Hong Kong: Actual Day 1 - Victoria Peak and Tsim Sha Tsui


Hong Kong skies

Today would mark my first proper day in Hong Kong given my arrival the previous night couldn't really qualify as a 'day'. We started our day heading out for some breakfast at a store nearby (congee which I regretted) and then took the MTR from Fortress Hill to Central (where we realised we'd been standing on the wrong side of the escalator) in order to visit the 'longest escalator in the world' which had featured in Running Man. It was pretty exciting to be in that same street I'd seen in the first episode of their HK two-parter and I took the chance to run up that street myself, but it was actually somewhat anti-climatic.
Note: I didn't actually end up with many photos of the escalator because I failed massively with the Circular Polariser on our DSLR :'D

Breakfast of congee

We followed that lead to head up the many steep slopes all the way up to Victoria Peak though. It was quite a long walk, but there were lots of interesting things to see and learn about, such as the fact that only really well-off people were able to live up on the mountain and all the people walking their dogs in the opposite direction were all Filipino maids. We also walked past an international primary school, so there were quite a few foreign (by that I mean 'white') kids.

Victoria Peak Lookout

The Peak itself was pretty nice once we got there though the smog does mar the skyline pretty badly – which was a shame, since it got more smoggy as the day wore on. We spent ages taking photos until I was bored of it and had exhausted all the free entry areas so went to have some lunch (which, as four dishes four people, ended up being from 4 different countries) and afterwards I took the chance to try some Häagen Daz since there was a store there and I'd never tried it before.

Lunch at Victoria Peak

Then we headed on a long, long walk down the mountain. The first stretch was flat, a bridge above the actual mountain, but I started to wonder where we were going as we weren't going downhill. Following my father's lead, the walk turned out much longer than we'd expected and some parts were quite narrow with nothing in the way of protection from rolling down the slope if you slipped up, but finally we made it down with much relief by the way of a steep staircase and caught a bus (full of students) to Central Pier where we caught a ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui.

Ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui

There we visited the Avenue of Stars (I didn't know that many of the stars apart from the ones around the late 1990s and early 2000s, but many were crowded around the plaque of Jackie Chan) and walked around a bunch of shops just looking at stuff. Eventually we walked all the way into Kowloon where we had dinner and I wanted to just fall asleep at the table, bought groceries and headed back to the Avenue of Stars to look at the Hong Kong night view, though we missed the light show.

HK Nightscape

Tired, we caught the MTR at Tsim Sha Tsui back to Fortress Hill and trudged wearily to our hotel. That's the super-condensed version of it all, but I guess despite the fact that I am here totally reluctantly, I did enjoy myself today in some ways, although I come out of it extremely tired and I think a cold may return to me if I don't get a little more sleep in coming days.

It's strange how I feel about Hong Kong though. It still feels like an extremely extended Chinatown, yet not. Although I feel a little displaced, it doesn't feel 'different' from what I see in Sydney and I'm also slowly getting used to all the Chinese and learning some new characters by trying to read the signs. In my heart I kind of still feel as though I'm in Sydney, although I know I'm definitely in another continent entirely and the smog in the air just makes it that much obvious. But Sydney doesn't feel that far away from me after all. Twitter helps, I guess, but it also emphasises how far away we are just in the fact that I have to miss out on various things by being over here. It doesn't help that I keep wanting to blog though, so I do my best to not think about blogging. :)

Strangely enough, although I hardly ever use anything on my skin ever apart from water and soap in the shower, I've had to buy lip balm here. Not sure why, but putting it on anyway if it helps.