Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Hong Kong probably would have been more fun with more money.  You might think that would be true everywhere, but really we've found, not so much.  For one thing we arrived to a freakish cold snap.  Temps were in the 40's and it turned out our apartment (along with most of the others in Hong Kong?) didn't have heat.  I always ask about air-conditioning, but who thinks to ask about heat?  We were really cold and really depressed when we first arrived to a freezing apartment and one tiny space heater.  Upon request though the accommodating apartment manager showed up that evening with two more tiny space heaters, enough to warm up all three bedrooms and give us a good nights sleep.  I can't help thinking The Pennisula (where my good friend Jessica stayed last year) probably has a proper heater!

Along with the cold was a pervasive fog that kept us from enjoying much of any kind of view.  So the things we usually enjoy for free, the weather and the views, weren't available.

 Also one of the most important pastimes in Hong Kong, shopping, wasn't really available to us either.  The next most important thing, eating, was good at street level but not especially cheap even there, and it was hard to pass up all the world class restaurants.

Our apartment, which we were lucky to get in our budget, with three bedrooms, two baths and a great view (of the fog) was located about 30 minutes out of central Hong Kong (or more like an hour using public transportation.)   Finding our way in, both by subway and  bus, was definitely among our biggest adventures.  One night we spent an hour trying to locate the spot our apartment shuttle had let us off.  Peyton and I finally found a likely spot.  We then waited 45 minutes for the appointed pick up time. When no shuttle showed we had to take a taxi and pay a cookie bet to Wilder who insisted it wasn't the right location.  Come to find out later it was indeed the right location but I had screwed up the military times and the shuttles were no longer running.  Believe it or not that was all quite a lot of entertainment for us.

View from our living room

On Sunday we worked hard to find a Church of Christ that advertised an english speaking service, but when we showed up (on time - we were so proud) it turned out to be a Cantonese church with a wedding taking place.  Ends up we had gotten our addresses mixed up some how (are you noting a theme here?) Consolation came in the form of a neighborhood market and some really great dim sum.

The best part of Hong Kong was that by traveling further east we had gotten a little closer to home, convenience markets featured US items we hadn't seen since the PX in Germany, like Doritos and V8.  You just cannot imagine how happy that can of V8 made Mark.

Our last day turned out to be our best as the fog cleared long enough for us to take the tram to the Peak (top of Hong Kong Island.)   More fun than the tram up was our walk all the way down - super steep (my legs will be sore for days) but beautiful and a great way to see a cross section of the island.

Part of the hike down turned out to include the (free) Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.

Afterwards we caught the evening laser show (complete with inspiring music) from Kowloon.  Now this is what Hong Kong is supposed to look like!

Next stop Bangkok, where it is sure to be a lot warmer and will hopefully feature a much less fog blocked view from our high-rise apartment.

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