Our last day in Hong Kong

May 8, 2006 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

We had a full day to enjoy Hong Kong one last time. We’re not sure when we will return next. We decided that we would go to Stanley Market and then just generally hang out. Prior to that though I had thought long and hard about when we might come back and figured it would likely be quite a few years later. So having thought that I decided to buy one last pair of glasses to keep myself happy for a while.

We packed up all our bags in the morning and took a taxi out to Stanley. It’s amazing to see this ocean front resortlike area only about 30 minutes outside of Hong Kong central. We took a taxi there and it only cost ~$20 USD. We drove though an area which was covered with trees and saw a dam with a lake on one side and the sea on the other. Apparently many foreigners or wealthier people live out in this area. At the Stanley Market we saw a lot of non-Chinese tourists. The area reminded me of a combination outlet mall and a boardwalk in California. We ate our first non-Chinese food on the trip.

After Stanley we went back to Aberdeen where my parents were staying. We ate at some Chinese noodle/congee place. A little hole in the wall with reasonably good food but no passion for napkins. You have to wonder how clean these places actually are. The city itself was packed full of these little stores, cafe’s, etc. After the meal we went to my parent’s apartment and hung out there before going to dinner and then the airport.

Getting to the airport was super easy with the hotel having arranged a mini-van for us. The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is just simply amazing with their service. All these people run around with bluetooth earpieces communicating with each other in black suits. You’d think they were Chinese secret service or something. At the airport Cathay Pacific really took good care of us. At 10pm it’s a breeze to get through security, etc. We hung out in the nice lounge, took a shower, ate some good food before boarding. In the first class section we were 3 of 4 people in there. You felt like you had this big A340 to yourself (the plane itself wasn’t even full, only 60% in coach class they said). The beds lie flat, they give you pajamas and to have 2 flight attendants taking care of just 4 passengers is amazing. Overall the service, flight and how peaceful it was to have Kaili sleeping in another berth while we ate and then slept ourselves was a real treat.

Overall I was really happy with our time in Hong Kong. It wasn’t long or short, just right. I was impressed by how the city has cleaned itself up a lot (it wasn’t even that bad when I was there in 1995) but many things have changed and seemingly for the better. The subway is immaculate and super easy to get around everywhere. Make sure you get an Octopus card (multi-use transit pass). We only paid $150 HKD (you can get $50 back since that is a deposit) and we used it all up near the end but traveled so much on the MTR. Getting around in Hong Kong has to be the easiest thing to do. A city block here is like 1/4 of a NYC city block. Everything (and I mean everything) is super accesible. You can find the best brand name things in stores so close by or even in one store itself. Good food virtually everywhere you go (compared to Seattle Chinese food this isn’t hard). Quite a few people speak Catonese, Mandarin and even much more English now. We accomplished the two main things I wanted. We got to see my grandma and for my grandma to meet Lucille and Kaili. The other was to get my new glasses. I didn’t expect to get so many pairs but when they are good quality, get the lenses done the way I want them and very reasonable price I just can’t resist. I thought about buying a new cell phone, a platinum chain but ended up deciding I didn’t really need that. Penny is trying to decide whether she wants to buy a camera there but I told her to wait and get it in the States. Lastly as if you can’t tell I highly recommend the Landmark Mandarin Oriental (http://www.mandarinoriental.com/hotel/556000001.asp). Great staff, location and decore.

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