Friday 09 August, 2013 – Hong Kong, China
After meeting with all the agents for a quick welcome from our hosts, we all boarded coaches for a tour of Hong Kong Island – first stop (with a quick view of Jackie Chan’s house on the way past) was the Stanley Markets. I really regret not doing some shopping here, as it turned out they had some really good deals on Chuck Taylors and other bits and bobs, but I was soooo hot that Kylie and I went down to the beachfront and had a beer at a bar – it was interesting reading the things they were serving up. I had been pre-warned not to have something called ‘Urban Deer’, which apparently is dog.. unfortunately I didn’t see this on the menu.
Second stop was Aberdeen Harbour for a ride on a Sampan boat. Now, I always thought Sampan was something to do with noodles, as my brother and I had always gone to a little Chinese restaurant in Christchurch called Sampan House, where they did an amazing chicken fried rice, but it turns out a Sampan is a traditional boat. So in groups of 12 (though I’m pretty sure the limit is about 9) we boarded these Sampan boats. Our little lady driving the boat seemed to only know two words in english.. ‘house’ and ‘boat’, so of course going around the harbour she would continuously call out ‘Houuuuuuuuuuuseeee booooooooooooat’.. have you seen that movie ‘Meet the Fockers’, where that kid hears Ben Stiller say asshole, and then after that all he says is ‘assssssssss hoooooooooooooole’? It was just like that.. gorgeous and hilarious.
Did you know that Hong Kong has the most millionaires in the world, per capita? It is amazing boating around Aberdeen Harbour and seeing a massive super yacht which must be worth hundreds of thousands if not millions, and then seeing an old, run down house boat docked next to it (clearly the docking fees are standard!).
As we drove to our last attraction, the peak tram up to Victoria Peak, we passed a cemetery where people started taking photos. Our tour guide noticed straight away and mentioned that it’s not customary to take photos of cemeteries in Hong Kong. She then explained that this particular cemetery was a permanent one, but that many cemeteries in Hong Kong are temporary – the body is buried for seven years (seven being their lucky number) and then it is dug up and prepared for cremation. This process allows them to pass on.
Hong Kong (and China in general) have lots of fascinating rituals, like their Feng Shui – Feng Shui is noticeable all around Hong Kong as many of the buildings have massive holes built into them to allow the dragons to pass though; it makes for some really interesting architecture.
The rest of the afternoon was left to us to shop, or go to the pool.. whatever people felt like doing. I had a quick squiz around H&M, which we don’t have in NZ, and then headed back to the hotel room for a nap before preparing myself for the evening’s cocktail party at 3 on Canton, at the Gateway Hotel (one of the three Marco Polo hotels in Kowloon).The cocktail party was fantastic – amazing canapes, shisha bongs set up for people to try, and plenty of alcohol doing rounds. Afterwards we tried our hardest to find a bar to go to, but we were just so knackered that we ended up at McDonalds (broccoli and rice with corn anybody?) and then back in our hotel room.