Friday, 16 September 2011

The Hong Kong sojourn - 4

From the previous post: "...A bit of drizzle, but not much to bother. Stopped at a viewing point on the walkway to snap off some nice shots. And it was time to go back to the hotel.

Another day, another adventure. Coming up.
"



Leaving Hong Kong island


Yummy dim sums!
The day started like any other day, as you may have seen in my previous posts (HK-1, HK-2, HK-3). Today's highlights really were the trip to a huge mall, near the airport and the lovely lunch that followed at the food court. Have I said before, that I simply can't have enough of steamed dim sums? Any day, give me any number and I will be happy as a hungry baby with a bottle in its mouth. Have a look at the trays in the picture, delicious isn't it? And have to mention that the spicy chicken - a Sichuan province speciality, was a tongue bomber to say the least. I was left sweat soaking wet from head down, with paroxysms of pain and pleasure alternating on my facial muscles. Was it worth it? Yes. Would I repeat it? Maybe. 


After having picked up more clothes and other necessities, it was finally time to leave the mall, get back to the hotel, pack up and leave Hong Kong island. As I am blindly following my friend and guide, I have absolutely no clue where I will be staying for the night. And it does turn out to be a good choice.


Lamma island


We end up at Aberdeen dock on Hong Kong island, and realisation dawns on me that I will be experiencing one more mode of transportation of this city - boat! And guess what? The octopus card works here too. Incredible. So off we go on an approximately 45 minute sea ride, ending up at a resort on Lamma island. This island is known to the Chinese as Pok Liu Chau or simply Pok Liu. It is the third largest island in this city/state. Interestingly, the island is named based on its shape of the limb of a tree and its similarity to the Chinese character resembling Y.


Lamma island
It was a wonderful resting place. And the next day morning, waking up, sitting on the balcony and watching the far away skyscrapers minus the hustle and bustle of city life - it really felt like a chilled out holiday. Even the fishing boats and trawlers, seem to be crawling at a leisurely pace. There are many things to engage in, on this island. From trekking around the island, to visiting the authentic villages, still populated by fisher folk. Spending a day there was the absolute balm to the hectic lifestyle that the city somehow ingrains into your system, irrespective of whether you are a visitor or a resident.


After spending the day on this beautiful island and enjoying the breezy but calm beach, sights and people it was time to head back to the city once again. And this time, it was going to be Kowloon that was the destination.


Kowloon


Being back in the city, after the island was akin to stepping in through a time warp. One moment, it is the gentle breeze and calming sounds of steady waves landing on the beach, the next is the whizzing around of all modes of transportation carrying copious amounts of women, children and men, intent on reaching their destination at the earliest possible time. What a difference.


Finally, I ended up in a place called Mong Kok, which is quite famous for the extremely great deals on electronic products that one can find there. As I discovered first hand. But first, was meeting up with some more old friends for dinner. And if you are in Hong Kong, I strongly recommend that you should try to visit, at least once, a dai pai dong (classified as cooked food stall), before they completely disappear from Hong Kong. For the authentic Cantonese food and atmosphere. Do try to visit in a group, it's much more fun. The dai pai dong, we were ensconced in hardly looked like a stall on the street, as it had a full roof and was covered from four sides. But the tables, chairs, quick service all attested to it being one. And it was yet another gastronomic delight. Prawns in garlic sauce, fried beef strips seasoned with vegetables and an assortment of other food dishes were laid on the table, thanks to the skilful ordering by my friends. 


Street market entrance
Wading through offers galore


Finally, a walk through the street markets was undertaken. I could see pretty much everything and anything would be sold in these tented shops, neatly lined up in front of concrete shops. As my friend and guide had to go work, I had plenty of time browsing through various streets, looking at some exotic and inexplicable food products to stand knick knacks and souvenirs.


Also managed to find some of the latest electronic products and I discovered that negotiation works. I really have no issues negotiating, as long as there is mutual respect at the end of it all and both the trader and I have a satisfied countenance.


A tired but happy traveller, I was by the end of this day. And the next day promised to be even more interesting as my friend had agreed to take me to the very well known and popular hangout, followed up with the famous sound and light show.


Just a few more days left here, but the thought in my head as I dozed off was, I could so happily live here. How was I to know that the next day, would make this thought, nearly a resolution?


Lan Kwai Fong or LKF as it is popularly known. What a place to walk through. A jazzy, posh watering hole for the thirsty minded, would be the first thought that comes to mind. Having a beer and interacting with the staff at the classic Hard Rock Cafe was a pleasure. Exiting from here, we moved on to ferry that shuttles between Hong Kong island and Kowloon. We timed it just right. Everyday between 8-8.20 PM, many of the buildings lining by the sea shore, light up and gives an aura of beauty that could possibly be found in a concrete jungle.


Tsim Sha Tsui

Night view
Arriving on the ferry pier at Tsim Sha Tsui, often abbreviated as TST, we took a nice long walk by the sea front. Akin to Hollywood, there is a boulevard of stars (with hand prints) of popular actors and cinema producers like Jackie Chan. All that walking, left us hungry enough to go to the local version of a fast food joint, where I came to realise that toasted break with honey and sprinkled powdered sugar was a local favourite, apart from the soupy noodles. Finally, it was time to head home, with the indication given by my friend that tomorrow, I would be literally touching the sky! 


The next and last post in this series, comes up next.

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