First, I was wrong. This is not a western city. It merely looks like one from afar. Once you get close and personal, it is Asian to the core. To my eyes, this means exotic, unusual, enigmatic and fascinating.
I have seen such sights! I could spend years here and never understand it all.
Secondly, in the last week, Honkers has experienced record breaking temperatures (hottest in 100 years). I was not being histrionic - it’s a bloody sauna out there!
Thirdly, the subway here is a cinch. Even I am able to get around. Purchase an Octopus card 50 HK dollars deposit - you can get that back and any unused credit when you’re done.
Lastly, our Salisbury Road YMCA has proved to be a moderately priced gem of a place. It is located next to the very grand Peninsula Hotel, it has a subway entrance right outside, good views of Hong Kong Islsnd and it has been our air conditioned home away from home. Great brekkie too. I would thoroughly recommend it!
On the second to last day, Mark and I did
yet another hot and sticky self guided walk of the wholesale district. To
get a feel for why it was weirdly fascinating, please refer to the photos I took. There were lots of well fed cats in the stores where desiccated fish products were being sold. Coincidence?
Later on the walk, a gorgeous little shop just off Hollywood Road called “Fools Rush In” had caught my eye. There was a tiny wooden cage in the window with what appeared to be toy crickets inside. I entered the shop. Striking up a conversation with the attendant, I asked some questions about the now chirping insects. They were for sale. These crickets, apparently from northern China, are much bigger than the local variety and valued for their song. And they like to eat boiled rice! (Check out the facebook page for a video of a cricket delicately eating rice: fools.rush.in.hk)
We have visited this part of the old town often and I really love it. Here the old and new can be found side by side. There are antique shops galore along Hollywood Road as well as trendy cafes, bars, eateries and art galleries. In one cafe where we rested called Urban Coffee Roaster, three gorgeous young things were filming a segment about
going vegan in Honk Kong, a rather difficult thing to do I would imagine.
But be warned: the laneways are steep and there is lots of climbing up and down in this part of town.
Dinner on Thursday was at a venue called the Starry Terrace on the 21st floor of some building in our part of town. The room had a faded seventies grandeur feel about it but the food was wonderful (soft shell crab and shrimp appetiser, twice boiled soup with mushrooms, steamed crab claw with Chinese wine). We then had a night cap in the lobby of the Intercontinental which is right on the water - if you come to Hong Kong, do not miss this place at night, this is surely one of the best views. My photography does not do it justice. It is spectacular!
On Friday, our last full day in the city, we decided to escape the relentless heat and visited The Hong Kong Museum of History. It was thorough, interesting and free. Also, air conditioned. That afternoon, we enjoyed high tea at our neighbouring hotel, The Peninsula. Our last night was spent catching up with our friend Madeleine for dinner.
We met at Staunton’s (a very buzzy bar, corner of Staunton and Shelley Streets in SoHo) and then dined in an atmospheric nearby restaurant, Monogamous. It was a great way to finish a wonderful holiday.
I am sure I will return to Hong Kong as I have fallen just a bit in love with it. There is so much to see here and I would like to experience the place under more favourable climactic conditions. And next time, maybe a tiny mammoth carving can come home with me? What are the customs implications for that I wonder...
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