Monday, June 6, 2016

NOT for the shopping (Sydney to Hong-Kong, May 2016)

Me in HK
So, at last, one year after booking, we are setting out for another great Europe trip. Free flights from Cathay Pacific to London to see Bob and Libby, a brief tour of Wales and the Midlands, then Provence and Umbria. It has been difficult to plan - so hard to believe it would actually happen - after last year's plans went so astray. But it's a wonderful thing that Chris is (so far) so well, and so am I, so Carpe Diem and all that!

28.5.16 Sydney - Hong Kong 

Feeling slightly bloated after MacMuffins for breakfast at 5am - never again! Taxi from Steve and Marg's at 4.15, a very quick drive and check-in, then two hours to kill. My body not used to eating junk food so early, we are now resolving to eat little and walk much on this holiday. Nine hour flight - boring food, '45 years' (great movie) and 'The Revenant' (pretty terrible except photog and music).

29.5 Hong Kong

Misty view from 'The Peak'
Today up early and ferry to HK Island, then bus to 'The Peak'. It's cloudy and misty and the main thing to be seen is yet another shopping centre. We take the old tram back and walk to Luk Yu Tea House for dim sum lunch. It's another kind of tourist trap, and the service is surly, but the ambience is quaint and the dumplings delicious. At around $60 AUD for 11 dumplings and tea, it's not a cheap pleasure.

Chris in HK
As usual in Asia the great pleasure is just walking around. The humidity is 90% so it's sticky and we don't move too fast. Simple chores like topping up our Octopus (transport) cards at the train station, or buying a bottle of French wine in a durian-scented supermarket, are the best fun. We do plenty of walking.

Maids' Day Off
Walking through the city we see groups of women congregated, sitting on spread out cardboard boxes - picnicking, talking, playing games. The further we walk the more of them we see - sometimes in groups numbering hundreds. It emerges that it is 'Maids' Day Off': every Sunday, Indonesian and Philippina maids who have no place of their own, and no money for entertainment, spend their precious hours of leisure gathering together in accessible city places - near train stations and bus terminals. Remarkable ... And sad.

Back to the hotel for coffee, then Temple Night Market. Lots of tat, not the throngs of customers that I had anticipated. Some interesting jade artefacts and old (or reproduction) bric a brac. We eat too much (garlicky scallops and cuttlefish with beer) at a grubbily authentic seafood cafe nearby.
Seafood cafe

30.5 - HK -London

Up at 5, bus to station, train to airport. The Airport Express is 3 times the price of the bus trip, and four times quicker. Longish queues at the airport, so just a few minutes to drink our $8 Starbucks coffee for breakfast. All the usual airport rigmarole, people-watching the only distraction. The young couple with shopping bags who skip the queue. Elderly couple looking somewhat at sea. The puzzle over exactly who gets to be in the Business class/First class queue. (We are Premium economy, the first time ever we are not in 'cattle class'.) I really don't like airports, and thinking it's hardly worth the kerfuffle for a 2 night stopover. Trains, on the other hand, are their own sort of pleasure.
Twelve hour flight, food ok, good movies - Lady in the Van and The Big Short.

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