Published: April 4th 2012April 4th 2012
The Hong Kong skyline from Victoria Peak.
The second day of my trip began with an early (7:30 am) departure from the posh lobby of the Excelsior hotel – an upscale accommodation that's a stone's throw from Victoria Park. I did not actually stay at the hotel, which was a designated pick-up point for my tour company, so I considered an expensive cup of coffee, purchased from the polished in-house cafe, to be my “lobby pass.” I held the cup a bit higher, with a toast-like gesture, whenever the watchful eyes of the doorman came my way.
The tour guide was a twenty-something Hong Konger who was professional, but not particularly enthusiastic in his delivery of well-rehearsed commentary at select spots on our route. The tour group consisted largely of staid middle-aged couples from Europe and North America, so the day's excitement came from the scenery rather than the people. Fortunately, the scenery was up to the challenge. Stops included Victoria Peak, the Aberdeen floating village, and the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront promenade where the world's largest laser light show, played on the facades of distant skyscrapers, can be viewed nightly.
The Tsim Sha Tsui promenade provides Hong Kong's tourists with some of their most indelible
Jumbo Floating Restaurant
This giant floating restaurant was the Aberdeen fishing village's main attraction.
memories because a visit necessarily entails an open-aired jaunt through throngs of people, all of whom are similarly submerged in views of the tremendously complex skyline. If one lacks a taste for skylines, then one can always devote one's attention to the fishing boats and barges of Hong Kong harbor. The promenade also has an Avenue of Stars where one can see the hand impressions of Jackie Chan and other Hong Kongese stars who are lesser known in the West. A larger than life bronze statue of Bruce Lee is the Avenue's biggest draw, and serves to inspire the most interesting poses from tourists. A bustling entertainment district sits just behind the harbour, and, on a later day, I had the pleasure of dining in this area at a dim sum restaurant selected by my local guest.
The Hong Kong Island highlights tour, which was a full day event, ended with a dinner at the unique Manchester United restaurant. The restaurant's interior was completely red, with sole exception, perhaps, to the cutlery, and the establishment played old Manchester U. games on its many elevated televisions. At the end of our standard-but-pleasant Western dinner, a hostess and mascot came out
New Year's Decorations
The Peace Tower fountain (in the harbor area) had decorations from the Chinese New Year; all twelve zodiac animals were represented.
to shake our hands (or hug) and deliver personalized certificates of completion for the dinner. This gimmick provided an interesting photo opportunity for the one or two diehard fans in our midst, and would probably have worked even better for families with young children. Personally, I was looking for medal ceremonies with awards to the diners who were the fastest and had the most decorum. Afterwards, we were taken back to our pick-up points by bus.
This blog address is changing! Recent searching has revealed that a couple of other blogs, using variations of the “Nine Tales” moniker, have come about in the last year. One of these is rather vulgar in its self-deprecation and the other seems to espouse right wing political views, so I will attempt to add an extra degree of google search separation by changing my own blog's name. “Nine Trips” was my first thought, but a couple seconds reflection has me leaning towards “Nine Travels.” Paying for my own domain might give me greater freedom to choose a template and match my entry dates with the trip dates (as opposed to the writing times), but Travelblog has been good to me over the last
Tsim Sha Tsui
The two kilometre Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront promenade provides the best ground level views of Hong Kong's harbor.
five years, so I'll keep it as my sole blog domain and online picture repository. More on this topic will follow in my next entry on Hong Kong.