China [September 2006] – Day 5

Posted On By Rob

Saturday, September 9th – Hong Kong Island

Shopping. Our last day in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, this wasn’t as long a trip as we would have preferred, but we had only a short window for our holiday. We decided to spend our last day on Hong Kong island.

We woke around 8:30am and finally ate a hotel breakfast before checking out. After a quick trip across the harbour in a Star Ferry, we started to explore the main island. We headed towards the "The world’s longest covered escalator according to Guinness World Records".

Our trip took us to the ‘Mid Level’ around Hollywood Rd where we located a ‘Pacific Coffee’ for coffee and use of the ‘happy room’ (Chinese euphemism for bathroom).

Exploring Hong Kong Island.

While we were taking a break, Rob did some research on antique stores in the area. We located a number of places which sold antique maps, however the prices were quite steep.


Eventually we located ‘Wattis Fine Art’ where we bought a map of the world from 1792 and a map of New South Wales from 1856 (pictured framed, below).

The store was tastefully decorated with maps and engravings from various periods in history, some were priced at well over AUD $10,000!


After leaving the store we experienced a ‘red level’ rain warning – NOT what you want while carrying a 200 year old map!

The mad scramble for something to cover the maps had begun. En route to find something, Toni took the opportunity to try on a few dresses and explore some of Hong Kong’s clothing stores.

Eventually we bought a large bag from a packaging company, and started to make our way towards the Bank of China building, anticipating the cessation of the heavy (almost cyclonic) rain.

Sticking to undercover pathways, we found some ‘hidden gems’ amongst the buildings and roadways. Eventually we gave up exploring and found a place to eat lunch.

Hidden parks between the skyscrapers / Many people about, despite the rain

Annoyed that the rain was encroaching on our remaining few hours in Hong Kong, we eventually did some shopping in the Pacific Place shopping centre.

The infamous Chungking Mansions on Nathan Rd in Kowloon

After another bout of shopping (including a nice Napoleonic Army figurine) we decided to return to Kowloon to store our collection of purchases at the hotel where the staff obligingly repackaged everything ready for travel.

Toni decided she wanted to look at sneakers, so we headed over to the Ocean Terminal shopping mall which was about a half hour on foot. We arrived and had a few minutes, but Rob miscalculated the time, so the visit was cut short.

We headed back, via the Peninsula hotel where Rob found time to buy a shirt from famed ‘Gieves and Hawkes’ (of Savile Row, by appointment to members of the Royal family).

The Peninsula Hotel, Kowloon

Shortly afterwards, we were picked up from the hotel and taken out to Lantau island for our return flights to Sydney.

The view from dockside, Kowloon

Afterthoughts : Hong Kong, Macau and China

These memories, as you have read them, were transcribed from hand written notes which were written when we were visiting Hong Kong. Writing about our various trips is a fun exercise and unlocks many events abroad which had otherwise faded into the past.

In retrospect, we really enjoyed Hong Kong and China. The area is very exotic and unique and we didn’t really have any trouble while we visited. Some areas might be, perhaps, unwise to visit although we never felt at any time particularly uncomfortable.

Although Hong Kong is generally quite packed, and it is rare to find a space to yourself this is both a blessing and a curse.

What Hong Kong lacks in historic or cultural landmarks it makes up for with ambiance, variety and efficiency. Public transport is simply brilliant, and Octopus cards are a brilliant idea.

There’s such an abundance of excellent attractions and sights that you could never see everything in one trip, and we wouldn’t hesitate to go on a return trip.

Macau was underwhelming, the interesting aspects are overshadowed by the focus on gambling which has perhaps taken away from some of the more interesting aspects of this former colony.

Shenzhen was very interesting, and it is a shame we only had the half day there. One day we would love to visit Beijing and Shanghai to see more of modern China.

It was a short trip, but we managed to fit a lot into it. Highly recommended.


Up Next: Archives/Flashback

USA 2007 (Trip A) – Our trip to Hawaii, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles in February 2007.  Stay Tuned!

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