One day in Hong Kong (2)
We were here, in Aberdeen and having seen what there is to see, we thought we’d see where the buses were going, assess our options and make a decision. We weren’t in a particular hurry and watching ordinary life go on in this small town street was quite interesting anyway.
The contact lens advert outside the Opticians promoting the “Biggest eyes ever” was interesting, too. Fancy wearing contact lenses which extend the diameter of the iris in such a way?
As we walked by this little temple, we spotted a bus going to Stanley, one of our old haunts. Why not? – let’s go!
But instead of taking the usual double decker, we hopped onto one of the “public light vehicles” instead. Seating just 16 passengers, they run a more informal, community service and it made a change to travel in a different way this time.
We were amused by the “depot office” as well; under an awning on the pavement, the manager sat with his phone and his filing cabinets keeping everything in order. When there were 16 bottoms on the 16 seats on our minibus, he waved to our driver (“captain”) and we were off.
The large yellow sign informs (?reassures?) us that the vehicle is limited to 80kph and there is a large speed indicator up there above the windscreen. Whether that is so that the passengers can monitor the driver when he goes too fast, or whether it’s so that he maintains his pace with the fast lifestyle here, who knows? All I can say is that we seldom went faster than 50 and even at that speed, we were bouncing about fairly freely!
After a really enjoyable ride along the coastline, past secluded bays and affluent areas with spectacular views, we arrived in Stanley. Out we got and made our way down to the seafront.
via the market, of course. Same old same old here, nothing we wished to buy but fun to look anyway.
Feeling a little thirsty, we continued on beyond the market stalls and out onto the main street, where we knew there were some bars and cafes. Here, a bride and groom were working with a photographer, posing by a Maserati. It wasn’t clear whether they were a real couple or if they were models, working on an advertisement of some kind, but they appeared to be having fun.
As we sat with a drink, however, we watched as they chose some bizarre backdrops for their photographs! All the time we were there, the ice cream van music played on, over and over again. Eventually, it all got a bit much and we moved right along.
Spotting a sign for the #63 with a bus right there, ready to go, we decided to hop on there. We knew vaguely where it was going, knew that we could easily get back from there and that phrase “Ferry PIer” suggested there could be an interesting alternative, too.
Back then, enjoying the lovely views of Repulse Bay as we went, getting stuck in occasional traffic jams and generally having fun simply watching the world go by.
We spotted a fun advertisement on the back of one of the green minivans, for Peterhouse PreSchool Kindergarten, noting with amusement the coat of arms in a similar palette to the “real” Peterhouse, Cambridge.
Finally, we reached North Ferry Pier and looked around to discover we were the only ones left on the bus! We wandered through the fish market in the hope of discovering that the ferry was heading for somewhere we knew, somewhere from where we could make our way back to Central. Sadly, it wasn’t. It was going over to “Kowloon City”, so we turned around and headed back to Hennessy Road where there was one, failsafe way of getting back.
The tram was soon there and we climbed the steep steps and went through the turnstile at the back door with everyone else.
Travelling by tram here is fun. They are old, a bit creaky and there is not much room. Everyone gets on at the back, then during the journey, you make your way forward so that by the time your each your destination, you are by the front door and ready to swipe your Octopus card as you get off.
Each time I use the tram, I worry that I won’t be able to make my way through, and yet, every time, I do! this time, both my hero and I even got to sit down – a bonus!
So here we are, back at the Mandarin Oriental again. It’s now 6.30pm and shortly, our car will arrive to take us to the airport from where we will catch a flight to Yangon at 9.50pm this evening. It’s going to be a late night for us, that’s for sure, except that there is a time difference, we thought. Neither of us was sure if it was one hour or two, so we looked it up.
It’s an hour and a half! Weird or what?