Part One: Travel is Glamorous in Retrospect
The weather was sunny and beautiful when we woke up. We had heard of so many ruined views and sights because of fog and smog so we figured we should take advantage of the sunny weather. Victoria Peak has perhaps better views than the skyline so we decided to go there.
Us and pretty much everyone else.
We actually had to join a queue just to cross the street. From there it was lines and lines and lines to get tickets and to get into the tram. We had talked about hiking up the mountain but thought it would take too much time. And everyones advice was “don’t do it in August you’ll die of heat stroke.” While packed in between the PRC tourists getting shoved around we figured it probably could have taken the same amount of time. Somehow, though, we made it onto the tram and up the mountain.
We took a thousand pictures and couldn’t get enough of it. It was so strange to be on a mountain overlooking such a mass of a city.
It got more amazing, though, as we decided to walk around the mountain. We took Luggard Road which circumnavigates the peak. No one else was doing it, which was the most attractive part.
Immediately starting the little hike we were completely encapsulated in green forest. Banyan trees (the ones with vines that just pour onto every every stair or crack in the sidewalk). There was bamboo, palm fronds as tall as a human and the widest leaves I’ve ever seen.
It was almost unbelievable that there was this much forest and green when there was the mass of city just down below.
Then there were the bugs. The cicadas, mosquitos, and ants were expected. What we didn’t expect were “Stick Bugs” (see the upper left picture next to the leaves). And then Banana Spiders. God help us all.
These are ginormous, spiny horrible looking creatures. I’ve heard them called “Banana Spiders” which sucks because there are other real banana spiders which are super poisonous and so aggressive they’ll actually come after you.
So these ones are not that kind. But we thought they were at the time – we had horrible feeling of doom every time we saw them.
Hungry, we found a dim sum (steamed filled dumpling) restaurant.
We were thoroughly sunburned after our little hike so we waited in line for the tram back down. Then went in search of sunblock. On our way we saw this little alley that was just so stereotypical of what you think of when you think of Hong Kong:
For the second night in a row we ate at a British pub. We were horribly desperate for British food after being in Korea for 6 months. You can find hamburgers and pizza easily. But pies or fish and chips… not so much.
We were really worried because it was Saturday. If the crowds were bad on weekdays from tourists we were worried about what the onslaught of locals would bring. We stayed in the hotel for a while, brainstorming ideas before we decided to cross to Dingleberry again and try to find some temples or anything else. Those seemed like less likely tourist spots.
We made it across and began walking around but we made a mistake in how far away it was. When we were in London we were walking over 10 miles a day. One day we even figured we walked 30 miles round trip. So nothing has ever really been “too far” away for us. BUT when you factor in the scammers and all the tourists it takes much, much longer to get from point A to B. So in the end we turned back, a little frustrated. Nothing to show for the day but some cool pictures of buildings and signs. (so not a total loss).
On the way back on the ferry we saw the “junk’ boat which made for the most stereotypical photo of Hong Kong yet.
Still the weekend. It was the same as yesterday – we stayed in the hotel as long as we could brainstorming what options there were for us. Everything seemed too busy. And since it wasn’t just about seeing Hong Kong – it was about relaxing on our vacation. And damnit, if we didn’t want to go outside then we weren’t going to.
Almost 1.5 hours later we decided we had to leave eventually if we ever wanted some breakfast. So we went and had an English breakfast. Placated some, we did some shopping and decided to ride the worlds longest escalator. Because why not? We explored restaurants and shops along the way which was very nice. Then at the top we were already half way up Victorias Peak. We had had such a nice time last time we decided to explore a bit, mainly at the base of some massive skyscrapers.
The day got better when we found a Mexican food restaurant on the way back down. We’ve tried Mexican food a few times abroad and it was utter failure. Unless we’ve forgotten what Mexican food tastes like, I think this one was actually really successful.
From there we waddled around until we came across a temple. Bringing some much needed peace into the trip. People were minding their own business and even the other tourists were being very respectful.
We looked around at “Cats Alley” a place where stolen goods used to end up to be resold. Now its just touristy knockoffs of communist era goods and fake jade. Still fun to look at though.
We took a long break in the hotel before deciding we needed to see the skyline at night.
We still have another 4 days to profile so we’ll cut it off here. Stay tuned for tales of the rest of the vacation including fish markets, wild monkeys and massive Buddhas.