August 23, 1999 - Hong Kong, China

The last day in Hong Kong and it promised to be a depressing one from the very start with the rain continuing from the previous days.

We got up, deciding to try a few things regardless of weather. We were able to leave our luggage in the foyer of the hotel to pick up later in the afternoon instead of taking it along with us.

We headed down to the harbour, crossing once again on the Star Ferry. Once in Central on Hong Kong Island, we walked down (up) the street to get to the Peak Tram. Since I had visited those years ago, they had updated the facilities somewhat with a new visitor centre in the Central area. It was a bit more expensive that I remember but we got on and made the slow assent to the top. It was very cloudy today and we really could not see a lot. The wind and rain was really heavy also.

We grabbed a bit to eat (for breakfast) in a French café before finally setting out, despite the heavy rain and wind, up the road to eventually end up in the Peak Garden. There were a lot of branches from trees on the road but we made it quite safely, if not all that dry…

Mother and I spent a great deal of time talking, though the rain was a big topic for discussion. When we got to the park, it was unfortunate, but we could not see anything due to the fog, the rain and the wind. I remember a wonderful view from there my last visit of Aberdeen and the far side of the island.

By the time we returned to the building at the top of the Peak Tram (quite a walk down) there was a break in the clouds so mother got off a picture. I have been avoiding taking pictures simply because mother is taking them and I have already taken a number of pictures similar to what has taken.

We returned down the tram and took the free shuttle to the Star Ferry. Once across we proceeded to the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station and took the train to Sham Shui Po. We have always had trouble finding enough change for the train since the machines that generate single tickets only except change.

After arriving at Sham Shui Po it was amazing at home much I remembered of the area in which I lived for about two weeks those years ago. I wanted to visit the Golden Arcade which has, in the past, been a centre for illegal software and other computer supplies. I have never been interested in the illegal things myself since this would be against my nature and may cause problems with my getting employment using computers.

The Arcade has really been cleaned up with most things being sold 100% legally. The mall is very cluttered and contains a large number of small stalls arranged in a haphazard fashion. We wandered around and eventually I only picked up a few Video-CDs for my friends and a pair of computer speakers for my sister. Really, the atmosphere is something to experience and it was interesting.

We then returned outside. I was going to show mother where my friend Raymond used to live but it was so heavy we could only get within half a block before mother took a picture and we turned back. We returned to another part of the mall which is sort of separate to the slightly 'dodgy' area of the Arcade, which sells expensive equipment (or equipment expensively).

We returned to the hotel area, looking to go into a restaurant which is one of my favourite but it was not open yet so we headed down to the harbour to watch the boats move back and forth through the rain and wind. Very interesting to see a few very slow barges travel across the Star Ferry paths.

After a bit of time we returned to the Bamboo Leaf Restaurant on the third floor of a building on Nathan Road right near the hotel. It had just opened so we were really the only ones there, having to remind the waitresses that we were there (to bring us tea, rice). We had a few dishes that I had already tried before but also some new ones:

  • Squid in shrimp paste
  • Beef (LARGE pieces) in Curry (with coconut sauce)
  • Clams in Garlic

Mother also had a distinctively different bread to eat also. All food here is served in conjunction with banana leaf place-mats and rice plopped (literally) on top of it. A very good, if not the most expensive meal we have had in Hong Kong.

After this we picked up our luggage to head to the airport for our flight to Melbourne.

Yesterday there was a major accident at the airport and a plane flipped when landing, killing two and injuring 200. Today, after getting off of the bus from Tsim Sha Tsui we were confronted with a large number of delayed flights. Really, the delay was fine but people did not take it very well, getting really upset with the people from the various airlines (regardless of whether or not they could help – just someone to yell at). It was a tense time. Eventually we were in a line for a few hours before we could check in (about three hours late – eventually). We had to run quickly to get to the plane also.

A lot of things went wrong. At one point I thought I had lost a form that I was supposed to keep from when I had arrived, another moment I thought I had lost my return plane ticket but it turned out to be in a bag (not before I had run back to the x-ray and have them check the machine), etc….

We eventually loaded onto a bus (which I thought the new airport did not have – I remember them from the old airport in Kowloon where they were used to transport us to and from the aircraft parked on the apron) and then onto the plane, through the driving rain.

I took my seat beside mother (we had arranged this a few weeks ago – reserving our seats) in the Economy section and prepared for the evening. The seats were much smaller than my business class seat on the way to Hong Kong but were comfortable nonetheless. We all had personal televisions on this flight with a variety of television channels as well as audio programmes and video games. Mother spent a fair amount of time playing a card game similar to Solitaire…It was a good way to pass the time.

A restless sleep I am sure…

⇒ Continue to August 24, 1999 - Cowe, Victoria, Australia