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Published: December 10th 2014
HongKong Central is where all the money is. People are dressed to the nines; men in suits and ties with wrinkle free white shirts sporting real shoes, women in tailored outfits with matching pumps, handbags, hairdoos and makeup, all traipsing past Gucci, Paiget, Lalique, Cartier, Bulgari /Bulgravi, Mont Blanc and all those other names too. And amognst this jungle of designer wear and high finance housed in ever higher reaching glass spindles n the sky who comes along but Barbara in her MEC pants, beat up hiking boots and raspberry red backpack. I am wearing a Ralph Lauren shirt knockoff with polo rider and altered made-to-fit-the-length-of my-arm-sleeves. And I did buy comfy black and yellow sandals at the Stanley Street Market.
I trudged up Ice House Road to number 38 and found the MiniCentral Hotel ... emphasis on the MINIMINIMINI ... 8x10 of my sandaled feet! OK so it only costs $92/nite but I am down the street from all those pricy shops. No charge for gloating! BIG difference from Nina Towers ...no idea what a room cost there but my room is the size of their bathroom!
The following info is according to the local guide which he shared during an added tour($80CAD)on the 8th of Dec.
HongKong-HK, has an area of 1000sq.mi. ... we are British here even driving on the left side.There are 7 million citizens and 55m visitors each year. There is no tax unless you smoke, drink or drivr a car. It costs $2500HKD for parking/month. If you need two spots i.e. one at home and one at work, its doubled. The average apartment for a family is 380sq.ft. The house in the woods that I built and sold was-is 720sq.ft. My cabin by the lake is 360 sq.ft. How big is your space?
HIT, HongKong International Terminals that has 12 berths for containers is owned by the richest man in HK Li Ka Ching. His son Victor tried to buy Air Canada but failed and it was bought by Deutsche Bank. HK is the third largest container port in Asia ... or is it the world ... Shanghai and Singapore. Where does Rotterdam fit in?
To get from HK Island to the New Territories where the hotel is we went into the 1972 built Harbour Tunnel, 80 ft below sea level and apparently surrounded by water. Have to check that!
We passed the Happy Valley Racecourse where horses are treated to swimming excercise and hoof massages.
The coldest it gets in HK is 6 to 7 degrees. The difference between a hurricane and a typhoon is that a typhoon blws counter clockwise. Who'd a thunk it?
In 1972 along with the two lane tunnel, the one wife one husband monogamy law was established.
The most popular fish eaten are red snapper and grouper, always fresh as witnessed in the market across from the Nina Towers.
On the way up to the Peak, by bus ... there is also a tram I plan on taking ... can be seen a 73 floor high condo building where each floor has 4,000sq.ft. and is one apartment! In the wind the building sways 6ft. to left and right or front to back whichever. Comparable to the CN Tower??
Back down again from the Victoria Peak the bus took us to Stanley, a community of expats on the south side of the Island. Here was made available a ride on a sampan for $60HKD. The boat took us around the fishing boats that go out at 03:00 and return with a fresh catch for the day. People living on the sampans are referred to as sea gypsies apparently not originating from HK. Their number was once 100,00 but now only 2,000 remain.
And that's about it for the info gleaned from the guide.
Apart from that its a small relief to no longer be a prisoner of the bus. Except for three impossibles the group was made up varied and interesting people. The Bahamas, the military, the pedagogists, the salesreps, the naturalists, the homemakers, the medicated and the flying free all made for quite a collection of stories and conversations.
On the 9th of Dec. most of the group was heading back to Canada and ten were continuing to Vietnam. I made my way to the post office to send things bought and those things un-necessary for the rest of the voyage. The box provided by the post cost $17HKD and shipping came to $230HKD ... $37CAD is definitely worth it. In that box is also the fried Dell Notebook. Did not mention that on the declaration but souveniers, books and old clothes should keep thieves out.
Releivde of the five kilogram weight I made my way to find the MTR (metro) to buy the Octopus card. It will allow me to ride the tram, bus, ferry and subway. At first I thought OMG this is harder to find than the TTC subway but fear not .... it was the lousy map provided by the hotel that made things a little difficult. I kept asking people and found it easily. On the way back time before the 12:00 check out allowed for a visit to the market across the street from the Nina Towers. And what a market! Fish not seen before in great abundance and all ALIVE; even the shrimpies! Did not visit the chicken section! The market was a hive of people poking squeezing and smelling the goods. The floors were slippery with plastic bags,fish scales and sloshing water.
Once the backpack was collected and everything was strapped to my body I made my final goodbyes, left my envelope for Lisa with a friend and made my way to the M.T.R. There are eleven lines and I have not yet counted the number of stops. And how simple it was. With no problem the way was found to Ice House Road because clear directions were given even to the point of what exit to take for which road. Take that TTc Toronto!
Once in the room a forray was made into the neighbourhood in the search of a pharmacy and food. In the Princess Building both were found... the pharmacisit gave me pills that seem to be doing the job of clearing up the cough and phlem and Oliver's Delicatessan supplied the makings of a lovely feast for $51CAD ... pate, brie, bread, sprouts, a $5 red pepper and a bottle of Mendoza Merlot.
The TV works, the bed is comfy and the water is hot. No laundry service but have the address for a place. The Starbucks breakfast is something to look forward to ... No?...Yes? Nine days of explorations await! Sorry no pics yet. Will find help at a computer shop soon.
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