Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Michael, Nicola and I took a tuk tuk back to the old city again (well there is not much else to do here!) Went to the main gaht again, fended off the hawkers with ease and looked in a few shops. Had a nice lunch at the hotel and spent most of the afternoon on the computer. On the advice of a lad i was chatting to earlier, i booked my 3 nights accomodation in Hong Kong online for 22 pounds a night. At 18.45 we boarded the sleeper for Delhi. The group were a lot more split up this time; Manu and I were in a compartment with an Indian family. I couldn't get comfortable in my bed - if my feet hung off the end they would get hit when the door opened, so I had a pretty bad nights sleep. The toilet was a lot better this time. Again we were delayed by about 2 hours and the train seems to spend as much time stationary as it does moving. I figured that we did 450 miles in 15 hours, so 30 miles an hour.


Not much happened. The tour is winding down now. In the evening we all went out for food and drinks at the upmarket DV8. Michael did a speech for Manu and gave him all of our tips in envelopes. I had a few to drink and got to bed at 0030.


I was up at 3.10 feeling bright and breezy (yeah right!) My taxi was at 03.30 and check in was at 04.00 even though the flight wasn't until 07.00. Landed in Hong Kong at 15.00 after putting the clock forward two and a half hours ( i am now 7 hours ahead of GMT). The airport is ultra clean and modern, all steel, glass and white. The tourist information girl gave me loads of info, her English was good but very quick so it was hard to follow - still, i walked away with a map with circles drawn all over it and a leaflet on things to see and do. My hotel area in Mongkok, Kowloon is very lively with flashing chinese signs everywhere. I eventually find my hotel - my room (on the 13th floor) is tiny but air conditioned, the bathroom is the size of a bath with a shower but no cubicle - the water just runs over the floor to a drain. I went into the first 'restaurant' i found and had chicken (skinny bits of thigh i think!) in blackbean sauce. All local transport and street signs have an English translation, other than that there seems to be very little English - trying to find my hotel was a struggle as everyone i asked didn't have a clue what i was saying. I remebered that the tourist information girl had written my hotel name down in chinese, showed that to a man and he pointed the way - why didn't i think of that earlier?


The weather was very overcast. There are plenty of McDonalds in Hong Kong so i had a mcmuffin for breakfast. I found out that Italy won the world cup so i won the green watch sweepstake. I got on the Metro which again was very clean and modern, there are steel seats with no cushions. Getting around is pretty easy either by metro, bus, ferry or taxi - there are very few cars about probably because everything is close together and the public transport is so good - the buses run exactly to the timetable. The ferry is fantastic and only costs about 2 quid. I went to Stanley market, Repulse Bay (a short sandy beach), Ocean Park, the zoological and botanical gardens and finally went on the peak tram on Hong Kong island, I stayed at the peak until it got dark so i could see all the lights on both sides of the river - the weather was still very cloudy so the view wasn't as good as it could have been and i think my photos were rubbish. Apart from all the travelling around i did a lot of walking so it's been a long day. I finished the day with a reasonable beef in chile sauce for 32 HKD. (14HKD to 1UKP)


Pissing down. This was to be my first use of the Johnny 'Extreme' Moulder monsoon proof, hurricane proof, earthquake proof and bomb proof jacket. I took the Metro to Tung Chung on Lantau island. From here on there are just a few light showers and i am left to carry this bloody jacket around all day - still, shouldn't moan. I use the buses to cover all the sights of this tiny island. The island is mountainous and covered in forest. There is a monastry with a giant outdoor Buddah (the head alone weighs 5 metric tonnes!), the wisdom path which has something to do with infinite spleadour, here i read 'Understanding the relativity of all standpoints will prevent one from becoming irrationally attached to things. In this way one will become free of all mental obstruction' - DEEP!

Went to a fishing village where the people live in tin houses on stilts. Found Hollywood road and Manmo temple but they were rubbish.

Finally got to the avenue of stars on the south bank of Kowloon to witness the symphony of lights - all the sky scrapers on the opposite bank lights and lasers dancing to music - very clever.

I went to a more upmarket pizza restaurant and had peking duck pizza (a small amount of duck peeking out from under the mushrooms, peeking - get it!) and a beer for 116 HKD. The bigest adventure today was on my walk to the wisdom path, i turned back half way and did one of those runs where you keep your knees together until i got to the toilet - this was to be my first number 2 in a squat toilet - after some precision bombing, some awkward wiping (the bin was too far away), i was just glad that this one had toilet paper as many of them don't, i was back on the path to wisdom. Hope i'm not going into too much detail for you but this was a momentous occaision!


Awoke at 09.00 with a case of the 2 bobs (sorry to get back to this subject). My plans to visit a Hong Kong history museum were scuppered as i stayed in my room. The episode passed fairly quickly and i checked out at 11.00 and took the metro to the airport. On the plane I was sat next to a young chinese couple who kept kissing, just glad i wasn't in the middle seat! If Grant had been there he would have shouted 'GET A ROOM!' It was pissing down when i arrived in Bangkok but after a 2 hour crawl by bus through the rush hour traffic to Khaosan road the rain had stopped. I was sat under a drip! I found the Hotel Sawadsee Banglumpoo without much problem. Nice room with air con, double bed, shower (with cubicle) and free breakfast for 8 quid (i had pre booked for one night on the internet but will stay at least for one more night). Went straight out. Khaosan road was not at all what i expected - not much atmosphere in the bars. I had a nice chicken green curry for 50Baht (65B to 1UKP) and after searching high and low for some atmosphere found Gullivers where i met Scottish Ed and Dan from North London - i chatted to them over several beers and found out that any Thai girl who shows any interest is a prossie which is a shame because there was a pretty one across the bar and there were several of them plying their trade in the pub. Drinks were 75B here.


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Ro Mark & Elliot said...

Hi Ads.
It seems your cast iron stomach is letting you down a bit. I'm not sure I can take much more reading about your poo. However, Michael Palin has nothing on you. I am itching to correct all your grammatical errors and spelling mistakes but shall restrain until you are home and I become the editor of your published travel journal!
Elliot sends you a big hug. He's now standing and generally getting into everything. He's very excited about getting the shirt you bought him. (I myself am a little nervous as I've always felt your fashion sense is rather dubious!)
Looking forward to your next installment. Travel safely.
Ro, Mark and Elliot

Karen and Christophe said...

Hi Ads

I think maybe the fact your staple diet of curry, rice and kingfisher beers maybe causing a few digestive issue - may I suggest a dose of veggies mixed with a few tablets of immodium as a remedy - failing that think 'supersize me'. However am very amused by your stories so far and am relating and translating it all to Christophe - equally amused by bodily malfunctions! looking forward to seeing you in our town. Love Karen and Chris X