Thursday, 1 December 2011

Thu 1 Dec - Hong Kong

Today, we decided to go east, young man.
Double decker tram was the choice of transport and the destination was Shaukeiwan, east Hong Kong Island on the water.

Funny pieces of transport these, they are very narrow and run on very narrow tracks and being two storey high  they look like they been squeezed from either side.  Hmmm... two storeys for short people but as each deck is about 175cm high they suit short-arses, no way Hans can stand upright on either level.  On a crowded tram he's jammed onto the back "loading deck." Trams come in a variety of different colour and motifs.

A lot of the tram is sort of in the open and these are the turnstyles to get in at the back of the tram. There are no windows here, and the tram can take off with people still trying to board. Collateral damage occurs regularly - we saw several people squeezed between doors during our trip.

Here is the tram driver adjusting his left side mirror while having stopped at red light. Of course, he sits on the right side of the tram. Two storey tram so we are sitting right on top of him.

 Very cheap they are, the trams...

We were out quite early, around 8.20am, and got stuck in rush hour traffic, with more and more people came onto the tram and when we passed the MTR station of Quarry Bay, an ocean of humanity appeared from the train station. I wouldn't like to have to go the other way...

Eventually, we got to Shaukeiwan, which was end of the line for that tram, and the local markets were in full swing there. No whities, and no tourist bull, just a market for the locals, with prices to match. Fresh and fresher was the motto here.

There was the butcher.This guy had a seriouly big knife and could he just handle it. Mr Chop Chop indeed. We loved this but if you're squeamish you should skip the next 3 photos.

This was his mate - he was pretty damn good with the knife too.

And who doesn't want to buy a freshly chopped goat's head? For your next satanic ritual perhaps?

This lady was cleaning and chopping of pieces from... who knows what. Some root fruit of some kind. Looked tedious and strange, but what do we know?

The fish was so fresh that many were flapping around and gasping for air in boxes where there was no water. The prawns likewise, where some of the prawns had made an escape to the fish boxes.  In this photo the white fish on the left was gasping and flapping around.

These really cool dudes were unloading something, and appearance is everything here.

We ended up buying 3 Jack Wolfskin jackets (first for Hans, then 1 for Di then went back for 1 for Jeremy too), for a total of HKD380, which is around A$50. Bargain. Looks and feels authentic - probably came out of the back door of the factory where they are made rather than through the front.

We thought earlier about going to The Peninsula in Kowloon for High Tea, but decided to give it a miss and instead wander along...  the shipyards. Much more fun, with a row of boat and car workshops along the water next to Shaukeiwan.
Some of these guys were restoring and repairing old boats and junks, and even though it does not come across in pictures, it was all very cool. Di was so fascinated she wandered right in to one workshop.

Nearby, there was a wharf with pretty clear instructions on how to fish. Note that you have to leave your explosives at home if you want to fish here.

Nice harbour though - looking out across to East Kowloon.

The little park next to the wharf and its rules and regulations leaves Mosman Council in Sydney clearly 2nd best when it comes to signage and what you can not do. Fourteen separate prohibited activities. Beat that Balmoral!

and another lovely park around the corner - lovely but a bit sterile with the same number of rules.

We wandered around the foreshore and through another park before getting on the tram again to go back to our hotel and drop off our shopping.

15 minutes later, we were on our way again, to look for an area called Tai Hang on Tai Hang Road which we had read about in Sydney Morning Herald (featured in Travel section on the day we left Sydney) that it is an emerging cool area of Hong Kong and according to our map, just around the corner from us.  Well, it was just around the corner from us, but we got there the "scenic" route as the maps are awful. Tai Hang does not make it to the map, and we figured Tai Hang Road would take us there - nope.  We ended up walking up the hill and then back down again as there was nothing but apartment blocks there. Nice views though over HK stadium.

After a Dim Sum lunch, where there was a surcharge for eating during "rush hour" between 12pm and 2pm, we went down some "scary" steps on the side of a cliff (well, Di thought it was scary) and found our way into a temple called Lin Fa Kung in Tai Hang. All by accident and very nice.

The temple is built into the cliff - so inside is part rock surface and the temple is on 2 levels.  It also had a loverly dragon in the ceiling, proudly pointed out to us by one of the blokes who worked there.

Next to the temple was the area of Tai Hang that we read about. The area consists of perhaps 5 by 5 small blocks of around 4 storey apartment blocks, in an interesting mix of motor mechanics workshops and trendy design outlets and eateries.

The funniest thing was this guy's workshop. Talk about maximising your space. It's about 1 metre deep at most.

Every where you look there are Mercedes Benz and other european luxury cars.  No joke - count out of 5 cars, 2 or 3 will be Mercedes, 1 BMW and something else.

We had 2 espresso coffees in one place and it cost us HKD88. You could feed a family for that in Hong Kong, but the coffee wasn't too bad, not burnt and tasted OK, but not temperature hot enough.

We then walked through Victoria Park, where they were setting up something that looked like it would be for Christmas celebrations. We wandered through, walked a couple of laps on one of the foot massage tracks (pebbles concreted into the ground that you walk on with bare feet - or for Di - in socks) and checked out the blokes racing the remote control driven boats.

There is an Ikea store just next to Victoria Park and we had a quick (no, nothing is ever quick about Ikea) walk through to get to the food shop to see what they had on offer. Same limited supply as in Sydney so we ended up buying an apple cider and a bag of Ikea winegums (or similar).

As usual, almost impossible to find the exit...

Di claims the place gave her a headache (no way out!) so we headed back to the hotel for a break.

About 6.15pm we head out again and decide to take tram to Wan Chai.  We were pleased to see local markets still going at 7pm and also some cheap clothing and shoe shops.  It's finally time to shop a bit and we both end up with a pair of shoes (Reeboks for Hans at $40 and black casual boots for Di for less than $20). Hans also bought long sleeved tshirts for himself and Jeremy.

Dinner was a stand up casual meal, as we used our principle of look for the crowds and the line up was at the Hot Star Chicken takeaway shop (since 1992). 
All they do is fried chook pieces - legs and wings - with a spicy batter and cayenne pepper, 3 pieces for $HK25 (or about $3.50).  Colonel Sanders got it wrong - the chicken these guys do it much much better. It was really nice, hot and spicy and we went back for a second serving. 
If you visit Wan Chai this is in a street parellel to Johnston Street, near the Wan Chai markets, about 1 block south.  Worth tracking down if you like fried chicken.

Home again on the tram being pleased with our evening shopping and $7 dinner. A cup of tea and the football channel on TV (BTW, if we haven't mentioned it before, China LOVES football). UEFA Europa League at the moment....

No comments:

Post a Comment