Saturday, May 3rd, 1997 - Kowloon, Hong Kong

Today was our last full day in Hong Kong. It was a fairly relaxed one when we decided not to go on a package tour of Kowloon and the New Territories but instead decided to sleep in (the tour left at about 8:00 am) and spend the day with Raymond and Ava. This turned out to be a very good choice.

We began the day with a quick brunch with Raymond and Ava, though he had to leave just after we started eating because he was making a presentation for his class today.

After brunch Ava then took us on a “crazy bus” to Tai Po, which is north of Kowloon but on a harbour on the east coast. The trip was the most interesting, it only takes a maximum of an hour to get anywhere in Hong Kong and to visit Tai Po, about half way to the China border, it only took about 30 minutes. On the way we passed “Monkey Hill” which, as you may have guessed, has many monkeys living on it, living from handouts from locals. It was quite surprising to me to see many monkeys on the side of the road as we passed. I have heard of the monkeys in China that like to live near the hot-springs on a mountain but I did not know there were any in Hong Kong. It was a wonderful trip through a few mountains and smaller “villages”. Along the way Ava pointed out where they will be moving to at the end of the month near Sha Tin.

We arrived in Tai Po and walked around through the streets with the obligatory street shops. Ava informed us that she has two sisters and two brothers that live in the area. We visited the KCR (Kowloon/Canton Railway) museum there which was quite interesting with a few coaches we walked through. Suprising to see that the seating was much like the Star Ferry.

After grabbing a Slurpee at the local 7-11 we then went and met Raymond at his university. The neat thing about the university is that it is on a mountain and sprawls over the mountain all the way down to the water of a harbour. It lends itself to a lot of climbing which is what we did in order to get a better view of the surrounding area. The university runs a bus service to deliver students from the top to the local KCR station at the bottom (free of charge) so we caught that and then walked up the hill a bit and had a bit to eat at a local restaurant that had a fantastic view and very good food, though a bit pricey, a dish of noodles was $75 (HK; $15 CDN).

We then caught a crazy bus to the Sha Tin area and walked around a local mall in which Raymond and Ava really liked the apartment complex. After spending some time wandering we then caught a regular bus back to Sham Shui Po.

As this was our last day, we were forced to pick up some luggage to help take many of the things we acquired here in Hong Kong back to Canada. It is good that the luggage business is very good here, we picked up two cases for about half (or less) of what we would pay in Canada. We returned the new luggage (after some haggling on price) to the apartment then Raymond and Ava treated us to dinner at a very nice local restaurant. It was very good and included lobster and many other good local dishes which we have grown to like here.

After supper we went to a local supermarket, if you can use that word. In Canada it would be the size of a typical corner store, yet they used carts (albeit small ones) to move around isles that were at best only 5 feet wide. It did not help that it was also crowded. I noted that there was no milk available, only dehydrated and substitutes. Other than that, there was little difference in selection with what is available in Canada. Many of the products are american, or at least, contain mostly English on their labels.

As promised, Raymond picked out and purchased some hot sauce (stuff that should only be handled with asbestos gloves) for us to take back with us.

After that, we spent a few hours watching television at the apartment, viewing an american comedy that Mike liked then watching some Japanese animation which I enjoyed and, as a matter of fact, I am watching now.

The quality and content of such animation is hard to believe and it is easy to see why some of it is certainly not intended for children. The stories are often complex and sophisticated. True, without subtitles, it is a bit hard to follow…

⇒ Continue to Sunday, May 4th, 1997 - Somewhere Over the Pacific