Thursday, November 8, 2007

Hong Kong

Hong Kong at first just seemed like mass of really big buildings but I ended up enjoying my time there. The main reason I came to Hong Kong was to apply for a new visa and also just to be able to say I have been there. I went to the visa office on a Monday morning which turned out to be their busiest time of the week but after waiting about 4 hours I got my paper worked turned in and my visa was ready the following afternoon.

I went to the top of Victoria Peak after getting my paper work completed. I got there a little bit before the sun was going down so I decided to stay and see the city in both the day and after sunset with all the lights. It turned out the sunset was the highlight of the Victoria Peak for me. The western sky did light up with pretty reds and oranges just after the sun went out of sight. The sky over the city was really hazy but I think this may have helped with the colors of the sunset. I was impressed with the sunset but found the city skyline not as impressive as Shanghai had been.

I had taken a cable car up to the top of the peak but when I was ready to go down there was a huge line for the cable car down. I decided to just walk down since I had not done a lot of walking and thought I might be able to make it to the bottom about the time it would take to get through the line. I did make it down but I would guess it took me a lot longer than the line would have taken. It was not really a bad walk except that the sun had gone down and a lot of the path did not have any lights. I did have a little flash light with me and was really happy the batteries did not give out on me. I also felt really lost and not sure where in the city I would end up in but just kept walking down. After all of this walking I ended up right next to the cable car station.

After the long walk I went to a bar and had a few beers. It is really strange when someone says the beer will be $55. I know they are Hong Kong dollars and $55 is about 6 or 7 US Dollars but still sounds really bad. The bar had a live band that was pretty good and it was a pretty fun bar. The bar was also full of US Sailors and Marines since there was a ship or maybe ships in port and sailors were everywhere in the city.

I stayed in the island that is called Kowloon and it is across the harbor from the main Hong Kong Island. I walked around on both islands but found the area in Hong Kong around the place that I had to get my visa really confusing. There are all of these walk ways that are a floor above the street and they seem to run into office buildings and in some of the buildings you can walk through and come out to another walkway on the other side. Other walkways run into building where you have to go down to street level again but I never figured out how you are suppose to know this so I just seemed to follow where most people were going. There are also no street signs that I saw at one level about the ground so I had to go down to the ground a few times to get my bearings straight on where I was on the map.

I visited the Tin Hau temple one day and I think this the smallest temple that I have been to on the trip so far. I walked around for awhile looking to see if I was not missing the main part of the temple but I am sure I saw it all. The temple just seemed to one small building with only a couple of small rooms. The toilets in front of the temple may have been the same size as the temple.

If you are a shopper then I think the Kowloon island would be your type of place there are tons of stores and I was ask all the time about watches and tailored suits. I also walked to the bird market which I really enjoyed. It had birds of all sorts of sizes and colors for sale.

The flower market was also enjoyable to walk through and different from the Amsterdam flower market. The main business in the Hong Kong flower market does seem to be flowers.

I used one day and took a ferry to the island called Lantau and visited the Tian Tan Buddha Statue and walked around the wisdom path. I don’t think I gained any new wisdom but it was nice to see one of the Hong Kong islands that is not jam packed with people and buildings.

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