What a day! We drove Andy to work and Mike, Lynne and I left on foot to catch the tram to the top of Victoria Peak – the best view in town! You could see all of Victoria Harbor, Kowloon and the Central Business District. Amazing – the styles of architecture, how tightly packed the buildings are, and in one picture, the angle of the steep hills. The first thing you notice – anywhere in Hong Kong – is how clean the city is – streets, buildings, lack of graffiti. The buildings under construction have bamboo scaffolding that is covered in fabric to hide the actual work.
We rode the tram down – seems steeper in that direction and went to the Man Mo temple. Amazing incense coils – they must be at least 3 feet tall – they hang from the ceiling and take months to burn. People were worshiping while we were respectfully checking out the temple. Very different than someone walking into a traditional American service and taking pictures!
From there we went to a dim sum restaurant; Hong Kong is known for its dim sum. The waiter knew enough English to help us order and knew enough about American palettes to steer us toward some excellent dishes: shrimp spring roll, BBQ roll, shrimp and ham (hmmm, unusual) and an unknown dim sum – excellent! All served with hot jasmine tea. What a treat!
After being rejuvenated by lunch, we carried on with our tour. Lynne knew all the places to go! We went to the ‘Ladies Market’ – at least 2 blocks long, on both sides of the road – kind of like the ‘longest garage sale in America’ – held up and down Rt. 23! And you MUST bargain; until they get ‘mad’ and you start to walk away – then you get to the reasonable prices! But wait – there’s more!!! We went to the ‘Flower Market’ – blocks of flowers; mostly recognizable – a few not and the ‘Bird Market’ – again, blocks of sellers with birds in cages; all kinds of song birds, chirping along, bags of crickets and grasshoppers, waiting to be consumed, and the ‘free birds’ all trying to get a part of the action!
You think we might be tired; but no, we carried on and went to the JADE market. This is where the real action happened. Apparently Lynne is a regular customer, making her a preferred shopper, at a few of the vendors! What great bargains; what cool stuff! Mike got so tired watching the bargaining, he had to sit down for a while…Alice Leung (www.nfchk.com) had some excellent jade and gemstones; Chan Shing had wonderful cultured pearls; and the tagau nut hand -carved vegetable ivory items amazed us!
Refreshed by our purchases, but weary from the day, we caught a cab to ‘Refresh: foot & body massage’, 8 Lyndhurst, 10th floor. Lynne promised a foot massage, but it was SO much more. It started in a room with lowered lights and the sounds of birds chirping and trickling water sounds. We sat on a stool with our feet soaking in something wonderful. Our shoulders were massaged; we moved to a leather reclining chair with a warmed, scented drape around our necks. Our feet were thoroughly massaged; in ways I’ve never had my feet massaged before. Brought to mind the phrase, Happy Feet!
We then went on to meet Andy for dinner at an Indian Restaurant. I can’t remember all of the dishes, but they were fabulous! We walked around an area called ‘SOHO’, but nothing like the NYC version. Lots of hip bars and clubs. Lots of expats hanging out – I didn’t feel out of place. In Japan, I was a definite minority – but here, not so much. We caught a cab back to Andy’s building for the car to drive home. The city is beautiful – day and night!
Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings! Cheers!