Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Our 115 day World Cruise, day 66, Hong Kong

The time goes so fast that I cannot keep up with it! In a few days March will be half gone and in another 3 weeks most of the snow birds will have gone home.

I do wish that I was spending the day with the group on the Amsterdam.  Of corse, I would want to be on a tour of Hong Kong.  Instead we went to coffee, then to get the car washed, to Sprouts to pick up groceries and then to Curves.  QT got our peach tea in so we are happy now.  We went home and I did not feel very good.   At 5:00 we left the house to go out to dinner.  a friend of Vicki's came into town from Denver.  40 years ago Kay and Vicki worked together!
     This is Lynn at Curves.  Everyday Lynn wears Vicki's ring while we exercise.                                            

                                            I guess she wants us to go and exercise!                          


                                                 Debbie, Kay's friend came to pick her up to go back to the hotel!                                

Where we did not go today....but the Amsterdam did!

Postcards from Paradise!

 Hong Kong, Special Adminstrative Region, Peopl's Republic of China March 11, 2013 Monday

Well, we are back. Better late than never, we say, but we have been shut down with our computer for the last three days. Perhaps it is due to the age of our laptop, but when the gangway is set up over our room, we cannot even turn the computer on. Jacques, the internet guru, suggested that the xray equipment may be messing with our signal. So we will try hard to catch up.

Hong Kong consists of part of the mainland of the southeast coast of China, and 235 islands. For 156 years, Hong Kong was a British dependency from the 1840's to 1997. It was at that time, that Hong Kong reverted back to Chinese sovereignty, although we have not noticed any changes as tourists to this region. What is very nice is the fact that we still do not have to obtain a Chinese visa to visit Hong Kong.

This city is a forest of skyscrapers, a stark difference from the days where hardly a house existed here. We docked very early this morning after a 6:30am sail into the harbor. Travel guide Barbara gave a narration as we sailed into the scenic harbor, despite the fact that it was extremely foggy. We watched and listened to this narration from the comfort of our bed while watching the ship's camera set on the bow. Only a handful of folks were up and out on the bow at this time of day. The biggest draw out there would have been the "Star Ferry Rolls" offered by the waiters. Even those were not enough to draw us out.

The ship docked in the regular slip at Ocean Terminal, which is so convenient for all of us. We are connected directly to Harbour City, which is Hong Kong's largest shopping mall with over 450 shops of all kinds. There are 50 food and beverage outlets, and three hotels connected to this 4 story structure. You need a map to navigate your way from one end to the other without getting lost. Once you get outside, there are several ways to walk. There has been rumors that we may not dock here next year, since a new terminal building is in the making near the old airport. Next year, this slip may be used only by the Star gambling boats.

Today we decided to take a walk to the Avenue of the Stars first, passing through the Star Ferry area on the way. As expected, we had to fend off the numerous tailor offers for custom made clothing. They do good work if you happen to find the right tailor, but we took care of that job with the ship's recommended tailors before we arrived here. On the waterfront, we sat for a few minutes by the huge bronze pig, which we believe represents wealth. Locals lined up to take their photos with him, and before we knew it, the same locals were taking our photos. Why, we don't know, but they took turns posing with us while their friends took pictures. Who knows, we may end up on the most wanted posters somewhere in Hong Kong!

After watching the harbor traffic of ferries, fishing vessels, a few sampans, and dinner boats, we crossed over Salisbury Road, and wound our way towards Kowloon Park on Nathan Road. As many times as we have been here, we never took the time to climb the stairs to see this park. Assuming it was one big grassy area, we were pleasantly surprised to find acres of tiered manicured gardens. Apparently, Kowloon was once a walled settlement back in the early 19th century when the Opium Wars were happening. Over the years, this area became very seedy until 1987, when the old fortress was reclaimed. The South and East gates of the original walls were uncovered and now preserved. Now the gardens are superbly planted with colorful flowers, surrounded with ponds containing turtles.. Near the top of the tiered park is an aviary that houses parrots, macaws, pheasants, pigeons, and hornbilled birds. A huge swimming pool was also part of the park, although it was closed due to maintenance. We must have spent two hours taking our time hiking this park. Who would know that such a peaceful place could exist in a city of millions?

Back at Harbour City, we stopped at a restaurant called BLT, and ordered excellent hamburgers with skinny? fries....... yeah, sure. It was wonderful to sit and relax, because we intended to go back out into the city after a short break on the ship. The Night Market, which sets up earlier than nighttime, is a fun spot to explore. We headed there around 5pm after a 45 minute walk from the ship. There is a lot of food stalls near the market, but we never go there to dine. In fact, most of the make-shift cafes do not get rolling until later in the evening. We walked through the stalls, looking for a new umbrella to replace our leaky one. We could not find a suitable one anywhere. The only other item we searched for was a white bracelet, which was also hard to find. It turned out that buying four of these bracelets at one stall was a better deal than buying one. The vendors love to bargain as much as we do.

We took our time walking back to the ship and still had a bit of time to get ready for 8pm dinner. There were only four of us, but you know what? It was nice for a change, very relaxed and also very speedy. We were all tired, no exhausted, after a long, busy day, so ending our meal at 9:30pm was perfect. The dining room was really empty of guests, since the new folks (250 of them) embarked today, and were probably tired. You can always spot the new guests, since they are the ones walking around like zombies, due to jet lag.

We had unexpected gifts tonight...................two wheeled airline carryon bags with the 2013 world cruise logo sewn on them. These are the same size bags we got last year, and are most useful. These bags are much smaller than the rolled duffels we used to get, but according to the guest's past observations, they like the high quality airline carry on bag much better. We agree totally.

Bill & Mary Ann

Hong Kong 

Here are the photos from my amazing flight over Hong Kong…..  What a magnificent day!!!!!

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