Friday, November 19, 2010

24 hours in Hong Kong

I arrived in Hong Kong early on November 11th.  The port is in a gorgeous location between the two sides of Hong Kong.  I walked off the gangway and literally stepped foot into a mall.  Finally, an Westernized shopping center after months of markets filled with trinkets that I will find obscure when I return home in one month.  I walked into the baby section of the mall, filled with D&G Junior, Burberry Children, and countless others.  The mall had wireless but no benches so i sat on the steps until a security guard came over and scolded us for sitting down, so now I had nowhere to go.  Ali, Lindsay, Allison, & I walked to find Starbucks which did not open for another hour so I literally stood with my laptop to get internet until I could sit down in Starbucks.  The view overlooked the harbour and was worth the wait until I realized you had to pay for their internet.  It is near impossible to find internet in other countries.

We ate at a Vietnamese Restaurant and I had Pho, despite just leaving Vietnam.  Afterwards, we took the famed Star Ferry across the Harbour.  It is over 100 years old and a Hong Kong tradition.  Upon arrival, I took a bus to the tram which leads to the Peak.  The tram is an old tradition as well and goes up the mountain at a 60 degree incline so you are holding on for your life as there are not enough seats.  The Peak is a mountaintop overlooking Hong Kong and the view is incredible, countless skyscrapers compose the skyline and ships go back and forth through the harbour creating a 24 hour lively city.  Upon my return from the Peak, I got ready for Dinner with Terry Catton, a hotelie who I got to know the past two summers at Statler because he son did two summer programs at Cornell and is applying there this year.

Lindsay, Ali, & I walked to the gorgeous Intercontinental Hotel located on the harbour.  We met Terry's Wife, Julie, at the hotel bar and had a drink and chatted with her.  She is a lawyer and works with city legislature and the judicial aspect of Law.  Soon after, Terry joined and we watched the incredible lightshow.  All of the Hong Kong Skyscrapers sync their lights to music for 20 minutes which is incredible for that many companies to work together.  Dinner was delicious: Terry ordered everything as I cannot read Cantonese.  We shared the courses which the waiters placed on the Lazy Susan.  Terry managed the Mandarin Oriental so everyone in Hong Kong hotel society knows him and he is well respected but now ventures in Real Estate.  I began with pork in a honey mustard sauce followed my corn & crab soup, beef, lamb, pigeon (which was surprisingly delicious and had a roasted skin), and of course an entire fish, bones and all, which is hard to pick at but you get used to it after so many countries.  My wine glasses were constantly refilled: both white and red, I preferred the Merlot but drank both because they kept being refilled.  The service was impeccable  and I feel that we had 3 waiters plus the manager checking up on us.  Finally dessert arrived, I was stuffed but ate mango pudding and mini-snowballs filled with a variety of fruit.  We enjoyed each other's company until 11pm when Terry & Julie headed home and Lindsay, Ali, & I walked back to the ship.  On our way we toured the Peninsula which was regal and elegant with marble floors, however, being late mostly everything was closed as they have a large shopping arcade. 

When I arrived back at the ship, I packed for my Great Wall trip and then walked into the mall to get internet.  Ironically, you cannot sit in chairs at night but can on the floor.  Foreign rules are so hard to I literally sat outside Nike on the internet until I went to bed.
The Tram to the Peak

Lindsay, Ali, Allison, & I on top of the Peak

Me at the Peak

View of Hong Kong

Already decorated for Christmas and wonderful Christmas music filled the streets and malls.

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