Visit to Hong Kong Island and The Peak.
Hotel - Intercontinental Grand Stanford - Room 425
Finished reading "The Sisterhood" yesterday. It was a fictional parallel story about nuns in Spain and South America in the 1500s and 2000. It was very good and I was trying to read it while we were travelling in Spain, but we were just too busy. It was written by Helen Bryan and is a very good read.
I have now started "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes which was a number one best seller and has been made into a movie. So far so good.
I was asleep by 10.30 pm last night, trying to get some normality into my sleep pattern, but woke again at 3am and didn't go back to sleep until after 5!!! It is so annoying, especially for a good sleeper like me.
I have woken up this morning feeling worse than ever with this cold. It will just NOT go away. I had a coughing fit in a restaurant the other night. It was so embarrassing. You know what Chinese think about germs and I have strained a muscle in my chest from all the coughing as it now hurts with just the smallest cough.
We lazed around our room after breakfast, watching the activity on the harbour and decided we would take ourselves over to Hong Kong Island and The Peak. We were asking the conceirge the best way to tackle this - taxi, tram, bus, ferry - when he rushed us outside the hotel to hop on the hotel's shuttle bus that took us to the Star Ferry Terminal. It is hot and humid and there are people EVERYWHERE.
First we had to purchase a token as our fare for the ferry. Most people have Octopus Cards, which are the equivalent of the UK Oyster Card, but "one timers" have to purchase a token. We found the machine only to discover that our 500 HKD note was too big. We remembered that there was a money changing booth at the front of the ferry terminal, so we walked back up to there. The woman in the booth was quite officious and said she couldn't change Hong Kong dollars for Hong Kong dollars. No wonder she had no customers because everyone in cooee was Asian - we were the only foreigners trying to get some smaller notes. So, we tried to buy two bottles of water but that lady didn't have enough change for 500 HKD! We headed back out to the street and found a supermarket that did have change for 500 HKD.
Right - back to the vending machine to buy our token for the Star Ferry. After all that, we decided that we weren't "adults" and that we were "concession" people and paid considerably less - a bit less than $2. The categories were "adults", "concession" (aged 4 to 65) and "students". As we are both over 65, we were not sure which category we fitted into and maybe if we could have found someone who spoke English, we may have got our token for free.
We lined up for the ferry and after a very short time we boarded and took the short trip across the harbour to the island. Our conceirge mentioned something about a bus that would take us to the tram that goes to the top of the Peak, but we didn't write down the number. We should have gone straight out onto the street once we got off the ferry and caught Bus 15C which would have taken us to the Peak Tram Station, but we walked a long way along an overpass thing and ended up at the bus depot. A very helpful driver showed us where to catch the bus to the Peak, number 15. We then realised that we didn't want to catch the bus to the top, but rather take the tram, so we hopped into a taxi, who drove us to the Peak Tram Station.
It is hot and humid. We asked one of the officials about buying a ticket and catching the tram to the top and he pointed to the longest queue I have ever seen (all standing in the blazing sun) and told us that it would be an hour and a half in the queue before we could get on the tram. No thanks so we hopped in a taxi and drove to the top. Much cooler and quicker!
(At this point I was thinking that if we had been on a Scenic Tour, we would have been fast tracked to the head of the queue, and up the top of the peak before we knew it!)
We wandered around the top for a while and took some great photos of high rise Hong Kong
and then purchased two tickets on the tram to take us back to the bottom. We only had to wait a few minutes for the next tram. When we arrived at the bottom of the hill, we walked out of the station and lined up at the bus stop for bus 15C that took us back to the wharf, where we bought another token for the Star Ferry and we returned to Kowloon.
These are just some of the people waiting for the tram to the peak.
We decided to walk back to our hotel - I am a bit dubious about Phil's ability to find his way but he assures me that it's okay, that he knows where he is going. Oh yes, I said, that's what you said last night! Anyway, we found our favourite French bread shop "Passion" and bought some baguettes for lunch and had them in our room with a beer. It is really hot and humid. It is nice to be in our cool room, relaxing and taking in the fabulous view of Hong Kong harbour.
The weather here has been 30 degrees with very high humidity and it is very hot walking around the streets, but the shops and hotels have their air conditioning so high, it is freezing. Some restaurants we have entered, we have walked straight back out because it is just so cold.
We have been down to reception and settled our account as we are leaving at 6.30 am tomorrow as our flight to Sydney leaves at 9 am. I can't believe our lovely holiday is almost over. It has been great. So many fabulous places and things to see and so many nice people to meet and so many different tastes to experience and let's not forget the Sangria and the Guinness!! And I was very brave and hopped on the scales in our room - the verdict - I only put on 2 kgs, which is okay by me.
Final packing and early to bed as we have an early rise in the morning. I have to supervise Phil's packing because he always forgets to put some bigger things in his check in luggage and the guys at security always take them off him. He has lost Vegemite before and on his last flight, they took his brand new tube of toothpaste.