We arrived in Hong Kong on Friday night and were transported at breakneck speed to our hotel in a red 'urban' taxi. We're staying at an Ibis hotel, and our room could be described as 'bijou'! However, it's on the 25th floor, with a large window looking out over the water and all the high-rise buildings and hills on the Kowloon side, so it feels much more spacious than it actually is. They also have a great 'all you can eat' buffet breakfast, (well, I don't know if its meant to be all you can eat, but we did) which really sets us up for the day. Who would have guessed that scrambled eggs with fried noodles and potato wedges is so tasty for breakfast?! They also have red tea, which I'd never tried before - lovely.
I think we were expecting to be jostling our way along in crowded streets crammed with rikshaws and bicycles, but Hong Kong is very modern, and doesn't really seem that 'foreign' at all. All the written signs, and any announcements are in English, they drive on the left and even have British plug sockets. Tony said 'the British did Hong Kong pretty well'! The big difference from England though, is that here everything seems very clean, efficient and well organised, and the people are very helpful and polite. The subway has air conditioning and is very easy to follow, so we've had no trouble getting around.
We went up to 'The Peak' yesterday, taking the historic tram, which climbed at an angle of 35 degrees. This time though, the seats had you facing uphill both on the ride up, and down, so no shrieking or falling out of my seat, unlike the 52 degrees one in the Blue Mountains. At the top, you go up a series of escalators to a viewing terrace, with wonderful 360 degree panoramic views of Hong Kong and all the surrounding islands.
That was good practice for going up the 'world's longest escalator' in the Mid-levels, which takes about 20 minutes to get to the top. We did walk up some of it, but it was quite crowded, so not too easy. We were a bit disappointed when we got to the top that there was nothing to see, so we made our way back down again (steps!). I spotted a sign for the Hong Kong Museum of Medical Science, so we went to investigate. It was in a lovely little old building and only cost about 80p to get in. It was quite a small exhibition, mostly about immunisation, but they had a good section on the Plague, which caused a lot of problems in Hong Kong in its day, because of it being such a busy port. They also had a section about SARS and how it was spread, and an interesting section on childbirth. They have had a school of midwifery in Hong Kong since 1907, which I thought was quite impressive, and midwifery was one of only 6 professions for women in ancient China.
We took a small ferry over to Peng Chau, one of the small islands to have a look round, and there were a lot of people on bicycles there, but mostly 3-wheelers, which was a surprise, with wire baskets at the back for carting stuff around. We came back and had another wander round, then booked a trip on the 'star ferry' night harbour cruise, to see the famous 'symphony of lights' at 8pm which everyone had said looks amazing from the water. Unfortunately, all the buildings which usually take part were not doing so last night, and donating the money they saved to charity! Never mind, it was still lovely to see the city at night from the water, and we got complementary coffee and cake, so no complaints.
Now we're at the airport waiting for our flight to Guilin, in China, and making use of more free Wi-fi. Can't believe this is our last journey to somewhere new. Getting excited now about coming home and seeing you all very soon.......