Stop 6: Hongkong

Hong Kong by Cecilia Schulz

Day 1:  Couldn’t Wait to Get Out and Walk

I’m back, baby!  I’m back on my feet after 48 hours of worshipping porcelain.  And for my first stop, Kowloon!  It means nine dragons…and I think one was in me!  After a ridiculous morning of Chinese-Hong Kong customs (really very silly) a quick shower and then a bus ride from the hotel, I was smack dab in the center of it all.  People from every corner of the planet abound along with the variety of food to accompany them.  Jewelry stores thrive here.  Watches were on every billboard or bus.  People were killing themselves to make me a suit.  Cheap!  Sorry guys…I did it in Shanghai.

Day 2:  It’s ok to be a Tourist, Isn’t It?

Sometimes this stuff happens, but our academic contact fell through at the last minute on this trip.  Hong Kong left us on our own for less than 48 hours.  We chose to see Uniqlo located on crazy and chaotic Nathan Road.  I had never had an opportunity to see one so this was perfect!  Uniqlo is Japan’s leading casual clothing retail chain in both sales and profits.   Much of the brand features cottons in cargos and khakis with t-shirts, jeans and skirts…casual wear at its best. The colors were light and ready for a hot Kowloon summer.   Glad I had this chance to see it.  The only US store is in SoHo…maybe another trip.

Our last day brought the group through a tunnel to Hong Kong Island.  Supposedly the best of the sights was Victoria Peak.  Ok…I’ll play tourist.  The trip up to the peak was via a tram which climbed the 396 meters steadfastly and slowly.  It passed staircases, trees and apartments (hey, hope the noodles aren’t dry!).  It was a fun ride!  At the top, there was an awesome (albeit smoggy) view of the city and surrounding islands.  While there, we took a small ten minute hike on the trail that led around the peak…short, but pleasant.  Up near the top is a small shopping mall, small restaurants, a Starbucks (oh c’mon!) and tourists.  There were lots of people there from Australia.

From the Peak, we took a long and winding road via rocky and bumpy bus to the Stanley Market. That bus kept twisting and turning and stopping and it was hot or at least I felt hot and lightheaded and the dumplings I had for breakfast came to mind…oh I felt awful…it seems like four hours to the bottom of the hill.  I even offered to drive.  The driver either didn’t hear me or understand me or was just ignoring me as he had heard it all before.

Pausing here….

Much better now.   It took a while for most of us to gather our wits as we were mostly all nauseated.  But not for long as the shopping here was abundant and the bargaining was fun.  Everything is here that you could want…providing it was chopsticks, silk, snake boots and fans.  The market is almost impossible to navigate as it seemed to go on forever.  We were only there an hour as the group wanted to get back into Hong Kong in time for dim sum.  Can you blame them?  We headed back to Kowloon via a ferry.  The ride was rocky, but it was a ten minute ride across Victoria Harbor.  The wind was blowing, birds were flying and the world seemed right.

Dim Sum…Yum.  They are small snacks that go along perfectly with tea.  To me, anything goes well with tea, but when in Rome…   I learned that people tap their fingers when tea is being poured for them as it is a silent “thank you”…FUN!  I kept drinking tea and tapping my fingers.  Food came around and it was all delicious.  The group was a scream.  Everyone was talking and laughing about our trip.  I guess people were getting giddy as soon we were to head back to the States and go our separate ways after bonding so well the previous three weeks.  So we ate dumplings and noodles and who-knows-what-that-was and drank tea.  Joyous.

That night, we gathered one last time for a dinner cruise which featured a laser show across the harbor.  This was tacky.  It felt like I was in a Red Lobster circa 1972.  Trust me…I was there.  Again, the impending flight, the Vegas feel of the trip (everything stays here, ok?…) and just being tired inspired jokes and photographs and laughter.  The food was ok.  The laser show was like a B ticket when Disney did tickets (look it up!).  Lasers shot out from the skyscrapers in a duel between Kowloon and Hong Kong.  That was it.  I think I laughed the hardest in three weeks at the Red Lobster cruise.  BTW, no lobster was destroyed in the making of the dinner cruise.  I know…I was there.