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Published: February 25th 2014
HONG KONG 21st
We were due to arrive at 10.30am but due to rough seas, we were running late and didn’t dock until about 14.00hrs at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, about 10kms from the City Centre. It’s a new cruise terminal (once was the old airport!) and we took the free Port shuttle bus at 15.00hrs to Telford Plaza – the nearest MTR (Metro) station!
The idea was to catch the metro to Mong Kok and then pick up the Big Bus from there. (We had already bought a 48hr ticket online!) The metro is fairly easy and cheap to use, and after changing a HKD$500 note to get some obligatory coins for the metro, we got off at Mong Kok station, as we could see from the map that the Big Bus ran nearby! It’s a huge station with about 10 different exits so majorly confusing to orientate yourself ( especially as we needed to go up and down a couple of times for the toilet!!).
It was now about 17.00hrs and we kept seeing the Big Bus but was completely unable to find a bus stop and gave up and visited Ladies market
and the Goldfish Market instead! Caught a No 1 Bus down Nathan Road to the Waterfront and had a wander around the Star Ferry Dock before getting a taxi back to the ship (the taxi fare was only HKD$86 so quite reasonable).
The next day was disembarkation day – our luggage was put outside our cabin last night for collection, and we left the ship at about 8.15am. Luggage was ready for collection in the terminal and we waited outside for our Transfer Coach (Holiday Taxis) to the Hotel due at 9.00am. Got on the waiting coach at 8.45am but unfortunately couldn’t leave until 9.35am as two people had not turned up!!!
Got to the Cosmos Hotel (now called the Dorsett Hotel) in Mongkok district, checked in (room not yet ready!) and walked for about 15mins back to Nathan Road. Caught the bus down to the Star Ferry again, and eventually found a Big Bus Rep and the office where we had to convert our Internet Vouchers for tickets!
Caught the Star Ferry across to Hong Kong island and boarded a waiting Big Bus to do the Red Route around the island. Took quite a while as
the traffic was quite heavy and when we got back to the Star Ferry Terminal, we changed over to the Green Route. Got off at the Peak Tramway and queued for about 25mins (Having a Big Bus Ticket means that you can officially queue jump!) for the steep funicular railway to Victoria Peak. It was quite hazy up there and time was getting on so we decided it would be quicker to get a taxi (HKD$49) back down instead of queuing up again for the return funicular and, as we got out of the taxi, we were lucky enough to jump straight onto another Green Bus!
Went past the Golden Bauhinia Square which is an open area in Wan Chai North, outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The square is named after its centrepiece, a giant statue of a golden Bauhinia Blakeana. The sculpture is 6 metres high and depicts a bauhinia standing on a pillar of red granite. The Square was the location for the 1997 handover ceremony when Hong Kong ceased to be a British Colony, and became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region under Chinese Rule.
The "Forever Blooming Bauhinia" Sculpture is a
gift from the Central Government of China to the people of Hong Kong, to mark the return of the territory to the Motherland after more than 150 years and is very important landmark to the people of Hong Kong! We missed the flag raising ceremony at 8.00am!!
The round trip takes about 2hrs but is well worth doing as it takes you passed the Happy Valley racecourse, through Aberdeen Tunnel to the south of the Island. Its very pretty with coastal views of the islands and Repulse Bay (where the Pirates and Smugglers used to trade!) and takes you out to Stanley – another pretty little place with a market, beach and restaurants. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop as we wanted to visit Aberdeen Harbour and have our sampan ride (included in our Big Bus Ticket!)
It was quite a pretty little place with loads of old fishing boats in the harbour (Its called Aberdeen because the harbor looks like Aberdeen in Scotland!!) sampans where some of the people still live, a floating restaurant and surrounded by these huge modern tower blocks. Had a walk along the promenade, past all the boats and fish restaurants –
very pleasant (even though its still cold!!)
We had to wait quite a while for the next bus, which took us back to the Ferry and then back to Middle Road, by The Peninsular Hotel for our Night Bus Trip at 19.00hrs. Bit disappointing as we seemed to go up a lot of streets with no lights but we did drive past Ladies Market (again!) and Temple Street Market and along part of Nathan Road. Wandered back to the waterfront where we watched the Symphony of Lights (Laser Show) at 20.00hrs before getting a bus back up Nathan Road and walking back to our hotel! Our first night on dry land for quite a while – feels very strange!
Got up early on our last day in Hong Kong and walked through Fa Yuen Street market to the Flower Market and then to the Bird Garden! The flowers were beautiful – loads of orchids and chrysanthamums but the Bird Garden was the most interesting. Loads of little song birds hung up in individual bamboo cages singing and calling to each other and the Chinese men wandering about taking their own caged bird ‘for a walk’ and chatting to
each other and comparing birds!!
Caught a bus down Nathan Road to Kowloon Park where, as it was a Sunday, we hoped to see a lot of activity. We weren’t disappointed and there were a couple of Tai Chi classes going on as well as the local moslem women congregating for picnics and a natter, taking their knitting and embroidery with them and sat in groups on plastic sheeting! We had also seen these picnics on an ‘overpass’ on the way back from the markets and can only assume its because they don’t have gardens or outside space at home so use any public space that they can to meet up!
The Park also had a lake of courting flamingoes and an aviary with parrots and hornbills as well as a maze and rose garden so it made for a really pleasant walk. Oh and it also had free wifi which made it even better!!
Walked up Nathan Road to Tin Hau Temple built about 1800 and dedicated to the Goddess of Seafarers. Not sure what it was all about but loads of joss sticks burning and bell banging and a group of three people moving around
praying to each of the shrines and ringing a small bell as they go! A group of people were sat in one corner eating their lunch and in the other corner a group of people were using their mobile phones!! Very smoky!!
Had a quick look at the Jade Market nearby and then strolled down the local back street fruit and vegetable markets before catching the bus back up Nathan Road and walking back to the Hotel to wait for our transfer to the airport. Arrived on time at 15.00pm, flight from Hong Kong to Dubai was nearly 9hrs (clocks went back 4hrs) and sat in the airport waiting for next flight Dubai – Gatwick. Catching the National Express coach arriving home about 14.00pm local time on 24th
Total Distance travelled on the Balmoral, Dubai - Hong Kong 6069 Nautical Miles
YEAR OF THE HORSE
1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
Horse people are active and energetic. They have plenty of appeal and know how to dress. Horses love to be in a crowd, maybe that is why they can usually be seen in such occasionslike comcerts, theatres, meetings, sporting
occasions and of course, parties. The horse is very quick witted and is right in there with you before you have had the chance to finish what you are saying. He's onto the thought in your mind even before you've expressed it. In general, the Horse is gifted. But in truth they are really more cunning than intelligent - and they know that! That is probably why, most of the horse people lack confidence. Chinese believe that because horses are born to race or travel, all Horse people invariably leave home young. The Horse despises being pressured to act for the good of the group or made to feel guilty. No matter how integrated they seem to be, a Horses inner self remains powerfully rebellious. Although they have boundless energy and ambition, Horses have a hard time belonging. The Horse is hot blooded, hot headed and impatient. Horse people are a bit of an egoist, well, selfish sometimes, that it is rare for them to interest themselves in any problems except their own. And though this egoist works only for themselves, and for their own success, their work nevertheless benefits everybody!
Well - I suppose that sums me up
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