Wednesday, April 23th, 1997 - Kowloon, Hong Kong

Another tiring day in Hong Kong. Today we had tried to make the day a little less strenuous but things did not work out that way.

We started out a bit early, grabbing something to eat from a small store on the sidewalk selling dim-sum (“little dishes”). Mike was a bit hesitant about the idea but after trying some of mine decided to have some also. We have found a bakery that he enjoys quite close also.

We then caught the train to Tsim Sha Tsui to visit the Hong Kong Science Museum but unfortunately it was not open until later so we walked down the side of the harbour, stopping to take a few pictures and take a look. This was a bit different view then we had of the harbour before. From there, we caught the Star Ferry across the harbour to Central on Hong Kong island.

The whole goal of this adventure was to go to the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens. The maps available to us did not really picture how to get there. We ended up taking a number of streets and cutting across various areas using staircases up the side of the mountain where it turns out this place is located. We were pretty much worn out from yesterday and this did not help much more.

The Zoo (instead of typing the whole name in again) was very nice and clean. I have always been thinking of Hong Kong as an area of contrasts, you have the Chinese, you have the English; you have the parks, you have the city; you have the very rich, you have the very poor. Here we were in the middle of Hong Kong island viewing various species of Flamingo, Toucans, parrots, etc, while in the background are sounds of cars beeping their horns and the sight of many office buildings and apartment buildings crowding the park. There were many different species of birds, much like Ocean Park the other day.

We did get to see a Jaguar but it was not terribly exciting as it was trying to sleep (as any sensible creature would do in the middle of another hot day).

An interesting thing about the zoo is that it is, as already mentioned, located on the side of a mountain (all the paths are either up or down, very little flat) and part of the zoo is located on one side of a road and the other half is located on the other side of the road. They have an underpass under the road, but it does split the park rather nicely. They also have an impressive display of monkeys including some orang-utans.

On another note, we found out that the day we visited Ocean Park the whale that was performing there had died and that is why we could not see that portion of the park. Not a nice thing, whales tend to live quite a long time in captivity. Just thought I would keep you (the reader) up to date.

After a nice, albeit exhausting walk through the zoo (including two attempts at catching the jaguar actually awake), we decided to visit the Hong Kong Park again to see if we could get into the Aviary that was closed the previous day when we tried. It is good we went back (though the walk up MANY stairs to get there was not a nice thing) as the exhibit was quite good, as with Ocean Park, they had put up a large net tent over a large number of trees on the side of a mountain but in this case they had a suspended walkway through the cage. There were not as many birds here but that did not lessen the experience.

After the last of the birds, we made our way back to an MTR station and headed over to Causeway Bay which is in the heart (as Raymond told us) of the Japanese area of Hong Kong. We had supper at a place that he recommended that served noodles, which were excellent. Raymond just so happened to have worked there in the past (the area not the restaurant). After supper, we visited a video arcade as Mike and I do occasionally like to play a few games to relax a bit and have a bit of fun. This particular arcade was reputed to house various games not yet available anywhere else. Though we found little, if any, such games, we nonetheless had a good time.

After this, we headed back to the apartment, again, via the MTR, star ferry, then MTR again to our stop. After dropping off our cameras at the apartment, we proceeded to the Golden Computer Centre, for a better look. We only had about an hour and managed to only see about a quarter of the basement. We found a large assortment of computer books, however, to me the cost did not really justify the $10 savings (CDN) we might achieve. My workplace tends to assist with any computer material I may require. However, this is not the case with Mike so he spent some time looking at the books.

After that, we visited some areas where software was sold that was, shall we say, not the original copy. This fact was not even hidden, which explains why the place is shut down so often. Keep in mind that the whole area is actually an arcade (or mall) where there are many different stores in it. I saw copies of movies that are still in movie theatres (that is, not on video yet). Mike ended up buying two pieces of software (he was asked to show up about 10 minutes later and was handed the CD-Rom disks in a bag, and given two disk cases to place them in).

On the way back to the apartment, he asked me why I did not buy any disks. I answered him that I had much of the software that I already needed at home and any more software I can easily obtain from work at little, if any, cost. We have a wide library of software that I can take advantage of if I need to. Later, I said honestly that I did not feel right about the whole thing, he can do what he wants to do, but I will also do what I want to do which is not to buy any such software. Not even for friends.

After getting back I once again checked my electronic mail and spent a long amount of time doing so. It seems that I am missed back home. Nice to hear, also nice to see that people are taking care of things back there, though they are really concerned about the flooding conditions in Winnipeg. Yesterday the city was declared a disaster area, even before much of the flooding has started. It will not be a nice sight to come back to. Mike and I were joking before things were so serious that we may have to take a sea plane home, or perhaps a cruise ship.

⇒ Continue to Thursday, April 24th, 1997 - Kowloon, Hong Kong