Trekking Through China…Hong Kong

Boarding the ferry in Macau, heading for Hong Kong

Hong Kong was the last stop on our itinerary. Hong Kong had always seemed to me to be such an exciting cosmopolitan city, so I was really looking forward to experiencing it in person. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, hubby’s cold had gone to his chest and he was feeling quite ill, and I was very tired, in part from having to get up through the night to try to bring his fever down. So we weren’t in the best shape to tackle this huge, bustling city.

Relaxing with a cup of tea and enjoying the view from our 36th-floor room at the Nina Hotel in Hong Kong.

The city was huge. Everything in the city was huge. Our hotel was huge…our room was on the 36th floor….and yes, what a spectacular view we had! But it took us awhile to figure out the elevators! You could only take “this” set of elevators to get to these floors, but you had to use “that” set of elevators way over there to get to “those” floors…and depending on the time of day, we couldn’t take the same elevator from our room floor to the restaurant floor…we had to go all the way down from the 36th floor to the enormous ever-crowded lobby, then cross over to the far side to take the other set of elevators to get to the 9th floor restaurant. And the closest public bathrooms to the lobby were on the 7th floor (a long way to go for a last-minute run before boarding the bus!) (and don’t forget, you can only use “that” set of elevators to get there!) Whew!!

Hubby and I quickly became rather disillusioned with Hong Kong…I was sea-sick on the ferry ride from Macau, and still  feeling a bit queasy by supper time. All we wanted was a bowl of soup. We searched the two shopping centres that were attached to the hotel, but couldn’t find many that had the menus in English or showed soup on the pictures. Not being in the mood for any weird surprises, we opted for the Japanese restaurant, figuring they’d have Miso soup. It wasn’t a fancy restaurant, we could see through the large windows that people were sitting at long communal tables. When we got to the door, the young lady showed us to a tiny room in the back. We could tell that it was a storage room by all the extra tables and chairs stacked in there. Baffled, I asked if we could just sit out in the restaurant with the other patrons. Well, that caused a commotion amongst the restaurant staff and in the end, someone came and told us we would have to leave…they were kicking us out!!! We had no idea why, we had been very polite, I don’t even think my hair was messy (for a change), the restaurant was practically empty, and there were other Westerners eating there too – and there was clearly no dress code involved – so we couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It was humiliating being kicked out in front of all of those people with no explanation…not an auspicious beginning to our stay in Hong Kong at all!!

So we had to go back to the hotel and ask the concierge where to go for a bowl of soup and he directed us to the hotel restaurant on the 9th floor, where, despite almost every table already being reserved for the huge seafood buffet being served there, the staff kindly found us a table, served us a soul-warming soup and even a yummy BLT sandwich for my now-growling tummy!

We did manage to find a bowl of soup in the hotel restaurant.

The restaurant on the 9th floor of the Nina Hotel in Hong Kong

On the way to the 9th floor restaurant, we found the swimming pool…but you could only reach the restaurant by this route at certain hours and by a certain set of elevators! You had to use other elevators at other times of the day. Very confusing!

Thankfully, our wonderful local guide, Patrick, showed us the better side of Hong Kong on our city tour the next day. We enjoyed his hilarious commentaries as we ventured out on a boat ride around a small fishing village/marina, lunched on a floating ship, shopped in the Stanley Market (not enough time!), oohed and aah-ed through the Recluse Bay area (he even showed us Jackie Chan’s house), and gazed out at the most spectacular views of the city from The Peak. It was a fun day…Patrick did a marvelous job of restoring our positive impression of Hong Kong. Here are a few pictures from our tour with Patrick.

Our little tour boat (well, this one wasn’t ours…we took the next one) (Hong Kong)

Our little boat’s captain – I don’t think he liked having his picture taken (Hong Kong)

Daily life in the marina (Hong Kong)

This guy found a unique way to get from shore to his boat! (Hong Kong)

Interesting sights in the Marina (Hong Kong)

Recluse Bay…apparently the hole in this apartment building is to provide better Feng Shui

Stanley Market, Hong Kong…colourful and eclectic, but expensive…and I still regret not buying that little orange purse, lol!

