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Published: August 23rd 2011
We stepped off the plane into a grey and rainy Hong Kong. We took a bus (which had wifi – AMAZING) into the city and found some rather expensive and truly horrid accommodation in Chung King Mansions. £15 a night for a tiled cupboard that feels like a toilet is apparently good value in HK. Once we had gotten over the shock of how much it was going to cost us to get our china visas we handed over our passports to a little Indian man who told us we could pick them up at 2pm tomorrow. We slept for the rest of the night.
In the morning we first went for breakfast – HK’s version of sausage and egg – then explored the area around Chung King Mansions and happened to see the Big Bus Tour double-decker (which we were already considering buying a ticket for) stopped nearby. We hopped on and bought ourselves 48 hour tickets. We thought the tickets were good value and a good way to get to know the city, apparently no one else did as we were the only ones on the bus!
The bus took us around the Kowloon area whilst we
safe, strong and also very cheap
listened to a very English voice telling us about the city and the culture. We stayed on all the way round and hopped off where we started to take a walk down the Avenue of Stars where all the Chinese movie stars have plaques dedicated to them on the pavement, some with hand prints and signatures. We only recognised three, Brice Lee (of whom there is also a statue), Chow Yun Fat and of course good old Jackie Chan! The highlight was the small girl concentrating on her kung fu moves on top of Bruce Lee’s plaque.
We headed back to Chung King Mansions to collect our visas but when we got there were told that Angelo’s was refused. We had two options, try again through another route which would leave us stuck in HK for another 4 days or go somewhere else instead of China. We decided to retry and were assured the chances were 99% this time. We didn’t mind being stuck in HK so much, except for that it’s so expensive and we were living in a toilet room.
Angelo was a little upset for a while that China didn’t want him to visit so
in the evening we took a look around the Temple Street night market where we couldn’t resist purchasing a few more souvenirs for our house that we don’t actually have. We finished the night with a drink at Murphy’s Irish pub .
We walked to the jetty the next morning to take the star ferry over to Hong Kong Island where we boarded the Big Bus for the HK tour. We got off half way to get on the peak tram which takes you up to Victoria peak for magnificent views and of course more shopping!
By the time we came down it was getting on a bit so we got back on the bus and finished off the tour. We killed some time in a bar before getting on the night bus tour which took us back over to Kowloon to see the sights at night although seemed to consist mainly of sitting in traffic and breathing in fumes for two hours whilst listening to the same commentary as the day time Kowloon tour. After the tour we decided to call it an early night as Debbie was feeling a bit queasy.
We still had until 11.40am
left on our bus tickets so we were up and on the ferry early to do the Stanley loop. We stayed on for most of the sights and saw where all the rich people in Hong Kong live and hang out! We got off on the way back to do the included Sampan (traditional boat) tour which was ok. Quite cool to see the contrast between the skyscrapers and the little boats sitting on the water below them.
We took a local bus back to the main shopping area for a look around the malls but didn’t end up buying much for a change! As the shopping trip had been unsuccessful we took a trip to the Ladies Market in the evening which was much more interesting than the fancy malls! We stopped off for some sweet and sour chicken and a plate of Chinese broccoli which was a tad tricky to eat with chop sticks even with our new advanced chop stick skills!
The following morning we had a lie in and strolled back down to Murphy’s Irish pub for a bit of “Sunday carvery” which turned out to be a pretty fancy Sunday dinner. It has
been 5 months since we had anything of the sort and we really appreciated the mash potato. We lazed for the day and went to the market again in the evening.
We spent Monday morning being lazy and looking around the shops around Nathan Road. We headed up to the Visa office for the moment of truth. Angelo’s visa application was…….. Successful! Woop! We gathered all our stuff and said our goodbyes to Hong Kong. We took the train across the border into Shenzhen as we had been told this was the cheapest way to get to Shanghai. First we took the metro to the North Railway station where after about an hour of searching found out there were no trains here…. What now? So we were directed to another station where we eventually found the queue we were supposed to be in. We got to the counter just in time before it closed but it turned out there were no tickets left to anywhere we needed to go unless we wanted to stand up for 24 hours. No thanks. We considered the bus but had heard bad things about it. We enquired about flights which were double the
price of the bus. By the time we had made up our minds to fly it was too late to catch the last flight to Shanghai so we just took the 1 hour metro ride to the airport and bought ourselves the next tickets available to Shanghai. This involved a 12 hour overnight wait in the airport without air con.
Happy times and Welcome to China!
Deb & Ang
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