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Published: August 28th 2008
Wednesday the 27th August:
Ron was still packing until 1am this morning. I soon realised having had to finish packing the day before so I could get to Louise and Colin's for a farewell dinner was not such a bad thing.
Colin and Lachlan picked us up from Ron's this morning and had us to the airport within half an hour as the traffic was fine. Check-in was very long, at least an hour to reach the counter. It was lovely to have Ron's mum and dad there to farewell us.
We left from Tullamarine on schedule at 11.50am, during the 9 hour flight I managed to watch four inflight movies, we both enjoyed and can recommend Iron Man and The Bank. I found somehow I had also been recorded as vegetarian and received the same meals as Ron, which after initialling thinking it was going to be bad, realised we got our food first and it was quite tasty so I have decided to leave it go and see what happens on the next flight.
We decided to stop near the airport on Lantau Island, we took the complimentary shuttle to the
Citygate Novotel. We had booked a room on the business floor, the room was very modern and on a high floor with a view. As we arrived late we were told we could get the complimentary afternoon tea and cocktails tomorrow which works out fine as we don't fly out until 9pm. We also have a late check out of 4pm so we both felt very happy with our hotel choice.
After having a glass of red wine, cheese and bikkies, compliments of Qantas we decided to explore the hotel. We thought we might get some supper in one of the lobby restaurants, but even better we found an escalator in the lobby that went directly to a large shopping mall, Ron has named it "a stairway to Aley's heaven". As it was about 10pm the shops were closed but we did manage to find an unsual cafe decorated with comfortable winged back chairs and softly lit table lamps where we had coffee and cake. We finally retired for the night around 11pm which would have been 1am Australia time, both fairly tired but happy with the start of our trip.
Thursday 28th August:
After a big buffet breakfast we set off on our adventure around Lantau Island. First we had to find the number 23 bus to Tai O. We were the only non-chinese boarding the bus which was full and I was happy to have a chinese lady sit next to me and act as our tour guide on the bus. By the end of the hour long journey she had offered to meet us later that day to continue showing the island but sadly we didn't have time to take up her offer as the big Buddha awaited.
Tai O was fascinating, it is a traditional fishing village, with homes built on stilts. We walked just about the whole village, it was interesting to see the fish, prawns and other unknown creatures drying in the sun. All didn't smell too bad until we walked a little out of town and discovered the fish or prawn paste drying area; very pungent.
We then worked out we need to get the number 21 bus to Nong Ping where the big buddha is located. When we arrived we set off to walk the 300 stairs to the buddha.
I was feeling the heat by this stage but Ron encouraged me to keep going until we reached the top with the promise of lunch to follow the climb.
We had a traditional vegetarian lunch in the buddhist monestry, the tea wet down very well as we both had developed quite a thirst from our hiking. The food was plain but very fresh and tasty. After all our walking we were pleased to take the spectacular cable car ride back to within a few hundreds metres of our Hotel.
After a swim we were able to enjoy afternoon in the business lounge before going back up the "stairway to heaven" for a last minute window-shop. As our flight out was delayed we were able to wait in the business lounge and have a farewell cocktail and snacks, an excellent 24 hours in Hong Kong.
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