Saturday 23rd March
Our Ship berthed an hour late as usual, at 12 noon and of course, it wasn’t their fault. There were queues of angry cheesed off people aboard, trying to find out what was happening.
If you are a regular reader of my diaries over the years you will know, Florie and I have been here a few times. So, today is to be a relaxed visit, no queuing no waiting in line to board a coach. We left the ship just after 1pm and joined a throng of people so large; it seemed that all China had come to visit Hong Kong this weekend. Many of the young Chinese were in beautiful clothes. Every third person seemed to be pulling a suitcase.
We made our way across three streets. Walking against a tide of tiny people, filling the pavements to overflowing; on our way to Nathan Road. This is an expensive tourist area. The Hong Kong Authorities have added two more even more expensive roads. These are Canton Road and a covered two story walkway, all under cover, in Harbour City. These come complete with Dolce & Cabana, Gucci and many jewellers and watch shops. And get this ALL WITH QUEUES OUTSIDE with 20-30 people waiting patiently to be allowed in to buy their over priced goods! I’m not kidding you.
We crossed Nathan Road into Humphrey’s Avenue. Here we found a bureau de change where we changed our New Zealand, Japanese and Aussie money to Hong Kong dollars. We found a supermarket and bought 3 bottles of wine, 6 cans of lager, 2 packs of Pringles, a large tub of cheesy things, a bottle opener and deodorant for £32. This is good value as the cheapest wine onboard ship is £15 per bottle. Then we went for a walk in the beautiful Kowloon Park. We stopped in there to readjust the purchases to fit in my back pack. Then made our way back to the ship through the picturesque gardens.
Back on the ship, we dropped our things into the cabin and put our computers in my, now empty, back pack and went down to cruise terminal to use their free Wi-Fi. We chose to go in to ‘Mellow Brown’ an upmarket cafe/coffee shop, very pricey but we got a good seat. We ordered latte coffees and mixed berry fruit pancakes with soft ice cream.
“20 minutes,” the waiter told us.
Fine, we thought, that suited us. We got our computers out, a most unsatisfying experience, as the Wi-Fi kept dropping out. We only had a 30 minute free slot so, in the end, nothing got done. I got my laptop out with windows 7 on it. And that wouldn’t even accept the certificates saying “they were not what they seemed,” and it would not log on!! Well, of course, they are not what they seem, we are in China! Where all emails are intercepted and stored. When we went ashore past security, we saw face recognition cameras, heat sensors and grim guards.
Our coffees and pancakes arrived, large and looking good, each one the size of a side plate. The pancakes were fresh warm and melted in the mouth with a buttery flavour. The fruit compote was zingy and the large helping of soft ice cream was just delicious, it made our mouths tingle. I indulged myself and had two caramel coffees. My meal was a whole day’s calories on a plate and the two coffees were tomorrow’s calories. It was as expensive as it was calorific but worth every Hong Kong dollar!
At 8pm I was on the top deck of the ship in the centre of Hong Kong harbour awaiting the celebrated night time light show. And I am sorry to say that it was a disappointment, there seemed only few buildings participating, and some only had laser lights flashing.
From its heydays when the whole of each side used to light up, it’s quite a sad show now, only lasting about ten minutes. Back in the cabin, I rested my weary feet and read some more of James Patterson’s “Along came a Spider.” Good Night.
Nib in Hong Kong