Sep 18, 2006

HONGKONG, the fragrant harbour



This story is dated back to JAN 29 – FEB 2, 2006

5 days and 4 nights touring the city of HONGKONG had enough freshened me up and thrown away my stress from work and daily life 5 days full of getting off and on the tour bus, walking here and there, windowshopping, posing for pictures with any kind of background, tasting various kinds of Chinese food without pork, and calculating the conversion between Rupiah and HK$ using my cell’s calculator.


THE REPULSE BAY



In English, The Fragrant Harbour. In Chinese, Hong Kong. Why ‘fragrant’? Because, according to the plaque that was made in 1987 and located at the Repulse Bay, the city that was originally a seaman village produced fragrant wood plants for sale abroad. More or less.



According to our tour guide, Kwan Im is actually a god, not a goddess. But he looked so much like a female and was very feminine, that's why people a lot of times (mistakenly?) refer to him as a goddess.






The statues here all have their meanings. For example an old man symbolizes longevity, and the fat man symbolizes prosperity.


ORDER!!

D'you know this post ? well.. in this Fragrant Harbour city I found the right system applied.




Some more things that made me ‘happy’ was that most people there followed the rules when they cross the street. They wait until the green light for pedestrians are on! And.. you’ll get fined for littering!






But.. there were 2 things that got on my nerves in Hongkong..

One: I found many people (mostly hawkers and waiters/waitresses) who were rude and so unfriendly. Their bad English (although Hongkong is an international city / country) and rudeness just made it more difficult to communicate.

Two : quite a lot of people just didn’t know how to take turns and keep the queue. MEIN GOTT!! Even the ‘villagers’ at Dufan can stay in line better than these people. There was one time, when a lady took my seat at a musical show, I told her that was my seat (in English), guess what she did.. She got angry and said something in Chinese..! How the hell should I know what she was saying? Spontaneously (and childishly, I might add.. :P ) I snapped back at her in Indonesian! Hahaha…

Well, despite of the uncivilized people, Hongkong Disneyland was one of the most fun I had there. Childhood memories and the fun of being a child again..















Disneyland is located in a little island, and it took us about 1-hr drive from our hotel at King's Rd.
My advice : be careful when you shop at Disney shops. There are just way too many cute stuff to pass on :D And be careful with using your credit card in those shops, or you'll end up like I was, popping my eyes out when I received my credit card bill the next month! Hahaha...

MY OWN LITTLE ADVENTURE

When I split from the group to go back to our hotel from downtown, I was only accompanied by my city map. I got a bit confused, so I asked people on the street about the direction. I even asked a park officer, too bad she didn’t speak English. She didn’t even get what I was saying when I asked a simple question as what was the street we were on. (Turned out that they have dual street names, in English and in Chinese). Thanks to a group of TKW who I found hanging out at the park, I finally got the right direction to the hotel, and I didn’t have to use English :D

But it’s not that I ran into TKW in Hongkong that’s awes me. It’s that a little me walking around by myself in a foreign country only with a map. I had always wanted to do that since I was much younger. I always wanted to be free of anyone telling me where to go and how to get there, and see unpredictable interesting things on the way. Well, I wouldn’t mind having the trip with a few more friends, but just being on my own gives a certain feeling of pride and I can also ponder about things while travelling.

L’ Hotel, King’s Rd



(view from our room)

The Chinese New Year happened on one of the days we were in Hongkong. That explains the money tree that stood in our hotel lobby.



Hongkong streets









One of the things that’s Hongkong is famous for : SHOPPING!




There are also Ladies Market & Stanley Market. Cheapie, cheapie! Watches, belts, clothes, chopsticks, cute umbrellas, hats, clutches, you name it.. it’s there! Ladies market (I think it was open at night, if not started from the afternoon) consists of commercial stalls along a very long road, closed for any kind of vehicles.
Stanley Market is not as big and the things sold there aren't as diverse as Ladies Market. The price is not as cheap, either. My sister was lucky to find a cool jacket that is very similar to one of Zara's, only without the Zara tag and cost a lot cheaper! (that kinda took away my respect for high-end labels.)
Too bad I didn’t take any picture in both places. I guess I was too busy finding cheap good stuff! Hehe..
But anyway, the hawkers, especially in the Ladies Market, were no friendly to the buyers, especially those who negotiate the prices a lot. And I saw them being much nicer to Caucasian tourists. Geez...


A SMALL REUNION

What a coincidence. Adjie, a college friend of mine who at present time lives in Singapore, were spending his long weekend in Hongkong as well, visiting another college friend, Doddy, who until now lives in Hongkong. We finally met up on my last night in the city, plus 2 other friends of Doddy’s. I remember I spent HK$80 for my meal that night at a restaurant in the Fashion Walk.






MACAU

It’s a beautiful, beautiful little country as it was an island only an hour of boat trip from Hongkong. A lotta European buildings there, as it used to be colonized by the Portuguese. We only had about 9 hours of tour in Macau. A lotta sight-seeing and a brief visit to a casino place (not allowed to take pictures inside the casino). Our tour guide said that most of Macau’s income comes from casinos. Wow.


(the casino entrance)

(A big church. Nothing but its front wall left.)















VICTORIA PEAK

Victoria Peak is one of the important places to visit when you're in Hong Kong. A tram rail to the highest mount, built in 1888. Still going strong!

From the peak you can see Hongkong topview..that is IF the wheather’s not too foggy. Unfortunately, it was foggy and raining when we were there. But hey, no fog nor rain could stop us from shopping! :P


- 50% discount on U2 jacket. We were lucky to be in HongKong between seasons 'cos there were end-of-season sales everywhere! :D Giordano & Esprit were just to name a few -





- in the tram -

The subway train in Hongkong is called MTR (it's MRT in Singapore and Bangkok). The route and stations were clearly illustrated in the map. You just always gotta be on guard and be careful not to get on the wrong directions because everyone walks like they're in a rush, like they're always being late for meetings or something.. Y'know, just like the rush on Manhattan sidewalks.

STAR AVENUE

From the highest peak, to the low sea..
It’s called the Star Avenue for the famous names printed on the walk along the bay.






JUMBO RESTAURANT

This is where we had one of our lunches. You gotta get on a boat to get to the restaurant.





TRAM TROUBLE

Dendy and I were curious what was it like to ride the tram. So on our last day, we jammed in our schedule a ride on a tram. Anywhere would do. We got on one which stopped at a station on the other end of island which was quite far from our hotel.






We got off there, had a walk some blocks, and saw the part of the island that we had never been before. We spontaneously went into some aisles between buildings and found that there were a lot of commercial stalls selling stuff like clothes, watches, etc. At some park we found lots of Filipinos hangin’ out.

What I really liked about this part of the trip is going somewhere with no certain direction. The spontaneity, I don’t get to do that a lot daily :P

However, because of our little adventure, we almost caused the group miss the flight! We got on the wrong tram to go back to the hotel, our meeting point before going to airport. So we had to get off at a halt and then waited for the right one to come along, and it took quite a long time, considering we were already a couple of minutes behind schedule! Hosh! Hosh!



(Lunch at the airport)

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