End of the Road - Hong Kong

April 29, 2010 - Hong Kong Island, China

Well. How depressing is this? The final entry.

Wee bit fiddly getting tae Hong Kong as we have a connection at Beijing and we almost miss it. We have tae push oor way tae the front o the queue at immigration in Beijing as we're boarding in fifteen minutes. We make it though. Then when we get tae Hong Kong and off the subway in Wan Chai it's busy as hell and we have tae walk a fair distance through the crowds wi oor heavy rucksacks. Pretty knackered by the time we get tae oor hotel which is on the tenth floor o a building which also houses - among other things - a restaurant, a mah jong club, a pool hall, a supermarket and a karaoke bar. Room is quite nifty though. We wander along the road and go for a pizza at night for the sake o easiness. That's oor excuse and we're sticking wi it.

We're in the Wan Chai area of Hong Kong which is a bit wild and fairly grubby. I reckon most o Hong Kong is like that anyway. It's only the flashy areas in Central that look a bit swish. We wander through Central on Saturday morning on the way tae finding the Peak Tram. This is the thing that takes ye up a big hill looking doon on the harbour. We figure we better get this done the day since it's nice and sunny and clear and I don't reckon ye get many days like that in Hong Kong. Certainly the seven day forecast isny that encouraging and seems everytime we see the Hong Kong fella on CNN - he's looking oot his windae at a misty harbour. Hong Kong Central is a great place tae wander aroond on a braw day. It's pretty much skyscraper valley so ye spend most o yer time looking up going 'Oooh look at this one!' and 'Wow...that's cool'. Some amazing (and very tall) buildings - The Lippo Centre, Bank of China Tower, International Finance Centre etc etc etc. A forest of glass and steel. Eventually we find the terminus for the peak tram and what wi it being sunny and Saturday the queue for the thing is fairly long. Nevertheless it only takes aboot half an hour tae get ontae the tram and...howf...up ye go. Man, it's a fairly steep wee journey. Bit scary at a couple o bits actually. Yer thinking...'Jings I hope this cable disny snap!'...ye'd go back doon thon hill at a fair rate. It disny though (obviously) and ye get a tantalising view back doon the hill on yer way up. What a view it is up there folks. Hong Kong is a guid looking place. The harbour there doon below ye and all those skyscrapers built all the way up the hill. Ye could look at it for hours. Rest o the place is a bit tacky tae be honest. Theres a big, curvy ramp-like building that is the viewing platform that ye actually need tae pay extra tae get up tae and we havny paid. Then there are hunders o tacky souvenir shops and a Madam Tussauds. There are a couple o proper shops aswell though and some cafes and restaurants. There's a Burger King! I've no had a Burger King for ages so I talk Jacs intae going so I can get a Bacon Double Cheeseburger. I love Bacon Double Cheeseburgers. I am dismayed tae find they have put barbecue sauce on it! I like barbeque sauce but no on a BDC! Bun, Burger, Bacon, Cheese. That's it Hong Kong! That's all it needs. Flipping barbecue sauce! What's that aw aboot.

Anyway we spend aboot an hour up the peak and then, too tight tae have paid for a return ticket on the tram, we walk back doon the hill. Certainly a guid workoot for the calves walking doon that hill. It's fairly steep. Winds through what seems like some sort of jungle. Ye still catch some braw views through the trees though on the way doon. Ye pass some eejits walking up it! Widny fancy it to be fair. Walking doon it is tough enough. I wonder how many exhausted tourists they have tae rescue fae halfway up that path every week? Onyway we seem tae be descending descending descending for ages until we eventually arrive at the ferry terminal and loup on the Star Ferry which whisks us across the harbour tae Kowloon on the mainland for all of 30p. Hows that for a cheap wee tour of the best looking harbour in the world? Sorry Sydney...Hong Kong steals it. Across the other side we get a bit bummed oot looking at posters Falun Gong supporters have got plastered up roond the ferry terminal showing quite graphic images o the torture wounds sustained at the hands of the Chinese authorities. I figure at this point Hong Kong is a bit more liberal than mainland China. A protest like this in, say, Beijing - would be very quickly dispelled. Onyway we take a wander along the Avenue of Stars which is a street dedicated to the Hong Kong film industry (3rd biggest in the world behind Hollywood and Bollywood don't ye know) which has all brass hand-prints and statues of folk like Bruce Lee. It's a nice wee daunder and by jings what a view ye have back across the harbour tae Hong Kong island. We stop at the end of the avenue in a wee bar and have a couple of pints and some nuts while digging the view. Oor guidebook calls it 'arguably the most picturesque urban landscape in the world'. Not sure aboot that but...well, I'd like tae see something that tops it, put it that way. It's different class. Just buildings! When we put oor minds tae it we can build some smart stuff eh?

