8th October 2012
This was our second time in Hong Kong and we were really happy for the chance to explore more places this time.
We had lots of lucky discoveries.
My favourite topic.
My work colleague Anna told me about Tim Ho Wan, a Michelin starred dumpling restaurant in Mong Kok. It’s also listed as a Lonely Planet “must eat at” eatery. As luck would have it, the place was about 500 meters from our hotel so we fronted up on our first day hoping to get our queuing ticket without the expected long wait.
The place is so popular you are guaranteed to have at least 50 people ahead of you. It seats only 19 people so the queues for this delicious and oh so reasonably priced yum cha are understandable.
We went away with our ticket and then about an hour later we were unceremoniously directed to a scrappy, shared table and provided with the standard Chinese style menu with pictures. So we ordered rice paper rolls stuffed with pork, deep fried spring rolls and prawn dumplings, among other delicacies
Tim Ho Wan’s Cantonese meaning is “to bring good luck” and we felt pretty lucky to have found this nondescript place for really delicious treats. Fantastic! Worth the wait, the cramped seating and grumpy wait staff.
There’s something magical about medium sized kids and I found I couldn’t get enough of the beautiful Hong Kong lovelies.
One morning as we left our hotel we met a schoolgirl of around 8 or 9 who was with an adult carer, collecting money for her school. She had that happy infectious smile that I can’t resist.
Dave gave some coins and in return he was given an orange heart shaped sticker to place on his shirt.
The container for the cash was really interesting – an orange coloured strong plastic bag with a secure locked casing at the top, similar to putting coins into a slot.
Of course I didn’t want to miss out so I made sure to donate some coins to the next school kid I saw, and Sam did too. So there we were walking through the streets of Hong Kong feeling pretty good about showing off our stickers. There were lots and lots of other people wearing the same stickers and we could see kids collecting all over the place for different schools. I thought it was a great concept and something that could go well here in Oz. Or maybe it does already and I just haven’t noticed (must get out & about more at home)
I think Hong Kong actually means “markets” in Cantonese. We saw plenty of fresh produce – some of which we wouldn’t necessarily wish to eat. And of course the mandatory high-end designer junk you’d expect.
We’d heard of the big Buddha on Lantau Island and this time we didn’t want to miss it. So we took the Metro to Lantau Island (clever are we) and boarded a gondola on the chairlift to the island, around 6 klms, 45 minutes.
The scenery was spectacular and breathtaking. And then without warning, to the horizon appeared the massive Buddha. I’ve never seen anything like it.
We’ve been on the Cairns Skyrail to Kuranda which was wonderful and this was about 3 times higher and longer.
Once we landed we had to go through the obligatory souvenir kiosk, then a crazy place like a weird theme park before we could climb the 240 steps up to the statue. Monks stopped on the stairs and prayed to the Buddha along the way. The statue is made of bronze and sits on a lotus leaf. How on earth they made it I have no idea.
We also visited the Po Lin Monastery, a very peaceful place with lots of people burning incense and praying to effigies.
Hong Kong Harbour.
The most famous sight in all of Hong Kong, the harbour is everything you’d expect. We missed it last time and so we ventured out at night and were very glad we did. Overwhelming.
By around day 4 in Hong Kong we started to feel a bit travel weary and decided to lay low so Dave & I enjoyed lunch at the hotel restaurant with a couple of beers and a wander around the local neighbourhood.
That night we met our fellow traveling companions for the next 3 weeks.
Our lovely leader, Jing, gave us a very thorough briefing and we went through the ritual introductions. Our group consists of 11 travelers:
Stan and Kay from US
George and Marilyn from Canada
Margaret from Sydney
Helen from UK
Anne from Brisbane
Jimmy from Melbourne
Dave, Sue & Sam from Brisbane
Jing from Beijing.
It all started very well and I felt straight away that we would all get along just fine. That night Jing took us to a local Cantonese restaurant where she ordered all the food including a BBQ goose which I’d never had before. I think Jing was a bit surprised at how much food we all consumed, and this meal gave her (and us all) a good insight into our voracious appetites for Chinese food.
So after tomorrow we expect to have less luxuries than we have now. Let’s see what happens.
Ready now for the real adventure to begin. I have a good feeling about this. I really like our companions.