Our adventure comes to an end!
13.08.2012 28 °C
Looking at the blog, I see that the pictures are not where they are supposed to be. You can find them by scrolling down the page to the earlier blogs. They are on the left hand side. I was disappointed to see that as they were supposed to be mixed in with the writing. I don't know what happened??
We flew in around 8pm to Hong Kong. We had been hoping to see the Harbour Light show from our Hotel Room at the YMCA Salisbury Hotel but due to our late arrival, we had missed it. Our first stop was the money changers as the morning Rupiah currency from Bali and the noon Singapore dollars were no longer useful to us. Next we bought a ticket for the fast train which took us to the MRT station. From there we grabbed a cab and arrived at the hotel. For a YMCA, it was quite a surprise, as it had a beautiful lobby and they were very professional at the front desk. Due to our late arrival and the fact that they were full, they were kind enough to put us in a full harbour view room on the 16th floor. The boys also had one.
As soon as we entered our room, there was a knock on the door and a lady delivered a beautiful fruit basket.
After changing, we walked up Nathan Road which is a main road in Kowloon. Although it was 9:30, all the stores and restaurants were bustling with people and the sidewalks were crowded. There was a slight drizzle. We eventually found the night market and did some bartering for the usual cheap knock off sunglasses and watches. Mark bought a shirt for the wedding. Daniel bought his Beats headphones. We were also looking for a restaurant as we hadn't eaten since Singapore so ducked into one of the busy store front restaurants along the street. Each restaurant was trying to lure us in by handing us there menu at the door. We picked one that was packed with Chinese people figuring that is a sign of good food.
After dinner, we continued to walk around the streets marvelling at how busy the streets were at midnight on a Thursday night. Tables were set up on the streets and people were eating full meals and there were moms with small children, teenagers and elderly all out as if it was broad daylight. I remarked that it is such a sharp contrast to where we live as each winter evening, we each go to our own house and the streets of downtown are deserted. Naturally since everyone is out so late, nothing opens in the morning until after 11am as they must all be still sleeping.
Our morning started with a fantastic breakfast which was included in our hotel price. It was a beautiful buffet on the harbour front including a mixture of Chinese and Western foods. From there, we packed up and checked out. There was a free shuttle to the train station but we didn't really know where it stopped and it was raining so we finally just grabbed a cab and quickly went to the station. It is only a few dollars and convenient when you are four. At the train station, we were able to actually check our luggage for our flight to Canada and get our boarding passes. With our bags checked, we were free for the rest of the day to wander Kowloon until our flight left at 4:30pm. Our agenda included the bird market, the flower market, and some shopping for sports type clothing. The street markets were really fun and the clothing shopping looked like you would need to do a separate trip to really do it justice.
On the flight back to Vancouver that day, we had time to laugh about some of the things that we experienced in Hong Kong. First of all, the cab drivers. Well, you never know what you are going to get. Some of them don't speak any English, while one guy could name all the Prime ministers since confederation. One had terrets so he kept making all these jerky movements and noises. The one that took us to the bird market never actually got us there. He didn't seem to speak any English, and had no idea what we were asking. We even had a map and circled the street name and showed it to him. He was completely lost and took us on this crazy round about way to get there. He was also a nervous driver and finally, Mark just said, " We are getting out here, I can't take this any longer."
As we read the paper on the plane, we found out that the bird market had just opened the day before after being closed for three weeks due to bird flu! They had culled 1000 birds. No wonder it was so quiet there!
We also found out that Hurricane Vincente had blown through on Monday, July 23 and wreaked havoc on the city. (worst storm since 1999) That explained all the people sleeping in the last three airports we had been through yesterday. There were people on our flight who had been trying to get out of Hong Kong airport since Monday and hadn't seen there luggage since then. We had originally been booked to fly into Hong Kong on the Monday as well but for some lucky reason the idea had come to us to ditch that plan and head to the beaches for 3 more days instead of shopping in Hong Kong. Turns out, we likely would have been sleeping in airports had we not made that decision. Sometimes you just know you are being looked after from above!
While we were in the airport, we were also trying to book a flight frome Vancouver to Penticton to attend a wedding. It was funny because we knew we were flying into Vancouver at 1:30pm on Friday July 27 but it was 3pm Friday, July 27in Hong Kong at that moment so if we were trying to book a flight for 2:30 pm out of Vancouver, we would have been booking a flight for a time before the time we were in. It would be like saying our flight left from Vancouver a half hour ago but we can still catch it tomorrow. (Back to the future!! )
We felt very priviledged to be able to do this trip with our children and hope the memories will be savoured for a life time. As our kids grow, they will continue to have their own adventures but we feel grateful in knowing that they still wanted to travel with us and it was amazing sharing this experience with them. As the saying goes, "It's not the destination, its the journey!" We travelled 32,599 km or 20, 257 miles in less than four weeks using 17 flights, 12 boats, 3 buses and too many taxis to count. We encountered beautiful people with generous spirits and kind hearts. We met people from many cultures and backgrounds and gained a better understanding and respect for people of Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and Budhist religions. Is there anything we would do differently? NOT ONE THING! Would we do it again? IN A HEARTBEAT!
"The ordinary traveller, who never goes off the beaten route and who on this beaten route is carried by others, without himself doing anything or risking anything does not need to show much more initiative and intelligence than an express package. " Theodore Roosevelt