Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Hanging out in Hong Kong

I thought I would be along the waterfront to watch the New Year fireworks, but with all of the Immigration clearance delays and long line for the Airport Express Train, I arrived just as the smoke from all of the fireworks was clearing Victoria Harbor. The crowds for the show were huge and many continuing to party at some of the many bars and restaurants in the Kowloon area. I guess I will have to check out the fireworks on YouTube instead.

Early morning took the Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak for breakfast and the view. Unfortunately all of the restaurants there were not opening until 10 AM or later. I ended up just taking a few pictures of the city below and then took the Tram back down to find a breakfast spot.

This Tram line has been operating since 1888 and when the British first occupied Hong Kong, they prohibited any Asians from living up on this Peak.

It was a very steep route with few passengers on this early New Year's day.
In addition to the MTR subway system, there are lots of double decker buses and these double decker trams they call ding dings from the sound of the warning bells they use.
I ended up having a stuffed won ton and noodle soup breakfast in the Mid-Level area of Hong Kong Island before returing on the Star Ferry to Kowloon and my Chungking Mansion hotel.
On the way, I spotted this huge Apple Store straddled over the Metro Central area. Everyone works over their smart phones while riding the public transportation or walking along.

Here are the Star Ferries that ply between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon even now with the MTR subways. It is a fun and short ride for just under 50 cents per ride.

The Tin Hau Temple was near my hotel in Kowloon and I enjoyed seeing and smelling these big coils of incense that were offerings to the Godess of Seafarers among others. It was established around the 1800's.



Another must see temple I visited was the Man Mo Temple which was dedicated to the Gods of Literature and War----quite a contrast. The sandalwood coils were even better here, plus you can have your fortune told here as well---I like surprises so I did not partake.

Despite all of the high rises and modern buildings and facilities, there are still many local markets on some of the side streets with some just setting up in the evenings like the Temple Stree Night Market. There are also some public markets in multi-story buildings. On the weekends, late afternoons and evenings, you begin to realize how many people live in this small area as the sidewalks and subways become jammed with people.




There are also a number of Chinese medicinal shops selling all kinds of strange potions. This one features deer fetuses, tails, antlers, and sex organs along with ginseng.

Kowloon Park was just across from my hotel and they had lots of these comic book action characters. A big swimming complex, all kinds of sports courts and areas for tha chi and other movement activities plus a few ponds complete with some pink flamingos hanging out in the rain along with an aviary.



Here they seem to prefer bamboo scaffolding instead of the metal scaffolding we tend to use. This worker is dismantling the scaffolding with help from a couple workers standing below.

Lots of infrastructure construction going on all around Hong Kong, something that is not happening very much back home. This is some improvement in the Kowloon MTR station along with future buildings over the station.
One day it rained the entire day so I spent it riding the subway lines and unfortunately most were underground. I also did some mall crawling and ended up at the top of the iSquare building for some terrific views of the bay and Hong Kong.
Here is a view of my hotel entrance from the cover of the iSquare building.

Every night at 8 pm, they put on a light show at the harbor with a combination of laser lights and dancing lights decorating the buildings around Victoria Harbor. Lots of folks gather along the sea walls and promenades to watch the 20 minute show.

Next stops---Thailand and Cambodia.

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