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Pokey Trams and Hakka Nosh

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We slept pretty well although I didn’t manage to figure out the air conditioning so it was a bit sticky. We were out of bed and showering before 8:00, and made our way to the Discovery Park mall for breakfast at Delifrance, which also seems to be a tradition for my trips to Hong Kong. Eggs, sausage, baguette, cappuccino and orange juice got me going for the day.

Near the mall we jumped on the 234X bus which isn’t the fast way to Tsim Sha Tsui, but does offer the most stuff to see. Kristi was again stunned by the scale of development here, had tons of questions about how people use public open space and what they do there, and made some comparisons to her time in Cuba. At the end of the line, we walked to the Star Ferry pier and paid $2.70 (about $0.30 CAD) to ride the lower deck across to Central. The ferries are still well used, mostly by locals although tourists can’t resist the views and charm of the old tubs. The ride seems to be getting shorter every year; I think that it actually is due to reclamation of the harbour.

On Hong Kong side, my first stop was the Canadian Consulate, right in the heart of Central. My problem is that my passport is almost full, and I’m worried that the three one-page visas that I’ll need on this trip might not fit. Then what? There was nothing that they could do for me on short notice, however, so they gave me some post-it notes for me to write “do not stamp – visa only” and put them on my precious blank pages. I may have my parents mail my UK passport to Bangkok though, just to be safe.
We poked around Sheung Wan for a while. We rode the mid-levels escalator up the hill so Kristi could have the experience of a low-flying bird’s-eye view of that part of Hong Kong, walked down again, and poked our heads in the Man Wo temple, which is pretty prototypical for temples in these parts, full of coils of smouldering incense and godly statues.

Next up ride a ride on the tall skinny pokey old trams that roll along the island. Like on our bus ride earlier in the day, we sat upstairs at the very front. Such a great way to see the city. Pulling up next to or behind other trams provided great views of commuters in their natural habit. Down below you can watch pedestrians scurrying across the road between trams, and delivery bikes somehow squeezing next to or between them.

We rode into Wan Chai, bar and expat central. It has been hottish (near 30) and sticky, so we wanted some respite from the heat. We found this in a coffee shop modelled on west coast coffee shops back home. I enjoyed an iced vanilla latte and Kristi sipped an iced mango thingy and dropped a bit from the heat and jetlag.

Just after 1:00 we met her cousin Jodi and boyfriend Pablo, both architects and working in Hong Kong. We haven’t seen Jodi since last Xmas in Penticton. They chose a tasty Chinese vegetarian place on Hennessey Road and we had taro-nest veggies, noodles and fake gluten meat. Like many folks around, they are suffering from a lack of work options because of the struggling global economy. Work is pretty secure for them here, but there are few options in terms of other places to move to. Canada, US and Europe seems to be out of the question for them.

They had to get back to the grindstone right after lunch, so we said our good-byes and strolled through the Wan Chai street market, then jumped on the MTR for the short ride under the harbour to Tsim Sha Tsui where we dropped in on Rehman in his shop (Noon Tailors) near Mody Road. It was great to see Rehman, as always. We caught up for a bit and made plans for lunch tomorrow.

Heading back to Tsuen Wan, we stopped at the Golden Shopping Centre, the computer mall crammed with tiny shops selling all things computer-related. I picked up a neoprene laptop case, a memory card reader and a plastic case for my cell phone. I may have spent $20. Kristi got a few bits and bobs too.

Back at Kin-yi’s we put our feet up for a short while before taking the mini bus to Tsuen Wan MTR station where we met Kei. With him we walked the Hong Kong way – through malls, walkways and overpasses – to a Hakka restaurant in the middle of town where we joined Baht Baht and Ah Leung, and were soon joined by Kin-yi, Ah Man, Ah Moon, Jeremy Lai and Ping. Jeremy Lai has grown up amazingly in the last year and now has a low voice and a fuzzy lip. Funny to think back at when Anthony and I came to Hong Kong in 1997 and he was just a baby. The meal was tasty and they made a special effort to order vegetarian things for Kristi. I began to feel a bit dopey, but fortunately the meal wasn’t a long one. A mini bus ride and we were back at Kin-yi’s place and getting into bed.


Written by sockeyed

October 28, 2008 at 01:00

Posted in Travel

Tagged with ,

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