We had lunch here at the Jumbo Floating Restaurant (Hong Kong)

Some of the wall art in the Jumbo Floating Restaurant (Hong Kong)

More wall art at the Jumbo Floating Restaurant (Hong Kong)

Having fun at the Jumbo Floating Restaurant (Hong Kong)

Hubby’s turn! (Jumbo Floating Restaurant, Hong Kong)

The view of Hong Kong from The Peak (Hong Kong)

Another view of Hong Kong from The Peak

Hong Kong was just too big for hubby and I. I know, we sound like wimpy wusses, don’t we, lol. But that’s how we felt. We were not feeling well, we had no energy or stamina left, so that made it difficult for us to venture out on our own and do any meaningful exploring (though we did manage to find a McDonald’s two blocks away on our last day there and enjoyed a delicious pre-flight lunch, lol). Maybe someday we’ll be lucky enough to go back and try again.

We left Hong Kong for Canada the following afternoon. We were utterly exhausted, sick and barely able to tolerate the 24 hours it took us to get from the hotel in Hong Kong to our hotel in Montreal. We both arrived home with nasty colds, me with additional multiple infections that took over two weeks and aggressive antibiotics to overcome.

But we’re fine now. Happy to be home, but very happy that we went. Happy to have experienced all that we did. And happy to be going through all of our pictures to relive the entire experience over again. As time goes by, we’re realizing that the part of China we enjoyed the most was meeting the beautiful Chinese people all along the way – the laughing vendor ladies, the Rolex watch sellers, the plastic bottle collectors, the friendly staff and storekeepers in the various hotels, our fellow Chinese tourists on the Wall, on the cruise, in the markets…it’s their faces and smiles and mutual pleasure in meeting each other that most enriched our 23 days in China.

And although this was the last stop of the tour, I realize that I really didn’t do justice to Beijing when I first began this series on China. So I’m going to revisit Beijing in my next blog, and then maybe succumb to temptation and add one last page after that to show off some of the more interesting miscellaneous pictures that didn’t make it into any of the city-specific segments. So stay tuned…the trekking continues!

In the meantime, a few more pictures from Hong Kong!

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Near the conference centre in Hong Kong (hubby wasn’t feeling too well that day)

Sharon and Nathalie in our little tour boat (Hong Kong)

Another view of Recluse Bay (Hong Kong)

Our city guide (Patrick’s) dream car (did he make the bus pass it so many times on purpose?)

Watching a helicopter land (outside the conference centre in Hong Kong)

We had beautiful views of the sun setting over Hong Kong

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Copyright © Sharon C. Matthies, Meanderings (blog), 2012. All rights reserved.

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About Sharon

I love to write. I love to write myself into being right here right now. Writing releases something in me that needs wings, writing opens doors and windows that I often don't even realize are possible, writing helps me breathe out the dusty old, and to breathe in the new and possible. My hope is that maybe writing here in this blog will bring new light into these dusty old hallways and help me to clear out the thinking processes and mindsets that just don't work for me anymore. I seek to breathe new light and life into the nooks and crannies of a soul that has been feeling somewhat lost and frayed because of the last few patches of road I've had to travel.
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5 Responses to Trekking Through China…Hong Kong

  1. Thank you, Sharon! Your writings are so ‘real time’. I felt the verbal shove and heard the chatter in the Japanese restaurant! And tasted the soup…lovely pictorial…you should be in National Geographic.


    • Sharon says:

      Thank you so much, Wearingblinders! What kind words! I’ve enjoyed putting these trekking blogs together. And it’s even more fun that people want to read them!


      • eileen says:

        I must tell you…you’ve started something here! The WearingBlinders pen name will someday reveal the life journey of the one wearing them. Thanks, too, for getting that started!


  2. Angelika says:

    Don’t feel bad about being kicked out of that restaurant. We had a similiar experience in a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. They were so unfriendly, and we complained once about the food, because they forgot to bring half of it. Then these Chinese Mafia looking guys came to our table and told us to pay and leave! And yes…I had a bad hair day,. hope some hairs fell in their soup!
    I loved your description on the elevators and everything else. Great article,…as always!


    • Sharon says:

      Thanks Angelika! (I’m glad you could log in today, lol). Your experience in SF sounds scarier than ours! And maybe I wouldn’t have felt so badly if I had been badly dressed with messy hair, but I was quite decent and tidy that evening! Oh well, makes for a good story now, doesn’t it!


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