Anyway it gets a bit cauld sitting there in the wind eftir a bit and we have tae scoot. The lights have already started coming on by this time and it's looking even better than it did in the sunlight. By the time we get back over tae the Island, all the lights are on and we wander back tae Wan Chai through those neon lit towers, fairly happy wi oorsels it's gotty be said.

Thing is...that Saturday is the only day I can remember clearly. We've spent the last week more or less just wandering back and forward tae thon Central area and walking aroond through the buildings and it's all kindy blended in together. We've checked oot Hong Kong Park, which is lovely and the botanical gardens, which is...alright. We wandered through wee markety streets near Hollywood road and spent ages looking at the wares...hard tae tell if they are antiques or tourist tat. We spent a night doon at the Exhibition and Conference Centre and watched the wee laser light show that they have everynight at 8pm for 15 mins. This is quite a mad thing. It's like ye have dancing lights on aboot 40  buildings either side of the bay. Must have taken some organising that. Another day we went over tae Kowloon on the ferry for a wee look. And what a shitehole Kowloon is. It really is. It was Jacs' birthday on Tuesday and we could not for the life of us think o anything that exciting tae get up tae. We ended up gaun tae the pictures tae see The Ghost Writer (which was very good) and gaun for a nice Chinese meal. We could have gone tae one of the outlying islands, there's a big Buddha on one o them, but we couldny really be arsed. We've seen Buddha's. Big ones too. We could even have gone tae Macau, the old Portugese colony aboot 60km away, but again - nae inclination. I think maybe we are all touristed oot. I guess what I'm trying tae say is...Hong Kong Island is a great place tae see but ye rather quickly run oot o things tae dae withoot putting in a bit of effort tae go here or there. Or maybe we just didny try hard enough. I dunno...anyway glad we came. That harbour is something else.

And so that's it folks. I'm signing off noo. It's been raining all day in Hong Kong the day so we've hardly been oot the hotel. We'll be getting in a taxi in aboot 5 hours tae go tae Hong Kong International Airport where we catch a flight to Heathrow and then a connecting flight to dear old Edinburgh, Scotland. We should be in oor flat in less than 24 hours if all goes smoothly.

Hard to believe it's over. It has been an absolute blast. Thanks for reading, thanks for yer comments and see ye all soon.


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Pictures

67
Bank of China Tower At Night
Hong Kong Movie
Misty Harbour
 
 

7 Comments

Jennifer Lally:
April 29, 2010
Can't believe it's the end?! You've been entertaining me for months now, I'll miss your special take on the world around us :-)
April 29, 2010
Welcome home McP's.

Ye will huv hud yer tea tho eh?
Graz:
April 29, 2010
Whit a fabby blog. Catch up wi ye soon laddie (and lassie).
Sam:
April 30, 2010
Can't believe it is all over and I am soooooooooo excited about seeing you both on Sunday.

I am really going to miss your blogs and as Jennifer put it so brilliantly "your special take on the world" but in all honesty I would rather have you back home than read your blog!

Luv ya McPs, see you Sunday.
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Ron:
May 1, 2010
This has been brilliant guys. Thanks for the vicarious vacation!
Gaz Nevi:
May 2, 2010
Welcome home The McP's.

Been following you on the map, what a time you must have had. Got ti catch up.

Aw the best.
Elliot:
May 3, 2010
That's you back already...man I was enjoying the peace and quiet...take the long route back will you, maybe through Murmansk or something.....
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