Ok, maybe it didn't exactly explode but it sure felt like it was imminent. But let me back up a bit! Our last little excursion out of China found us in Hong Kong and Macau for a week, three nights in each location. We decided to stay in a couple of hotels this time around which I booked online with no problem along with the flights. You never know how its gonna turn out when you blindly make reservations for places you know nothing about but with the variety of travel sites nowadays and the online testimonials, you can get a pretty good idea of what different hotels and/or hostels are like.
We arrived in Hong Kong last Sunday night on a sunny, fairly nice day, compared to our last trip there when it rained almost every day during our stay. I have been nursing a teeny, tiny little bump on my second toe for the last few weeks. I thought it might have been some kind of insect bite but really didn't think much of it. It had been almost disappearing and then would swell up a bit so that it was once again visible but it was so
small I thought that it would eventually disappear for good. However, it was not to be the case. As I walked around Hong Kong that first day, the pain became worse and worse. When we got back to the hotel that evening, I checked it out. The whole toe was swollen from one end to the other and excrutiatingly painful. By this point, I could barely walk on the thing. I had visions of waking up the next morning with a totally black toe, being the drama queen that I am!! I checked out the walk-in clinic next door to the hotel but there were no doctors available until the next morning so I decided to wait till then to get it looked at.
To make a long story short, it did turn out to be some kind of bite that had got infected and spread quickly for some reason. But for 40 Canadian bucks, I got a consultation with the doctor and enough drugs to get rid of the problem over the next week. It put a damper on the first day or two since I could barely walk but within a couple of days, with the help
of the antibiotics and other stuff, it was almost back to normal. It never seems to be a problem finding medical care, both here in Wuhan and when we are traveling. The doctors are always great and the medication is cheap/
The l'hotel Causeway Bay in Hong Kong was wonderful...nice big room and right across from the subway station. We spent one day shopping around the malls, especially for books. We love going to Hong Kong to get English books and software. The Hong Kong dollar is pretty much on par with the RMB and some places will actually accept Chinese currency. Actually, the owner of the little cafe we ended up having breakfast in each day said she would accept our Chinese money but would not accept American currency. "The American dollar will soon be worthless" were her exact words. 'Some attitudes are certainly changing.
The next day, we both went or separate ways. I went to Lantau Island and Nancy went to Disneyland. She didn't really want to go up the high gondola, being afraid of heights and all that and I didn't have a lot of interest in Disneyland.
Lantau's claim to fame these
days is the Ngong Ping 360, which combines a 5.7 km cable car journey with a cultural themed village and easy access to the Tian Tan Buddha Statue, the world’s largest, seated, outdoor, bronze Buddha statue. "The Ngong Ping Cable Car travels between its Tung Chung and Ngong Ping Cable Car Terminals. It is a visually spectacular 25-minute experience providing panoramic views of the Tian Tan Buddha Statue, the flora and fauna of the beautiful North Lantau Country Park, Tung Chung Bay and the Hong Kong International Airport." I shared the gondola on the way up with a couple from Mexico City. They had been touring China and were quite impressed with everything they had seen so far.
On Ngong Ping Plateau, one can visit the Tian Tan Buddha (or "Giant Buddha"), an 85-foot-high bronze Buddha statue, various monastery buildings and a lot of restaurants and touristy shops. It seems that wherever there is a Buddhist temple or statue in Asia, there is a tourism site. Somehow the religious aspects seem to be taking the back seat to the hordes of tourists. This place was no exception. What was once a tranquil monastery hideaway at the top of this
hillside is now a major tourist destination, complete with a tacky Chinese village replica, Starbucks and several beer gardens. As I write, there is much more construction occurring at the site. Eventually, it will be difficult to find the monastery among the new concrete statues, gigantic archways and pathss. But despite all this, it is a great ride up on the gondola with incredible views of the surrounding countryside.
Nancy had a great time at Disneyland. It is a small version of the North American ones but she said it was still big enough to have fun.
Later in the week we traveled by ferry over to Macau. Historically, Macau was a Portuguese colony but was returned o China the same time as Hong Kong. It is sin city in these parts and has always been known for its sprawling casinos and sex workers. It is the one area in China where gambling is legal. Many of the large casino corporations are represented and they have surpassed North America with their annual gambling revenues. As with Hong Kong, even though it is part of China, you still have to go through another border crossing and it also has
maintained its own currency. Despite the fact that many people travel there only for the casinos, it does have a rich Portuguese history and there are lots of things to see as you walk around the area. The architecture, the food and all the signs reflect its Portuguese past.
We stayed at the 40-year-old Lisboa hotel. I think it as one of the nicest, most comfortable hotel rooms I have ever stayed in. We discovered while we were there that the ground floor was hooker haven and this fact was confirmed when I got back home and did a little research online. Yes, the Lisboa is known for its continual parade of prostitutes on the ground floor. No, I didn't know about that before we arrived....promise. One thing you rarely see in Asia is cleavage, but it was definitely abundant at the LIsboa in a big way, sometimes in a very big way. That was probably the dead give-away, lol. But, it was entertaining, the restaurants in the hotel were a bit pricey but delicious and the place was within walking distance of many local sites.
We checked out the other casinos, especially the Venetian, the second largest
building in the world, complete with canals, a false sky, and gondolas....all inside. The Macau Museum was well worth the visit as well. There are many museums in Macau and it is possible to purchase pass for all of them if you have the time or interest to make the rounds.
A fleet of Turbojet ferries connect Macau to Hong Kong as well as the Shenzhen Airport, so it is easy enough to travel back and forth. The trip across takes about an hour. We ferried from Hong Kong to Macau and then ferried directly back to the Shenzhen airport, where we were flying out of to Wuhan.
Well, the pictures can tell the rest of the story.
Tot: 0.51s; Tpl: 0.061s; cc: 9; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0411s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.3mb