I begin this blog post as I sit on the A11 Airport Flyer at 5:30am and boy, am I tired – no doubt I will be finishing this post in a few days time on a computer!
IT’S been a non-stop trip, visiting old haunts and favourite places, and Hong Kong being Hong Kong, there are always new things to discover and new places to explore. I was only here for four full days, and I could have been there for twice as long and not run out of things to do. But, alas, all good things must come to an end and I am leaving Hong Kong to return to the equally wonderful Korea. It has been a trip that has put many things into perspective, raised questions and answered others. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
I’LL try to keep the waffle to a minimum, but before I launch into it can we take a moment to appreciate this piano that they have in the departures are of Gimhae Airport! Such a good idea.
CHECK out the map featuring all the places I’ll be talking about, and some honorable mentions, here. I’d forgotten how good google maps could be – It’s all but useless in Korea (but I’m getting quite fond of Daum now I can read Korean!)
But I digress… On with the show!
Tuesday 21st February 2017
NOT the most eventful of days, my flight was delayed and then I had to get from the airport to Fortress Hill, where I was staying. As this was near where I had lived for two years, this was no great effort, but I had forgotten the rush hour traffic – I ended up taking the airport express and transferring to the Island Line. So. Many. People. In Korea, people say that Seoul is busy. In comparison to Hong Kong, Seoul is a wealth of space!
MY first stop in Hong Kong was, of course, Tim Ho Wan’s. This is my favourite dim sum restaurant. The food is good, it’s cheap and it’s an all round good time. There are multiple branches around Korea, but I would recommend this one above the others! Sadly I have no pictures, we were all too keen to get stuck in, but this one from a few years ago will suffice – nothing has changed! It’s still incredible.
FROM here, Cara and I headed over to Wan Chai to The Pawn. I only went a couple of times back when I lived in Hong Kong, and I wish I’d gone more. A lovely atmosphere, lovely staff and (in my opinion) excellent company. It was lovely to sit outside and watch the world (or trams) go by!
The view from The Pawn, Wan Chai
Wednesday 22nd February 2017
FIRST stop Wednesday was the Simplylife cafe in Quarry Bay. Hardly somewhere you would go as a tourist, but as a former resident – and of this area in particular – I was all about to heading back to places I knew. The cups, the baking, the atmosphere… nothing had changed at all (well the design on the cups had, but they were always changing anyway!)
I then went on a wee wander around the area (which, indecently, was used to film part of the fourth Transformers movie!) The most notable change was that the gym that had once been above the McDonalds had closed. Round 1 to Maccy D’s there…
IT was then time to head to central and the ferry piers. Jasmine, Megan and I were heading to Cheung Chau – my favourite of all the islands around Hong Kong, noted for its lack of vehicles, it’s bun festival, it’s mango mochi and it even has a Mini Great Wall! Pier 5 is the one needed for Cheung Chau, with ferry’s going every 30 minutes. The fast ferries leave at 15 minutes past the hour and the slower ferries leave at 45 minutes past the hour. We took the slow one there and the fast one back – I can’t even begin to tell you the difference in time, but I do love boats!
View of Hong Kong as we left the harbour for Cheung Chau
WE moseyed around the island, walking down the prom and then winding through the streets. I took my dad here a couple of years back, when I was still living in Hong Kong. My dad had been posted there in the late seventies and he told me that Cheung Chau was how he remembered Hong Kong city itself to be, back in the day. I am please to say that Cheung Chau still hasn’t changed – and it’s mango mochi is delicious!
Boats in the Cheung Chau harbour
AFTER making it back to Central, we each headed back to base for a nap, a range of jet lag and general tiredness between us, and then Megan and I later headed to Temple Street Night Market. Meeting up with Amy at Yau Ma Tei MTR station, it was just like old times as we wended our way down the market. Again, little had changed. A few stalls I had once frequented were missing, but it was otherwise as it has always been. More importantly, The Spicy Crab at Temple Street was better than I remember – because you can’t go to temple street without eating at The Spicy Crab.
The Spicy Crab at Temple Street
Thursday 23rd February 2017
TODAY began with a Pacific Coffee trip! An old classic and, if I am going to frequent a chain, I much prefer this to Starbucks. The only reason I am now such a frequent Starbucks attendee is because, in Korea, it is one of the only places that offers soy milk. I am sure there are many more places in Seoul or perhaps Busan that do, but down in our neck of the woods, there is no such demand for it, or at least none that I’ve yet discovered!
I never noticed this was a giant coffee cup!
THURSDAY was Stanley day. This mean another market and, finally, after many, many years, a trip to the Pickled Pelican. It also included an ice cream from Gino’s on Stanley Plaza: ginger, lime and lychee sorbet. Alas, I have no picture, I wolfed it down in record time!
Hong Kong bamboo scaffolding – I love it!
We finally made it!
LATER we hit up Ladies Market (the third, and last of the trip) and I replaced the suitcase that got died on the trip over. Ladies Market has all the sparkle! On the subject of markets, It was subtle, and perhaps not immediately noticeable, but I noticed a higher mainland China presence in the tourist-tat on offer, things that weren’t there before! It was an interesting thing to observe.
WE were hungry after are meandering around the markets and our traveling from the south side of the island to TST, with only egg waffles to sustain us. We settled upon Fairwoods – Hong Kong’s version of fast food. Since I left, they’ve upped their game! Last time I’d visited a Fairwoods, you took your receipt up to where they made the food and waited for them to call your number. Now, they give you a buzzer which activates when you place it on the designated spot on the table, and they being you your food! Jasmine and I were suitably surprised! Fairwoods is going up in the world! (And the food is still nomalicious, as ever!)