We were looking forward to some 'home comforts' from a former colony, but apart from that had no real idea. As it was, I fell in luuuurve with the place. Nothing prepared me for the sight over the harbour - it really is breathtaking. I don't think you could ever get bored of it.
It is a busy place but I don't remember feeling flustered or hassled. You can go from air conditioned shopping mall to shopping mall and cross roads using raised walkways.
The public transport is really good- Underground, trams, buses, ferries, escalators.
When we arrived, they put on a special light show for us (or they may do it every night) - the buildings light up in time to music. It's pretty cool, despite the cheesey music. It was like the buildings were dancing. Because it was close to the 10th anniversary of HK being handed back to the Chinese, there was extra special fireworks at the end too. We ooooohed and aaaaaahed with the rest of them.
We went to Hong Kong park - a lovely spot with a waterfall and an exhibition of art pieces for the Beijing 2008 olympics. It was weird being in a park surrounded by skyscrapers. In the park is a Tea Ware museum - which the Ladies just had to see. It was fairly interesting, though some loud chinese women talked all the way through an informative audio visual display, tsk tsk. The best bit was popping across to the tea room where we were poured a cup of jasmine green tea which was most delicious.
Behind the central part of Hong Kong island is a huge hill: they have an escalator system to take people home after working in the city - what a great commute!! It's especially nice because there's various restaurants and bars on the way - not to mention a Pizza Express, so I really could live here! I enjoyed my Giardiniera Pizza and glass of red wine. Yum yum yum.
Another delight in Hong Kong is that there's a few branches of M&S. Oh, the joy of new underwear!
It was from Hong Kong, that Lady Bowles and Lady Bennett went our seperate ways... C had to meet up with her boss and head out to her school whereas i had another week or so before i started my job. We had a cup of tea and departed - I heard C say " see you in New Zealand" as I turned the corner. Deep breath and on with the trip..
So where does a lonely girl stay in a big city??? I chose the YMCA. I heard it was fun to stay at the YMCA, that you can get yourself cleaned, have a good meal, and hang out with all the boys. It was fab. And even better for having no smelly boys. From the 'dorm' window (it was alot nicer than the average dorm), I had a view of a Cartier shop and and an Armani shop. I'm very happy with the clothes I've got. Honest.
Next door to the Y' is The Peninsula Hotel "one of the classiest hotels in the world" according to The Rough Guide. A man of exquisite taste in most things [except, maybe, slippers;-)] had recommended that I head to the Peninsula to partake in their afternoon tea. I thought this would be a perfect way to while away an afternoon. A pot of tea, some cucumber sandwiches, a string quartet and Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility to read. Nice. So I got changed into my smartest casual outfit and ventured in to the elegant surroundings of The Peninsula. To be faced with a 10 mile queue. I joined the end and got chatting to an Australian couple. After a while, a waiter approached me. Yippeee, I thought, they've got a table for one and I'm the next Billy No Mates in the queue! Or maybe there's a special area for single ladies where they're waited on by hunky waiters. I was so excited that I forgot to listen to what the waiter actually said but just heard the words flip flops not allowed. w***. I wanted to ask, "What's wrong with my flip flops? I got them in Basingstoke and they have travelled many miles with me". But I left the queue with my head held high. A picture of dignity and grace (and just a slight squeak from my flip flops). I may have looked across at people enjoying their scones and hoped they choked on them. Possibly. But only for a second or two. what really got my goat is that there were people wearing trainers in the queue!!! Flip Flop Fascists.
I spent one afternoon investigating the markets of Kowloon - I was especially curious about the Goldfish Market: loads of shops have fish in plastic bags outside (a bit like we used to be able to get at the fun fair). It was a bit weird. The jade market was good too.
And so, it was with some sadness and trepidation that I set out from the YMCA, passport complete with Chinese visa, to the train station.
It takes 24 hours to get from Hong Kong to Beijing by train...