I got up early this morning to check my Facebook page (which I only do in ports with enough time and free Wifi) and make calls to my family since there is about an 11 or 12 hour time difference. It was so great to hear familiar and loving voices after being gone for two and a half months!
Doug and I had breakfast on the ship and then got ready to take the ferry to Hong Kong island and proceed to Stanley Market (which we didn’t get to the last time we were here.) The ferry system works really well in the harbor and it only takes about 5 minutes to get from one side to the other. The other good thing about where our ship is docked – we are just steps away from the Star Ferry terminal. This is a picture of a ferry going from Kowloon to Hong Kong. And this is a picture of our ship and the Kowloon side as we were crossing over to Hong Kong.
Once we were docked, we walked to the bus terminal where we got on the Express bus that would take us to Stanley Market. It was a double decker so we sat on the top level to get an even better view of the sights. We went through part of the downtown area. I have always liked the architecture in Hong Kong and the way the traditional is mixed in with the modern as in this picture. And in the midst of all these buildings, you find cemeteries such as this. I find it all so interesting. And then as we got out of the city itself, the scenery changed as we passed beautiful bays with sandy beaches and high rise condominiums. Taking the bus was a great way to get to Stanley Market because it allowed us to see so many different parts of Hong Kong. It took a little over an hour to get there, and when we arrived, it looked just like it did when we were here last. It is a market area in Stanley, and it is very large with long rows of stand after stand of little shops – some just souvenir kinds of items while other shops had better quality wares. It is a great place to just browse and practice your bargaining skills. We spent several hours just walking up and down the rows having a great time. We also grabbed a sandwich at a little French café to hold us over until dinner. One of the funniest things we saw was this shirt for sale with the sign on it – obviously made for the Americans (compare it to the smaller clothes beneath it that the Asians buy!) We thought we’d spend an hour or so here, but we had forgotten just how large it is and how much fun it was, so it was much later when we caught the bus back to the city.
We took a different bus back because we met another couple from our ship at the bus stop and they told us about the one that went under the harbor (via the long tunnel) and dropped you off right at the Ocean Terminal, so you didn’t have to do the ferry. Well, since it was getting to be so late, we thought that sounded like a good idea. On the way back, we saw more working class neighborhoods and the government housing that the majority of the people live in. It’s a very different side from the downtown modern glitzy buildings we had been seeing. Here are some examples of the more local areas. It seems there are not many dryers in Hong Kong because we saw many balconies with clothes hanging out to dry. There were always long lines at rush hour for the local buses. And what we always found on the streets, no matter the economic level of the neighborhood, were planters filled with colorful flowers.
Well, a funny story about how the couple we were with did not actually know where to get off the bus, so we ended up going two stops past where we should have gotten off. If it hadn’t been for Doug noticing that we were not where we should have been, we could have ridden that bus into the wee hours of the night! So we ended up having a bit longer walk back to the ship. We enjoyed it because we were able to see and enjoy the lights and sounds of this city at night.
We had dinner at the Jade Garden restaurant in the Star Tower building close to the ship. It was an OK dinner – but the servers were not very friendly or helpful – and there were a lot of items on the menu that were very unfamiliar to us.
But after dinner we stopped by the jeweler to whom we had taken my necklace to be repaired. It was hard to find someone who would repair jewelry if you didn’t buy it in that shop. When we had taken it in the day before, he had only given us his card – not an official receipt. But he (Jackson) seemed like an honest business man, and it turned out that was a correct assessment because when we returned, he knew who we were and had the necklace all ready. In fact, when he showed us where he had made the repair, it was hard to find. He did an excellent job and I would recommend him to anyone.
We made it back to the ship in time to see the Hong Kong Cultural Arts show. It was basically the same group we had seen on the 2010 world cruise, but it was worth seeing twice. This time the dragon dance was better than before. But the most fun was seeing the man who changed masks over 20 times without your being aware of how he did it. Great show.
Back in our cabin, we looked out the window and had the best view in Kowloon! We looked out over the harbor at the high rise buildings on the Hong Kong side – just like what we saw in the light show. We could have watched it from our cabin if we hadn’t wanted to hear the music that went with it. It was a great way to go to sleep!