VICTORIA PEAK and the SKY TERRACE
After hanging out with our superstar friends at Madama Tussauds, we spent some time at the Victoria Peak shops, resulting in shopping bags filled with a Bubba Gump yellow raincoat and t-shirt.
"Life is full a box of chocolate... I want 'em all..!!"
At the peak of the unique shaped building, we went out to the Sky Terrace, to which the access permit is included in our HK$ 60 tram ticket each (that’s the package which allowed us to go out to the Sky Terrace, return tram ticket, and a HK$10 discount for the Madame Tussauds entry). The Hong Kong city and forests view is seen quite clearly from there, even without the use of telescope. Good thing it wasn’t foggy nor raining.
"Renny, are you ready to bungee jump?"
I got curious about the vicinity, so I walked through a narrow curvy street across The Peak.
I loved it, it felt so relaxing and peaceful, until I saw someone was walking their dog. I have this fear of dogs, like, I get scared if they’d bark and try to bite me.
Interesting Stuff at The MTR Stations
We failed to find any free internet services since the beginning of our trip. Well, the Bridal Tea House hotel actually provides free wi-fi connection at their lobby, but it’s not so convenient because our only device that could come handy was Renny’s Blackberry. So it was a pretty sweet surprise when we saw these two computers for internet use at Central MTR station! Right away we checked our emails there – dude, it’s a vacation and still we had to take care of some work stuff.
Some ads for Diesel products caught our attention because we simply liked the ideas. They were displayed on some sort of LCD’s along a passage in a station.
Actually there are a lot of ad displays like this in Hong Kong. Here are some more.
Ladies Market, Mongkok
After a series of MTR ride, we finally got to Mongkok, where Ladies Market is located, one of the famous budget shopping places in Hong Kong. It’s a looooong row of stalls that sell diverse kinds of goods. Clothes, souvenirs, boots, lingerie, even foot massages.
Unlike my first visit to this market four years ago, this time I didn’t get too excited with their offers. So I only got me some souvenirs for my friends back home, a bag tag, and.. I think that’s pretty much it.
The more interesting thing was that there are so many Nike stores in this area, like, you can find it in every corner. And the great thing is that each store can have different collection, with lower price than they would in Indonesia, and a lot of them aren’t seen in Jakarta’s Nike stores. At least that’s what Renny said, ‘cos she’s a better shopper than I am – by ‘better’ here I meant she knows by heart what’s in stores, literally.
The police in uniform reminded of Tony Leung
& Takeshi Kaneshiro's characters in Chungking Express.. :D
& Takeshi Kaneshiro's characters in Chungking Express.. :D
On the first night we didn’t purchase anything because we still wanted to compare with other shops that we were probably gonna see in the next day. But after checking out the malls and stores at Causeway Bay the day after, we decided to go back to Mongkok, and a pair of shoes and a clean white travel bag are what we purchased from those Nike stores. ^_^
As much as I love the travel bag and everything that I had bought, these Hong Kong movies were my best buy thus far.
It cost about HK $19 / VCD. Yup, VCD. Why? Because the movies that I wanted weren’t available on DVD’s, except one. Bright side is, well, VCD’s cost way cheaper than DVDs, so that kinda gave me more budget for other expenses :P
CHUNGKING EXPRESS, not the movie
One of the VCD’s that I bought is titled “Chungking Express”, one of my most favorite movies of all time, directed by Wong Kar Wai, and Takeshi Kaneshiro, the handsomest Asian actor, starred in it along with the famous Tony Leung, and Faye Wong. The story evolves around the lives of the characters that took place in Chungking Mansion and vicinity. Hence, one of my few must-visit places in this trip: Chungkin Mansion, on Nathan Road, Kowloon.
To get there from our hotel, we took the MTR from Hung Hom station, changed lines at East Tsim Sha Tsui, and finally got off at Tshim Sha Tsui station. Gosh, typing these Chinese spellings make my fingers all twisted.
This Chungking area turned out to be much more civil and less threatening than how it’s pictured in the movie. That’s a relief! The first few floors are consisted of shops and money changers, and the higher floors are of lodges.
A couple of things I noticed that resembled the movie were that I saw many Indians or Pakistanis around the building, and when we went upstairs just to see what it’s like, the place was a bit rundown in some parts and I felt like people looked at us a bit funny and with not so friendly stares. But hey, maybe that's just me.
We went out to the alley next to the building, and guess what we saw: a man sleeping on the floor at the back entrance of the next building, and some stalls selling porn mags. And suddenly the drug-dealing and murky alley scenes from the movie flashed before my eyes, and, yeah, I guess it’s time to walk back out to the open and bright main street :P
Surprisingly, More Shops!
Sometimes I think that this trip contains too much of shopping… Wait, lemme rephrase that. I didn’t plan this to be a shopping trip, but turns out I do like shopping, and Hong Kong gave me the chance to splurge on this amusement of mine. And there’s really nothing I could do about it. Hee hee.
We surprisingly found rows and rows and rows of shops, especially clothing shops, in the area behind Chungking Mansion. I forgot all the streets’ names, cos what we did was just walk and walk and walk, and enter any shops that looked interesting. Some sell too expensive stuff for us, but a lot were still in our budget. And to our defense, we know that a lot of Indonesian retailers get their goods from Hong Kong (and Bangkok), and obviously they’d put much higher price. So, why not buy the goods where it’s from while you’re at it?
Too focused on shopping, I didn’t feel like taking many pictures. And much to my surprise was that I actually came to a point where I kinda got tired of shopping. Plus, it was lunch time. So I begged Renny to take a break and have lunch for a while.
I didn’t even wanna look too far for any interesting place to eat. Any diner would do, and so we landed our butts at a Pizza Hut parlor because that’s what was nearest to our standing point at that time. But hey, it wasn’t bad because they have many different kinds of dish than the ones in Indonesia. Quite a sweet surprise there.
Tram and Dim Sum Adventures
We wandered around Causeway Bay which is – as any parts of Hong Kong – full of shops and shops and shops. As I remember we didn’t really purchase anything there because the good stuff there are mostly way out of our thrifty budget.
But I liked it that we just wandered off spontaneously, just like usual, and hopped on a random tram that apparently took us to Wan Chai district.
Our only quest was to have a taste on dim sum. It’s one of our favorite food and we would go out to eat dim sum in Jakarta quite a lot, so we’re curious how it’d taste in Hong Kong.
Turns out, it wasn’t easy to spot a dim sum diner. So once we saw one from the 2nd floor window of our tram, we got off at the closest stop and walked back to the diner. Lucky for us, they have very delicious dim sum. Too bad some of the ones I wanted to taste was filled with pork, so I couldn’t eat them. It’s a religious thing, so never mind.
We noticed that the tomboy lady at the cashier dresses differently than most women in Hong Kong, and she speaks English quite fluently. After getting information from her about Happy Valley and about the way to Guangzhou, I couldn’t help myself but ask how she could speak English so fluently. And the answer wasn’t really surprising: she just got back from living in Canada.
Oh, you might wonder what Happy Valley is all about? Well, it’s a suburb where they hold horse races. We were looking at possibilities to see a race there, unfortunately the races are only held on Saturdays and Wednesdays, didn’t match our schedule. Well, that’s one reason to come back to Hong Kong next time ^_^