Sunday, April 20th, 1997 - Kowloon, Hong Kong

It has been a busy day, we have managed to visit a number of places we were intending to make it to. Unfortunately, it was quite cloudy today so we could not visit Victoria Peak which is on Hong Kong Island to get a bird's eye view of Hong Kong so we visited Tsim Sha Tsui instead.

We began the day by going to our first Dim Sum restaurant here, quite an interesting experience. Dim Sum is a meal that is composed of various, small, dishes, which you choose from a selection made available to you. Most of the time these dishes are taken around in small carts which you can choose from, a card is marked to determine the eventual cost of the meal. This restaurant was just about a block away from the apartment so Raymond (who we are staying with) took us there for breakfast/lunch. You get to the restaurant by going up a few escalators to the top floor in a shopping “arcade” (a term used frequently around here) arriving in the middle of the restaurant, after eventually finding a seat we met with Ava after trying a few dishes. The food was very good, quite different than what is available at the somewhat limited choice in Winnipeg.

After a satisfying meal, we were sent on our way, taking a bus right to Tsim Sha Tsui (actually, the bus terminal right at Hong Kong harbour). At this location we took a number of pictures then walked briefly through the Cultural Centre. Then, we visited the Space Museum which was quite interesting (and quite inexpensive) and had a number of interactive exhibits (including a hand-gliding computer simulation game which we played, allowing us to hand-glide through the Grand Canyon.

Hong Kong Harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui

The next visit was to the Art Museum (all of these places are side by side on the harbour) which we thoroughly enjoyed, viewing Chinese and Hong Kong art of both the present and the past, including jade carvings, calligraphy, water colours, furniture, pottery and much more. The exhibits were very good and it proved to be very informative. After visiting the shop there we moved on up the east side of Tsim Sha Tsui, visiting Hard Rock Café and Planet Hollywood for souvenirs for my sister (a tradition that I have kept up in all of my travels), 7-11 for a slurpee and a number of smaller stores and malls.

After this we went to Kowloon Park which is quite nice, it reminded me in many ways of how I have heard Central Park in New York described. There is an aviary which had birds from all around the world that you simply do not see back home. The part is very green and it was good to see it very well used by locals and tourists alike on a Sunday afternoon.

Kowloon Park

After this we went to Temple Street as Raymond had suggested we see the various street vendors. We found a bit of activity but not a lot as it really only starts later in the day. Eventually, having called Raymond to meet him for supper we walked about fifteen minutes to meet up with him in a train station (subway). The supper was Malaysian which was very good, we used banana leaves for plates and all of the supper was just placed on top of the leaf. Regular forks and spoons were used for this. We had Malaysian crab, clams and curried flank. All were exceptional, though getting the meat from the crab was fairly difficult. We insisted on paying for dinner as Raymond paid for lunch and we are staying at his place (we are hoping to figure out a gift for him and his wife – we are occupying much of their apartment).

After this we walked up to Temple Street again to visit the “real” area of the market which was a bit further than Mike and I had explored earlier. This was quite incredible as there were stalls all down the street (NO traffic on the street) and there were many people going past each booth. We saw all sorts of interesting things including many electronics gadgets we had never seen before, I picked up a key ring that plays eight different computer games (VERY small).

North of Kowloon Park

When I am tired I find I repeat myself and I am not terribly polite as I found out also applies with Mike. I commented at one point about the “unbelievability” of yet another booth with illegal audio CDs which were copies of the North American version. He asked why and I mentioned that the reason is that I would always prefer the real version myself, after which he indicated he would not. Now, I suppose I should have given my real reason which were that I did not expect audio CDs to be copied, computer software and laser disks, yes, but not audio CDs. In addition, the outright blatancy of it is unbelievable, which I think is my biggest gut feeling about the whole thing.

I really do like to have the real software or CD when given a choice as I feel that I have a commodity that should be paid for to the artist or author otherwise I feel it would be stealing. In my current situation, which changed from before, I can afford the real thing so there is no reason to want a copy. He was quite harsh so I did not talk to him for a few minutes.

After a little while of walking through the street market we came across entertainers (singers, instrument players) and fortune tellers, which were quite amusing. We walked along until the end of this particular street sale.

We made our way home on the MTR (mass transit railway, or, simply a subway) with Raymond and ended up talking until 1:00 am about various topics including his school and what to do over the next few days in Hong Kong.

⇒ Continue to Monday, April 21st, 1997 - Kowloon, Hong Kong