Thursday, May 1st, 1997 - Kowloon, Hong Kong

Another extremely hot day, but much better in terms of getting around than yesterday. We began the day by taking the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui and walking to the Star Ferry so that I could pick up a map that I had lost and so that Mike could get some money from a bank machine. I was also pleased to find a new version of the Hong Kong Guidebook. This book contains detailed maps of all streets and information about various transit routes, Raymond has one that is fairly old so I bought both him and myself one.

We finally caught the ferry across, then, with a bit of time to spare, we walked along the water attempting to get to the Admiralty MTR station. As we walked along there was a British frigate docked outside of the Princess of Wales barracks. It was quite interesting to see, with the history being made all around us. Of course, this did not particularly appeal to Mike but I find it very interesting. We eventually returned to Central and caught a bus to Aberdeen, not actually the one recommended by Raymond, but close enough. We met Raymond for lunch and he took us to the “Bangkok Thai Restaurant”, which is fairly amusing as there is a restaurant of the same name in Winnipeg.

The food was absolutely unbelievable, easily matching the Bamboo Leaf Restaurant we visited on the first day. The “curried” crab was absolutely wonderful, having a very mild cheesy sauce. We had a typical desert which Raymond called “Black Rice” which is rice with it's husk still on, in a sweet sauce of some kind with a cream topping. It was very typical of the deserts we have experienced here, bland, semi-sweet, creamy with rice.

After lunch, which was very big (we were all pretty much full), we took a bus ride to Repulse Bay so I could take a swim. It was very warm today, however the beach was not too busy (it was not a holiday, of course). It is a very nice beach, and it was very calm today. I changed then immediately went for a swim, leaving Mike, who dislikes swimming, baking in the sun. The nice thing about the beach is that it is free, at all beaches in Hong Kong it is the same way, they are all run by local civic groups.

Repulse Bay

The water was very nice and fairly cool. I enjoyed myself by swimming around for a few hours then we left to return to the Admiralty MTR station where we were to meet with Ava for supper. She met us with a friend from work and then we proceeded to City One in Sha Tin, which is well into the New Territories. It was an interesting trip, first by MTR then by bus to Sha Tin. The bus travelled through various streets and yet another tunnel through the mountain with Lion Rock at the top. This was another toll tunnel, evidently all tunnels in Hong Kong are owned and operated by separate companies (encouraging competition and development) and all charge money to travel through them. On a interesting side note, there are “Auto Toll” lanes where, if you have a sensor installed on the side of your car, drive straight through and receive a monthly bill, very useful for taxi's and commuters.

Eventually we arrived at City One, which is a big housing complex with a shopping mall in the middle of it. We proceeded to the fourth floor where we played two games of 10 pin bowling. Mike plays in a league and has been playing for quite some time though he helped us all out with our games. We had a lot of fun, though I did notice that all of the people there were very serious about their games, and did not seem to be having a lot of fun with it.

We then proceeded to go for supper and were taken to a small Vietnamese place and were treated to a good meal. Notable on the menu was the juvenile coconut drinks, where they simply cut a hole in the top of a coconut and put in a straw. Beyond that, the food was fairly typical of what we have experienced before and to top it off we had the same desert that we had for lunch.

After supper, we walked down to the river and walked briefly around the floating restaurant they have there then we made our way back to the apartment as it was 10 o'clock. The ride back was interesting in that we went through areas of the city we had never seen before but it all seems to fit the pattern of obscure streets, many high-rises and stores.

Mike and I are pretty much burned beyond belief, Mike reporting that it snowed in Winnipeg yesterday and that the flood is seriously threatening the city. It all seems so very far away…

⇒ Continue to Friday, May 2nd, 1997 - Kowloon, Hong Kong