Good Evening (and yes, I'm saying that like Dracula),
We just got home from a day of touring Hong Kong. Vuong initially wanted to do it on his own. I kept begging for an orgainzed tour after we wandered here and there and everywhere looking for a bus stop. As luck would have it, we made it by bus to the long line for the tram to the top of Victoria Peak. We must have looked like lost tourists, because a girl from a touring company approached us and asked if we'd like to buy the tour. Which we did. So, although we still did a bit of wandering, at least we knew where we were and where we were trying to go.
Our day started with a walk through Victoria Park. It was nice and cool, but of course super humid as you will see in my pictures later. (I know, I know! I'm in the business center of the hotel while Vuong is out trying to find something to eat. He says it's going to be from a street vendor. All I hope is that he makes it!) Anyway, we saw lots of elderly people in wheelchairs enjoying the day outside. There also some people doing Tai Chi which was interesting. We (finally) found the bus and made it to Victoria Peak. After we paid for our tour, we rode the tram to the top. It was great! Once at the top, we meandered around through the mall and shops at the top as well as enjoyed taking lots of pictures of the panoramic view from the top. It was hazy today so my pictures of the bay and buildings across the harbor at Kowloon aren't so great. Such is life.
After we took the tram down, we got on the double decker bus to start our tour. It was so nice to just sit and listen to the history of Hong Kong on the little headphones they gave us. We saw all kinds of stuff and took lots of pictures along the way.
Then we ventured onto the Star Ferry, which I'm sure is safe, but seemed a little rickety shakes. It was only a passenger ferry so there only people and no cars. It was full. After clinging to the side for my dear life (and I rode a ferry to and from work daily when I lived in Galveston!) we made it to Kowloon. We walked to The Peninsula Hotel for tea. It was ooooh-la-la fancy. We waited for about an hour for our table, but the experience was worth it. While sipping (you bet with our pinky fingers up!) our afternoon tea and enjoying our finger sandwiches and pastries, we were serenaded by a quartet. Very nice.
From there we got back on the bus for more of the tour, and got off so that we could go to the Ladies Market, the Electronics Street, and the Temple Street Night Market. The Ladies Market was very crowded and lots of ladies were begging us to let them give us massages. One lady kept trying to convince me that it would feel good. After that curled up position I spent on the plane, believe me, ANY kind of massage would feel great, but all I could think about was WHERE would she be giving me this massage? The street was closed and was lined with makeshift tents stocked with a variety of counterfeit goods. I didn't see any massage tables, so I can only guess. We DO still have tomorrow, so maybe my post will be super interesting tomorrow night. (Or maybe not!) We walked and walked and walked down the Electronics Street, which was fun. Lots and lots of phones and computers for sale. We bought a web cam because we forgot ours. Finally, we made it to the Temple Street Night Market. It was in the Frommer's Hong Kong book on the list of things to do. It was mostly just little trinkets. A few places had jade and silver. Most places had toys. We didn't see anything we could live without. But then, as Vuong was talking, mid sentence I hear him say, "Uhhhhhhhhhh, ok?" I looked to my right and all I can say is that this woman's booth would have put the Pure Romance lady outta business. Right there, out in the middle of the street for kids to see and touch. Vuong wanted to ask if she really made a living selling that stuff. I told him it was possible, just ask Michele French! That's probably the funniest thing that's happened so far unless you count the time this morning when Vuong wanted to ask for directions, so he said, "I'm gonna ask this white guy" who was walking toward us. Then he asked, and the guy never even looked at him. It was classic.
So, we're having fun. It's starting to sink in that we will meet Parker soon. Soon, as in Monday afternoon, soon. This place doesn't feel like I thought China would feel. Maybe because even though it's China-like as in the people, the food, the language, all the signs are still in English. I'm probably getting spoiled and will be in for a big shock once we get to Nanning on Sunday. Which will be good, because right now I feel like I'm in a mix of places-- Mexico with all the vendors (both food and goods), New Orleans because of all the old buildings and dirty sidewalks, and on Buford Highway in Georgia because of all the markets and stands. I'm hoping that China will feel like someplace I have never, ever been. Who wants to go half way around the world for the first time and feel like you've already been there?
I forgot to mention that last night, I was extremely excited to get my first stamp in my passport. Even though my 6 year old niece beat me last summer by visiting London, it was still a huge occassion for me. :o)
Also, our adventures getting to the hotel last night included planes, trains, and automobiles. And they drive on the other side of the street here which kind of freaks me out. I'm just glad I don't have to drive here. We'd be in bad, bad shape if I did!
I guess that's it for tonight. I need to hop in the shower. After walking 514 miles today, I'm definitely due for one. Flying here, Vuong said it might be a good idea for me to try not to take any showers on this trip. He only said that because that flight was the longest I've probably ever gone without a shower in my entire life! I've waited 12 hours today, so it's time!
Good Night All, (Or Good Morning, depending on when you read this!)