Saturday, November 22, 2008

John R's Vacation Pics

            From Auckland we flew back to Sydney Australia before continuing on to Hong Kong, which is now part of the Peoples' Republic of China. Because it was formerly a British colony, there are still a lot of places with English names and English was spoken by everyone with whom we came in contact.


         We landed at the brand new Hong Kong Airport that is considered by many to be the world's most modern. The airport on Lantau Island is connected to the central part of Hong Kong by a wonderful subway system. There are now suicides by people jumping onto the tracks in front of incoming trains because there are two sets of doors - one set separating waiting passengers from the tracks a second set on each train. The trains pull into the station and the doors beside the tracks open first, followed by the ones on the trains. And with Chinese ingenuity both sets of doors always line up perfectly.


         On our first morning we took a tram built 120  years ago to the peak above Hong Kong Island. The tram climbed up the mountain sometimes at an angle of nearly 35 degrees. It was disappointing on the top because the city like many Chinese cities was blanketed in fog possibly caused by the coal fired power plants.


         The next day we crossed the harbour to Kowloon by ferry that cost only one Hong Kong dollar, less than 15 cents Canadian. From the boat we got excellent views of the skyline of Hong Kong Island. Because of the cheapness of the ferry we preferred taking it to the subway. Kowloon had some of the most interesting shopping areas. We really enjoyed the night market on Temple Street where you had to haggle with the merchants to get the best deal possible. We also found a Chinese walk of fame where movie stars like Bruce Lee were honored.


         The following day we took the subway back to Lantau Island to visit a giant statue of Buddha. On the same island we could have gone to Disneyland but we were more interested in seeing the giant statue of Buddha. To get there we had to take a gondola ride up the mountain. When we got to the bottom again we were hungry and had a great pizza at a Pizza Hut there. It's odd that although Doreen and I both love oriental food, we ate at a lot of western restaurants including the Outback steakhouse twice.


         Stanley Harbour was our destination the next day. Stanley was on a beautiful bay on the ocean side of Hong Kong Island. To get there we rode in the front seats at the top of a double decker bus over the mountain. It was like riding a roller coaster. Stanley is famous for its outdoor market where we again searched for bargains. The return trip to Stanley cost only 14 Hong Kong dollars, a very cheap ride. All transportation there, including electric trams, was very inexpensive.


         On our last day in there we wandered around trying to discover places we had not yet seen. Hong Kong is an extremely vibrant city, teeming with futuristic skyscrapers as well as lower buildings. The one thing that was constant was the commerce - with people everywhere working hard to earn a living and make their lives better. It is definitely a city to which we'd like to return some day. Next installment in a few days.

Thanks for printing this Marty. I hope everyone enjoys the photos.


Thanks John R.

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