Last weekend it was Qing Ming Spring Festival (pronounced Ching Ming) and we had 4 days off. Hong Kong is close, so it was an easy trip to do a long weekend. We flew into Shenzhen, a boarder entry point in China, because it was much cheaper especially on a long weekend.
We flew out Saturday and John has met a pilot that lives in our building. He flies for the airline we were taking and he tried to pilot our flight. He wasn’t able to, but a friend of his was flying that same flight. With a phone call he had John and I upgraded to first class! There is so much room, real plates and cutlery and more comfortable seats… nice change to the squishy cattle class. Too bad they don’t fly Air Canada… a long haul flight with room and a seat to actually lay down would be so much nicer!
When we arrived in Shenzhen and we took a bus to the subway and that brought us to the check point. Just like crossing into the US we could walk across and be in a new country. I always thought of Hong Kong as an Island, I didn’t realize how large Hong Kong was and attached to part of mainland China. We crossed a small river using a foot bridge and entered into Hong Kong, went through customs and on the other side was a subway to take us into our hotel. Our hotel was right beside the subway/train, so that was really easy.
Hong Kong is much further south and it was hot. By the time we arrived it was almost dinner time, so we ate and then went for a swim in the hotel pool. We decided to turn in early so we could have a full day in Hong Kong the next day.
As we took the train to our hotel I was thinking how much the area reminded me of the Philippines -our drive from Manilla to the coast where we took the boat to the resort. There was country side, lots of green space, and poor housing… not what I imagined Hong Kong to be. All the photos and descriptions from people are always big city, tall buildings. When we got closer to the hotel the tall high rises became more and more numerous.
The next morning we went off to Hong Kong Island. Our stop was at a large mall and the first thing I saw was MAC make-up! The Canadian make-up company (this make up is very good and used by many make-up artists!). We went inside and I bought a few things… it was a bit cheaper than home. We continued wandering the mall and decided this was not the place for us… Gucci, Rolex, Armani… all big name designers that we cannot afford. As we walked out onto the street things were not much better… Louis Vutton, Chloe, more Gucci… Everyone I have talked to says Hong Kong is a great shopping place, they forgot to mention for the Rich and Famous, not middle class teacher! I later found out the brands are cheaper here than China, but still not what I can afford. I cannot justify spending so much on 1 thing that will be out of style next season! It was nice to look in the windows, but the prices would be above my monthly salary at most places. And the “if you have to ask, then you can’t afford” rule would apply here! We happened to see a 5 carat diamond in a shop window… 5 carats! That is a big rock! But that was puny compared to the 7 carat we saw in another store! And there were customers inside buying! With that many carats I guess they throw Bugs Bunny in with the ring!
We decided to walk along the water and we could see the main land from the island and the famous Star Ferry was constantly back and forth. A few yachts were also spotted. We later took the ferry at night and saw all the lights and a traditional Chinese Junk ferry up along the island coast.
Sunday many markets were closed, so we walked through Hong Kong Park -a large park with a pond, neat water falls, bird aviary and tons of green space. It was like a small, more upscale version of Central Park, in New York City. We walked through the park to the Peak Tram Station. Hong Kong is very hilly, so there would be great views from the top of the entire area. When we arrived at the ticket booth the line up was down the street and around the corner! Some police directing traffic said it was about a 3 hour wait! We decided to pass on the Peak and go another day. Unfortunately the next day was really cloudy and hazy, so we decided not to go since the view would be clouded in… and the whole point is for the view.
Eventually we found some cheaper shopping places and streets filled with a certain special items. We ended up on a street that was all kitchen and cooking supplies… pots, knives, cookie cutters, restaurant supplies, kitchen trinkets… John was in heaven! We went to a small jade market that sold jewellery and knick knacks. We just looked around. Our last day we went by a temple that was filled with coils of incense which you could smell long before you got close.
We enjoyed the change of scenery and got a little shopping done. It was nice to wear shorts and see some sun. It was unseasonably warm here in Shanghai in February and cool, damp and gray here in March. There is so much to see and do in Hong Kong I am sure we will go back again.
I will load up some photos later through my Hotmail account…
Stay tuned for more…. next time our school violin concert…