What a great way to start a holiday! We have travelled by plane, train, boat, cable tram and above all on foot. So now, as we leave this frenetic place our feet are aching and my metal knees have had a real workout.
On Friday, taking the advice of the maps app on my phone, we headed out to walk to the peak tram. Maybe we got lost, but what was supposedly a half hour walk turned into an expedition involving bulk up hill streets and it took well over an hour. We got there only to be told that the queue was over ninety minutes long, so we gave up and found ourselves a coffee shop where we sat in the rain trying to get through the most enormous paper beakers of very weak coffee.
Just over the road was St. John’s Cathedral which provided a quiet and beautiful place for us to rest. A walk through some nice gardens provided a foretaste of a sight we were to see again and again. Groups of girls are to be seen picnicking, or just relaxing on the ground. They lay out a ground sheet and sit on it with their food, perhaps umbrellas for a bit of privacy and occasionally with music playing. We saw this often but it was most obvious on Sunday, I’ve read that Pilipino domestic or factory workers tend to gather on their days off so perhaps that’s what we were seeing.
The other thing which seems to dominate the lives of locals, old and young, is their fixation with their mobile phones. On the commuter trains about seven out of ten people will be messaging, playing games, watching videos or talking.
Friday afternoon and evening were spent at Kowloon, wandering Nathan Road, people watching and, as the evening progressed, perusing the almost infinite number of stalls at the Temple Street night market. Most stalls were selling cheap, tacky, new stuff ranging from hand bags through, mass produced oil paintings, sex toys, to electronic accessories.
Saturday morning before nine we caught a taxi to the Peak Tram, where we found no queue and rode straight up to the top. The view is something quite special, although there must be hundreds of souvenir shops and cafes. Next we took a one hour Star ferry tour on the harbour before visiting the history museum which had some interesting displays from prehistory through to today.
Today (Sunday) we tossed up the options for our last day and decided to visit the big Buddha on Lantau Island, which involved a fourty minute train ride, a fifty minute bus journey and a climb up 210 steps. And then we reversed the process. However the Buddha was pretty cool, the adjacent monastery was spectacular and it was great to have a look around the island.
We are sitting at the airport as it approaches eleven pm and our flight boarding time. Tomorrow London!