A Week in Hong Kong 2010 – Days 4-6
So continuing on from my previous Hong Kong post it’s time to cover days 4-6 of my Hong Kong leg of my round Asia trip. Even though it has only been a short 3 days, it already felt as if I have been in Hong Kong for like a week. I can’t quite explain why this is the case. Perhaps it’s the whole convenience of stores and transport as well as the busy lifestyles of the local people. But anyway hit the jump to read coverage of days 4-6 of my Hong Kong trip.
Day 4 – 2nd September
One of the many things that kids tend to remember is going to a theme park. For me, one of the very few memories I have of Hong Kong 12 years ago was going to Ocean Park with my relatives. The only thing I remember was seeing a MASSIVE spider crab. So this day was all about a trip to Ocean Park! This is one of the few things that I did together with my friends Roobar and Blox and I’m probably sure they wouldn’t have went if I didn’t go along with them.
So the day started by heading off to Admiralty station as we only needed to find the one bus route to take us to Ocean Park (Route 629). At the bus stop you can also purchase your entrance tickets to Ocean Park which cost us roughly around $200 HKD each. I also notice that they had a sign that they do not accept $1000HKD notes. I can only speculate that they want to try and avoid counterfeit notes as it’s a similar thing here in Australia with the $100 AUD note. So once we have our tickets we were on our way.
It was quite early in the day and there didn’t appear to be too many people either, though that is to be expected of a weekday. Though it’s kind of amazing how I remember nothing of Ocean Park but the park itself has gone under renovations so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
However I do remember that the park itself is divided into two sections so we decided to head to the other side via cable car. Although a cable car ride for me is no issue, my friends on the other hand were kind of skeptical and they were telling me stories of cable car tragedies from Malaysia. Still I always liked the bird’s eye view of the land. Oh and that is my friend Blox in the photo above. He wanted me to take funny photos of him for this trip.
As you can see some parts of the park were still under construction/renovation. And still I’m amazed at the use of bamboo for scaffolding but I guess in a way it is cheaper than using steel.
Of course what kind of park would it be without wildlife? There certainly is quite a number of things to see in Ocean Park. It has been quite a while since I went to see animals in a zoo so for me this was a bit of a treat. Not to mention a chance to try out my skills at photographing animals with my Canon 7D.
So after checking out the seals, flamingos, and bird sanctuary, it was time for lunch. We headed off to the main food area as my friends wanted McDonalds. Though when we arrived, they had a bit of surprise for them. Now my two friends absolutely love Fillet-o-Fish burgers. Checking out the menu can you guess what we saw? Double Fillet-o-Fish burger!! Unfortunately I don’t have a photo but damn that was a lot of fish.
We also tried some of the games in the area. For me the only game I had a go at was the strength tester. It’s one of those games where you strike with a hammer and hope to reach the top. I had confidence in my strength but I kept missing the middle of the plate. Still I at least walked away with a consolation prize.
After lunch it was time to head to one of the places I wanted to go, and that was the aquarium. There’s always something nice about going to an aquarium.
Clown fish! I’m reminded of Finding Nemo when I see clown fish.
Nautilus. I’ve never seen a nautilus before in my life.
There was a single turtle swimming amongst the large fish, sting rays, and sharks. Surprised it doesn’t get attacked by the sharks.
Lazy shark is lazy. It was just lying by the side of the window.
The largest sting ray in the tank. It’s stinger looked about a good 2 metres in length.
The next part I was actually quite excited about though I can’t say the same about my friends. It was the Jellyfish Museum! This was also some of the best photos I’ve done throughout the trip so you can tell how excited I am.
Jellyfish certainly are fascinating creatures and in this case, can make awesome subjects in photography. Though what happened afterwards would be the most awkward experiences throughout the entire round Asia trip. As I was taking my time inside the museum, my friends were waiting outside for me. Once I came outside to meetup with them, we were suddenly approached by a complete stranger. He started talking to us in Cantonese. Since none of us speak it fluently he tried Mandarin, then Korean, then Japanese until my friend told him to speak in English.
Now this person was a preacher. He was talking to us about God and started asking us questions about our faith. For me, I pretended to go off and look at souvenirs, whilst he continued talking to my friends. But of course every time the preacher was asking a question, my friend Roobar would give his usual easy going answers. Questions were like “do you believe in hell?”, “have you ever sinned?”, “do you believe in God?”, “why do you think Jesus died for our sins?” etc. But ultimately he did tried to preach about our way of thinking and it was at this point i wanted to get away from the guy. Now I don’t have a problem of what people believe in or what kind of faith they have, but when they try to make me follow their own beliefs that’s where I draw the line.
