Published: May 2nd 2009May 1st 2009
View from Victoria Peak
We saw all the mains in Hong Kong - Victoria Peak (by day and then back again by night), Aberdeen, Repulse Bay, took a sampan ride and checked out the famous Temple Street night market. We were at Temple Street quite late when T found an item that caught her eye. Now there is some dissention as to whether this is a bag or a purse. T maintains firmly that it’s a bag, I find it pursier. We’ll be taking votes at a later time to establish its identity once and for all (but it’s a purse). I’m not above negative campaigning or subliminal advertising (it’s a purse) so watch out, T. Before she began her harsh negotiations for the purse (not a bag) we got some unsolicited advice on what she should pay from our new friend who we referred to by his code name “charming, yet slightly inebriated Australian guy who was just passing by”. While T was haggling I got a long and obvious description of Hong Kong markets which ended in us having to show him on a map that he wasn’t actually in the market he thought he was. He suspected it was the 10 beers
It's a purse
he had consumed earlier that may have led to the confusion. Still - he had the price right on the purse - T held firm and may have come away with the steal of the trip so far.
Near Temple Street, there is also an area where every local fortune teller and mystic sets up shop after dark to bestow their gifts on the public (at a modest fee of course) so we decided it might be worth a look. There was every manner of divination going on from the familiar tarot card reading to the truly bizarre reading of facial bumps (there was no way we were doing that one). In the spirit of pure entertainment we opted to have our cards read by the least odd seeming clairvoyant who knew at least a smattering of English. Well, a smattering probably wasn’t enough, because we both had a hard time following Ms. Esther but I do recall at least her saying about me “something, something, you have ideas about things, something, something”. Money well spent.
We got in just shy of midnight, tired beyond comprehension, and still had to get our butts out of bed early enough
the next day to see our gang off, give my folks a duffle bag filled with items we didn’t want to carry around with us for the rest of the trip and raid some travel supplies to replenish the stuff we were running low on (note to travellers: bring double the sun block and wet naps you think you’ll need).
Sniff, sniff - we said adieu to the rest of our group early in the morning. They were all heading back home and will certainly be snug in their own beds, with their own pillows (lucky devils) by the time this gets posted. They were a lovely bunch of travel companions, each and every one, and it was a pleasure to spend that first part of our trip with them. But WOO HOO, baby, we’re FREE!!!! We can do whatever we want, whenever we want without feeling like we’re constantly abandoning our family. Bringeth it on-eth,
We got off to Vietnam and settled into our hotel safely (and check out these digs). On our first full day out we headed to Halong Bay (which cooly means Descending Dragon) for an afternoon cruise. It was all gorgeousness and relentless
beauty (tired of hearing that yet?). Even the boat was great fun and fairly uneventful except for one, well, more that one incident. On our afternoon out on the water we struck (like ran into titanic style) other boats, not once, not twice, not even thrice….but a grand total of FOUR times. Collision one was about two feet from where I was standing so of course I took photos (after bracing myself for impact, don’t worry, it’s safety first), crash two T got on video (we knew what to look out for by then), three we barely reacted to because we were so used to it (yawn, another collision), but four…four turned out to be a doozy. Now these boats aren’t travelling all that fast so there is a certain point when you know the smack-down is coming and lumbering beasts that these boats are, there ain’t a lot that can be done to put on the breaks. So we saw it coming well before (well enough to get closer to check it out and turn on the video camera). And we hit it, and the other boat saw us coming too and were far from pleased. After we collided,
bounced off, hit again and then sort of scraped/grinded the other boat until we were free of them, there were a few tense moments when the crew members from both sides shared some choice words (and perhaps an evil eye or two). It was all in Vietnamese, so I can only guess what was exchanged, but I suspect it was something along the lines of “dude, you just hit my freakin’ boat - what is up with that!?!”
Now who’s to say whose fault it was - they may well have been in our path and I’m not up on my boating etiquette, but considering that this was the fourth collision in as many hours, my money’s on our boat being the culprit.
There are more photos below