HK ALL DAY
04.10.2014 - 07.10.2014 29 °C
Our next leg of the trip was a relatively simple three hour flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong. A smooth evening taxi ride via Kowloon into the Sheung Wan district of Hong Kong Island allowed us to sample the stunning HK light show that was in store for us. We were greeted at our next (air B'n'B) apartment in HK's Mid Levels area by a super friendly Aussie called Emma and her Mum who settled us into our new home for the next few days (skateboard on wall, nice TV with lots of DVDs…and even a copy of Pharcyde’s ‘LabcabiinCalifornia’ on CD…we knew that this place would suit us!). A few floodlit basketball courts and football pitches sat directly opposite our apartment and were a perfect remedy from the day of transit as the three of us took a football and basketball out for a night time run around (side note - night-time Hong Kong felt similar to Japan, very safe, well lit, lots of locals out playing sport etc..a really nice vibe!).
The following morning we took at a very chilled pace - Ollie and I watched some local guys play football (Ollie greeting them all with a friendly wave and smile, which was nicely reciprocated) and after about 20 minutes of me explaining to Ollie why he couldn't run on and play with the team (!) much to his frustration we picked up Anna and went for a morning stroll and breakfast.
The rest of the day was quite spontaneous, first we went to investigate taking the Peak Tramway up to view the sights of HK, however upon arrival the queues were not looking much fun and with Ollie getting a bit tired we hopped on the first bus tour of the city. As touristy as this is, it was a great way of getting our bearings and learning some local facts. The bus route was about one third shorter than normal as a result of the protests which we otherwise saw nothing of. We then took the famous Star Ferry from the Island to Kowloon to spend the rest of the day exploring all there was to see, Avenue of Stars, Kowloon Park and another local game of football (Ollie and I had a quick kick around at half time and when Ollie ran off the pitch some of the players were high fiving him all the way off......the smile was stuck to his face for a long while!). Onwards to the night market for a mender before looping back to check out the light show across the harbour and witness one of the best city skylines at night (see pictures). Stunning!
For two more days we basically hung out, it's easy to feel at home quickly here it seems. We walked pretty much everywhere as HK seems relatively small, and for some reason in our prep reading, we hadn't picked up how hilly it is. Edinburgh/Bristol hilly, with flights of stairs linking parallel streets and steep hairpin bends. The crazy (crazy levels of) humidity give rise to tropical plants and palms here and there. To get the gist of both features, the tram up to The Peak is the one. It's pretty touristy, but we didn't fancy the hiking option to get to the same spot with our massive toddler to carry. The tram goes at what feels like a 45 degree angle at points, and you pass cityscape and tropic fauna at intervals. But the view from the top, (once you're out of the tacky shopping mall) is pretty impressive.
Back from the tourist traps we indulged in a long walk around SoHo which was a treat. Street food, locals, good looking stylish folks, more shopping than we have luggage space for, and only a short walk back to 'our' basketball court/football pitch for Ollie. Happy days indeed. Little geek moment here; which is to say how cool is it that in NYC and HK there is a SoHo district, but in each one SoHo stands for something different, and in London it doesn't stand for South of - anything?
Anyway...after only three nights, we were off again, a bit sad to leave after such a short stop. We really liked Hong Kong, and would definitely like to go back. 24/7 as it seemed to be, we're pretty sure we barely scratched the surface here.