Eventually we finally got away from him but as we walked away he was still trying to preach to us. Still this was one of the weirdest things that I have experienced on a holiday let alone in an amusement park where I’m just trying to enjoy myself. Moving on we decided to head back to the north side of the park and that meant another ride on the cable car. What we wanted to see at this point was another major attraction. Pandas!
Of course pandas I’ve only seen on TV, but its nice to see one for real. It was pretty cute seeing a panda just sit there and eat bamboo. Though I must say that despite the pandas there being about 20-24 years old, they weren’t as big as I thought they were. It does seem such a shame that such a cute animal is an endangered species. But of course these weren’t the only pandas we saw. Also at Ocean Park they had red pandas!
Unfortunately I couldn’t get a much closer shot as this is as far as my 105mm zoom could go. Their nickname is “firefox” but Roobar kept calling them raccoons. Though it’s a shame that I couldn’t get a closer look.
And that was the end of our trip to Ocean Park. We didn’t go on too many rides as my friends aren’t keen to go on rides. So we took the bus back to Admiralty and from there to head back to Jordan where our hotel was.
On the way back to Admiralty we did pass by the Happy Valley Racecourse. I was actually hoping to go here on this trip to Hong Kong but unfortunately I don’t have the spare money to bet on the horses. I think in the future I shall visit Happy Valley and try my luck at the horses here.
Also just some souvenirs to walk away with from Ocean Park. The item on the left is a red panda plush. I think the nickname firefox is what made me buy it. As for the other two, these are the consolation prizes from the games I played. Originally I did get a pirate starfish, but since Blox really wanted it I traded him for the sun with sunglasses.
A bit of resting up it was time for dinner. My friends suggested we walk up to Yau Ma Tei as they found a steak place they wanted to eat at called Steak Expert. This place was along Nathan Road but I don’t remember the exact address. It was on an upper floor of a building, but to our surprise in this building we came across a bunch of hobby stores. These hobby stores ranged from anime goodies, military, BJD, and even some sporting goods. We would explore some of these stores after dinner.
What I had ordered for myself was Pan Fried Goose Liver with Steak Expert Beef Tenderloin with Porcini Sauce. It came with a side of salad, soup of the day, and a glass of Portuguese red wine. Also these photos were taken on my iPhone4 hence the lack of quality.
Overall the food wasn’t all that great. The pan fried goose liver was probably the highlight of the dish since the salad and soup were average. The Portuguese red wine was probably the downside to the dish as it was a lot more sour than I had anticipated. And thus that covers the end of Day 4.
Day 5 – 3rd September
This day was a bit of a downer. With the typhoon that had recently passed I kind of expected rainfall sometime within our 1 week stay, and it was on this day that it came. It was also around this time that I had nothing planned to do. Though towards this period of my trip I had nothing planned since I was originally going to go to China. But with some last minute unexpected changes before I flew out, that all changed.
However before leaving on my holiday, my boss recommended that I visit the Hong Kong office. Remembering about this I decided to head off to Wan Chai to drop by the office. I was also planning on heading to The Peak as at the time it wasn’t raining. However upon arriving at Wan Chai, it was a complete downpour. Still I managed to find the office but to my surprise there was only 1 member in the office. The rest were out in China. Still I had a nice chat to the one person there but it doesn’t surprise me that they don’t know me. My work doesn’t really have me involved with what the people in Hong Kong do.
With the complete downpour still going on, I walked around Wan Chai for a bit but since I didn’t know what to really do I headed back to the hotel to get some sleep. Eventually lunch time came around and I wondered around Jordan to find something to eat. Though it was still amazing me that for nearly every shop I walked past it was a food place. Not to mention a lot of the places being very cheap. I even came across some shoes stores that interested me and I had a look. It’s so hard to find good shoes these days. Eventually I found a place to get something to eat.
I would say it was a rather strange thing to do as they sat me with another person who effectively looked homeless. It was rather awkward so to speak but I guess this is common where they sit you with others if you’re on your own. After this late lunch I eventually headed up back to Mong Kok and started exploring around and also came across the Tung Choi St Market. At this point I figured I’d start looking for souvenirs for family and I remembered my sister wanted a handbag. So I got this one:
I eventually came back here with my friends again later that night and that concludes Day 5.
