Are you ready?

Come and walk with us in HongKong!

 

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First, we’ll have a spot of breakfast, though.  OK with you?  The hotel is pricey and a little over the top for our simple needs, though, so we’ll dip into Pret a Manger next door.  Feels like home!

 

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Before we can go anywhere, too, we’ll need to buy a ticket.  The counter should be around here somewhere.

 

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We’ll buy an “Octopus” card each, shall we?  Just like a Metro card or an Oyster, but different seafood!  We can use this on the MTR, the tram, the bus and the Star Ferry too.

 

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Off we go!  Funny how it’s possible to see from one end of the train to the other. So clean and quiet too.  We are soon in Central Hong Kong.

 

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Mind you, there’s a long way to walk through the station to find the correct exit, but there is a moving walkway to speed things up a little.

 

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There, at the top of the stairs is the sign we were looking for – Des Voeux Road.  We have an idea to catch a tram to take us to the Western Market and start our meanderings from there.  OK?

 

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The trams are old and a bit rickety, but a good way to get from one end of the island to the other, and since they travel in a simple straight line, we’re not going to get lost.  We’ll get on at the back and work our way forwards to get off at the front, like everyone else, of course, but don’t forget to swipe your Octopus card as you pass the driver, or you’ll be in bother.

 

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Oh my, do please maintain your cough manners too, will you!

 

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In no time at all, we’re here at the Western Market.  hop off quick and take care crossing the road.

 

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This old building houses several small shops, including a few gift stores downstairs and some fabrics on the first floor.  Guess where we’re heading?  Let’s buy some pretty silks to make a couple of scarves, shall we?  We can pretend they came from some exclusive store.

What do you mean can we make them before we get on the ship, so we can wear them with a posh frock? 

 

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OK, I’ve got some sewing needles with me, but we’ll need to go up Pottinger Street steps to buy some thread.  Let’s look for the escalator to the mid-levels.  There’s a sign there on the lamp post.

 

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But look over there!  There’s heap of bamboo and a bundle of cable ties – they are about to erect it as scaffolding.  My goodness, I’d not feel too secure with that, but I understand that it’s even better than metal scaffolding in this climate.  Can you imagine building a skyscraper with only bamboo to support you?

 

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Ok, let’s go over the road and along the bridge which leads to the escalator.  Not many people about at this time of the morning.

 

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We’ll stay on as far as Hollywood Road, shall we?  That’s the street where we bought the lovely old embroideries we have framed on our staircase and perhaps the shop is still there?

 

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Well, no, it isn’t, but there are a few other interesting places along here and it’s good to get off the main streets and into a quieter area, isn’t it?

 

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There are a few interesting bits of heritage around here as well.  This is old Hong Kong, where some things really haven’t changed a great deal.

 

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With so many antique and art stores around here, too, who knows what you might find in the bin outside?  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all of that.  But really, I’d rather you didn’t hang around and take a look because how would you get it home?

 

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Anyway, look, there’s some interesting street art over there.

 

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On the other side of the street, there’s a food market.  Fresh fish!  Still swimming! 

 

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Let’s go down the hill; down Graham Street, and see what we can spot as we walk.  Do you recognise any of those vegetables?  They look so fresh and of good quality, don’t they?

 

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I’m not sure what I’d do with a “salted” duck egg though, are you?

 

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The street is bustling with morning shoppers and the produce looks remarkably good, doesn’t it?

 

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In no time at all we’re back on Queens Road though.  I know Li Yuen Street is around here somewhere, and Pottinger Street too, where I might find some thread to make the scarf.

 

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Oh, and what were you looking for, Jane?

 

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Here we are, stalls selling thread, buttons, ribbon and so on.  I’ll get a reel of black cotton.

 

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Up and down the steps is pretty tiring, isn’t it?  But if you’re ok with it, would you mind if I popped in here?  I’ve read about this place, might have a coupon in my bag back at the hotel, even.

But actually, it’s nothing much.  Mostly imported American things and nothing I couldn’t buy at home.  Never mind.

 

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Let’s carry on and make our way over the bridges towards the pier and catch the Star Ferry back over to Kowloon, shall we?

 

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You know, I don’t remember it being quite so far from here to the water.  I wonder if there’s been a bit of land reclamation going on?

 

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When we are at home, I’ll take a look at some of our old photographs and see where the HSBC and the Mandarin Oriental hotel are in relation to the pier. 

 

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OK, come on, we need Pier 7 and our Octopus cards again.

 

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Swipe the card through the blue gate and we’re in.  Of course, one is boarding right now – they are so frequent, we won’t have to wait a minute.

 

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No sooner are we on than we’ll be away.  Hold tight!

 

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Look over there.  See our hotel?  No, not the very tallest one but the smaller one alongside. 

 

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That’s where we are headed, by the clock tower.  Forgive my hero and I a little momentary reminisce as we recall the time when we stood there, watching the last Governor, Chris Patten and his family arrive in 1992.  Our boy was just seven then, and was thrilled to be witnessing a piece of history that afternoon, as were we.

 

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And, of course, we shared “the thought”.

 

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Approaching the Ocean Terminal, a cruise ship is there – the Silver Whisper.  I think Ellis and Mary’s friends were aboard that one when it arrived yesterday.  I wonder if our lovely Voyager will be in that spot in a couple of days?

 

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Here we are then, back in Kowloon.  We’ve to be at Pete’s tailors at 3pm for our fitting, so there is time to nip into Shanghai Tang for a little look around, I think. 

 

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Oh look, there’s a bride and her bridesmaids, having photos taken.  Don’t they look cute!

 

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OK, here we are, almost at Pete’s.  I wonder if my dresses are going to be ok?

 

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Well, this one certainly does, wouldn’t you agree?  Very good copy of the original and so carefully cut and stitched.  Sit yourself down on the sofa whilst the tailor makes a few adjustments, will you, please?  He’s going to finish the neckline to the single stitching line he says, and will top stitch the double line exactly as the original.  Gorgeous colour, I’m very happy with my choice.

OK, he’ll bring the finished dresses to the hotel tomorrow – I ordered a purple one too, to be made exactly the same.  Good man!

 

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I have just one last piece of shopping to do if that’s ok?  Want to come into the camera shop with me, to look for a spare battery for my “big” camera?    There’s a Nikon and Canon sign just up there, let’s go.

Hmm.  Interesting.  I looked on the internet last night to get a feel of the price at home and found they cost around £13.  The first price this chap quoted me was HK$225 which is way more.  Let’s leave it.

Of course, he won’t let that one go, and offers to match the price eventually, so we buy it after all.  But one thing is clear – the days of finding a bargain here are gone.  The prices are much the same as in Europe and it seems as though they are no cheaper than the US either.  Anyway, I’ve now got a spare battery for both of my cameras, so I’m happy.

Are you?

 

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But I think it’s time we were heading back now, isn’t it?  Especially if we’re going to the Night Market after dinner this evening.  Shall we get the MTR?  Get your Octopus card out then and hop on a train for “Central”, where we can change to the orange line which goes to Kowloon station.

 

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We won’t have to wait long for a train, thank goodness.  I’m feeling pretty weary.

 

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I rather like the metal seats on the trains, don’t you?  They look very clean, I think.

 

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A short walk back through the shopping centre and we are back at the hotel.  Jane and Allan beat us to it and are probably taking a nap right now.

What a good idea that could be!

A long time ago…

14 years on