Our five nights in Hong Kong started with three on the 'Ridgy Didge'.
A short bus ride took us from Hong Kong Airport to Discovery Bay on Lantau Island. D Bay as it is called is as secluded as Hong Kong gets and a welcomed sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Island, which is a short ferry ride across the harbour. Our bus dropped us off at the local International school, the work place of Grant and Viv, family friends who we would be staying the next three nights with.
We jumped in their van (one of the few in D Bay. Car use is strictly controlled and the golf cart is the most common form of transport) and headed for the D Bay Marina. Lugging all of our gear, Grant stopped next to a small green dingy and told us to pile in. Thinking he was joking we were both hesitant but as it turned out this was how we would get from the garage to the house. We putted our way through the lines of junks (house boats) before pulling up close to our home for the next three days, the 'Ridgy Didge'. The Marina is home to a colony of about one thousand people, mainly expats; all of whom live in rather impressive house boats, with each inhabitant flying the flag of their origin.
As if we were not homesick enough, when on board we were spoilt with New Zealand wine, cheese, crackers and the most amazing homemade tomato chutney, courtesy of Grant's Mother. To cap it off we were then treated to our first homemade dinner in well over two months. I never wanted to leave.
After a generous sleep in, we eventually dragged ourselves down to the ferry and tripped across the harbour for our first Hong Kong experience. Hong Kong is effectively seven million people crammed into a shoe box. The energy of the place is quite unlike anything I have experienced and we loved it! We familiarised ourselves with the MTR (subway) and spent the first part of the afternoon wandering around the 'ladies market', which despite the name, sells everything and anything for both sexes. After about an hour or so, I decided I was too big for Asia. Nothing seemed to fit and even the largest size of shoe or jacket, on me, looked like a hand-me-down from any one of the seven dwarfs. The rest of the day we spent at the ifc, a mall that would feel at home in down town Dubai. Krissy had long earmarked this point of our journey as 'shopping time', and boy did she. Losing track of time, we ended up having to run home (literally) for another mouth watering home cooked meal.
We were both sad to leave the 'Ridgy Didge', as we had very much made ourselves at home and were enjoying being spoilt rotten by Grant and Viv. But the show must go on, and for Krissy's work we needed to spend a few nights in a hotel on Hong Kong Island. Our first night out we found a funky little Mexican place in Central HK. After about five minutes however we realised we were dining in the middle of the red light district. Much to our amusement we were entertained by madams of the surrounding establishments, attempting to physically drag would-be punters inside, as they passed by. We enjoyed our meal and then made a swift retreat.
The next day, Krissy had made contact with her Father, who was living in the southern Chinese town of Shen Zhen. By pure coincidence and rather luckily we had a double entry visa for China, so we made an unexpected second visit to the country. An hour on the MTR and a swift boarder crossing and we were having lunch at a Chinese restaurant with Krissy's Dad and his wife, her Brother Tony and his partner and Ocean, Krissy's three year old sister. Ocean constantly got away with murder, on account of being ridiculously cute. It took a wee while for her to warm up to the two strangers, but in no time she was chasing us around and throwing anything she could get her hands on at us.
Shen Zhen was a world apart from Beijing. It was modern and spacious and with far less air pollution. There even seemed to be less people, until Tony took us down to the local shopping market. Here, tens of thousands of locals swarmed over the surrounding shops, it was a crazy scene. The highlight was when Tony took us into a shopping mall to buy DVDs. We went up six flights of stairs and then down a secluded hallway where Tony knocked on an unmarked steel door. I was running back through the conversation in my head, I was sure he said DVDs and not drugs. Time went past and nothing happened, a second knock and the door opened a crack and a face peered out at us. Obviously happy that we were not the local officials, the door was opened and we were ushered into a bustling store, just like any other shop down on the street below. Happy to leave with our lives and a number of DVD box sets, we left the shopping, family and China behind as we had to rush back to Hong Kong; ironically so we could get some more shopping in, before our departure to Macau.