Day 6 – 4th September
This day would be the final full day of me exploring Hong Kong. However I didn’t really have much planned for the morning so instead I headed down to Tsim Sha Tsui in hopes of checking out of the Hong Kong Space Museum. My friends on the other hand had different plans so once again I was on my own. So after grabbing some breakfast from the hotel, I headed out. But instead of taking the MTR, I decided to walk all the way. Nothing like a bit of exercise. In a way walking also allows me to absorb the sights around me. of course I mainly stuck to Nathan Road.
Though by the time I got to the end of Nathan Road I came to realise that the Space Museum was on the other side of Salisbury Road. I was a bit stumped on how to get there as from the intersection I could not see any way to cross. At this point I was a little defeated and gave up on that idea. So instead I continued to walk around Tsim Sha Tsui so more. Though it still amazes me how much of a posh place this really is.
With all the high class hotels and expensive clothing stores it makes me wish that one day I can spend freely here. ONE DAY!! Of course seeing such places as this does make me think that I’m still such a young person who has yet to experience much of life itself. These kind of places are for those who have made a decent living and that there are many ways to get to that point. Anyway I also remembered I needed to find an Apple reseller as I had completely forgotten an adapter I needed for my Macbook. Luckily I remembered there was one on Nathan Road.
After a while I escaped into a Maccas to get away from the heat. I done a lot of walking and needed a rest. I was also planning to meet up with Q again and AsukaSuminoe for the first time. So once rested I headed up to Mong Kok again to meet up. This time they would show me some more otaku stores throughout Mong Kok that I didn’t get to see much of last time. I’m still once again amazed at how these guys would always hunt for a bargain but I must always remind myself that we both live different lifestyles.
Still I saw some interesting things for sale as well as some unexpected items. Though of course most of them were mainstream but recently my keeping up with otaku goods has been on the downfall. I’m starting to lose interesting in getting whatever figures I see or any other random purchases. Though I think one of the most interesting and amusing things I saw for sale was this:
Other places that Q and AsukaSuminoe took me to were some model kit shops and all the airsoft shops. Similar to Japan airsoft guns are popular here in Hong Kong. Though I can’t imagine where in Hong Kong you could use them. It’s actually a shame that such items are illegal to have in Australia. If I were to live in Hong Kong I’m sure I would probably purchase one of these. We also took a break to get some bubble tea on Dundas St. Here Q told me an interesting fact that there are 3 shops here and two are the same franchise, yet it is massively busy. I’m rather thankful that he ordered for me due to my lack of Cantonese.
After a while AsukaSuminoe took his leave thus Q and I went to get something to eat at Ajisen Ramen.
We pretty much just sat, ate and talked about many things. Though we stayed there for a while as I was awaiting for my other friends to return back from where they went. Reason for this was because we were to pick up our tailored suits! The meeting time was 7pm at the tailors but with some time still to spare Q and I headed to Sino Centre to check out the stores again. It was here that I also met up with good friend hinu. Finally met up with my other travel companion. Though heading to the tailor we saw that she was busy with other customers and told us to come back later. So instead we head to dinner.
Heading back after dinner we were finally able to pick up our suits. Of course we tried them on to make sure that they fit perfectly. Though the tailor pointed out that my suit was a little tight around my stomach. She told me that I should lose weight in a lighthearted manner and I simply laughed it off. Yes I know I’m a fat bastard in terms of Hong Kong standards. It’s something I’ll be working on in the coming months.
And so that ends Day 6 of my Hong Kong trip. Given that over the course of 6 days it seems to be such a short time, yet it feels like I have been there for a lot longer. Many people have told me that there isn’t a lot to do in Hong Kong except eat and shop. In some cases I can see that as being true. But for a person who hasn’t been back to Hong Kong in over 12 years and knows nothing of the place of my heritage let alone my very own culture, it does open up my eyes about the world. In some cases I can see that I am quite fortunate about living in Australia despite my constant complaints about everything. It also makes me wonder what kind of person I would have been if I l was born and raised in Hong Kong and how different would I see the world.
Still I think I have only taken a glimpse of what Hong Kong can really be all about. But there is one thing for sure about Hong Kong. I will definitely return. but for now this is the end. Look forward to the next post which will cover a day trip over to Macau.
Note: All photos were taken with my Canon 7D and iPhone4. All photos have not been edited in any way.