More Trips

Japan9 October 19


Frangland July 19


Korkong April 19


Japan8 October 18


China4 April 18


Japan7 October 17


Taiwan4 March 17


Japan6 October 16


Europe May 16


Japan5 November 15


Korea2 March 15

Even More Trips

HongJapWan March 2014
Sichuan March 2013
Tokyo3 October 2012
China2 August 2012
Japwan March 2012
China November 2011
Korea September 2011
Taiwan March 2011
London3 June 2010
Japan May 2010
London2 February 2010
London September 2009
SE Asia December 2005

London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Page 6

Day 25 - Monday, 22 March 2010

Macau

Today I caught a turbojet ferry to macau and back. Its about a 1 hour ride and about $20 each way, which I thought was pretty cheap. The ferries are fast, quiet, good seats and I even got a meal on the morning service. As Macau is a different special administrative region of China, with its own currency and government, you have to clear customs to go there, but this was pretty smooth.
Once you arrive its a bit underwhelming, the ferry terminal is on the edge of town and its sort of expected you will take a shuttle bus to a casino...not me of course, I set off on foot.
You walk past a lot of apartment buildings, watch shops and a heap of brothels. I think the sex tourism thing is actively encouraged in Macau, much like the gambling, as theres big signs, some of them have english saying 'Sex Shop' with a pricing menu, Russians cost most.
Its about a half an hour walk to the casino area, and its not disappointing (if you like casinos). The buildings are exceptionally huge, shiny and new looking. Theres also a lot of construction going on. Most impressive is the gold lotus flower building, which worryingly is bigger at the top than the bottom (see pics below).

I dodged going into the casinos for a bit and walked further to the old Portugese part of the city. This is the non sleazy part and lots of round eye tourists (or perhaps portugese locals) were there. Its also the only part of town where you find stores like mcdonalds, starbucks etc, the rest of the city is exclusively for mainland china people.
There is very little signage in English, you get portugese instead, but its not too bad, you can understand it enough the things like conveniences publicio would be public toilet etc.
I of course had a portugese egg tart, which is what this place is most famous for apart from casinos, and it was actually delicious. I have had them before in Australia and not been a big fan, but these ones were denser, sweeter and less eggy tasting, a fair bit more burnt than Australian ones also, which I liked.
After wandering around and admiring some of the Portugese architecture I went back to the casino places and wandered in. They are very large, and Chinese people were super excited. There was plenty of screaming and cheering going on. I went upstairs in the MGM Grand to the 24 hour coffee shop and ordered a latte, skim milk please. They spoke no english at all, so I repeated cafe latte? milk coffee? and she wandered off.
5 minutes later I got a newspaper to read, an english one at least, south china times.
10 minutes later still no coffee, I was concerned it wasnt coming, but then there it was...and it was absolutely fantastic, best coffee I have had on this trip.

After the casino I checked out a couple more, one of them had an upmarket western mall attached, I think its the casino owned by James Paker, there was not a single shopper in this mall, lots of security and cleaners, but no one at all shopping.

On the walk back to the ferry I noticed a village type of place, it was all fake and new and full of shops. I think this is where mothers and children get sent while fathers gamble and procure women.
The best part was the games arcade under the volcano which had what they claimed is a real Formula 1 simulator. I had 2 goes on it, the first one on my own, the second one the guy running it told me I seemed to know what I was doing and he would race me on the other car. He won but not by much. I am not convinced it was a real F1 sim, if it was it had been tweaked to be easier to drive and to allow oversteer without spinning, which never happens in a real F1 (nerd mode off).

I just ran onto the ferry with perfect timing to go back, cutoms at both ends was fine again, I also noted that my complaining about the smog is justified, theres a big story in world news services today about Hong Kong being enveloped in a toxic stew of smog, the worst ever! I sure hope it clears up so I can go to the peak and take photos tomorrow.

A couple of other Macau observations, Its much more like Malaysia than Hong Kong, the streets are very wide, and everyone rides a scooter.
I saw 2 people get hit by cars in my 1 day visit, both at zebra crossings, both people that got hit seemed ok, and they assumed cars would stop for zebra crossings, in macau they do not!

London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - The surprise breakfast I was served on the ferry.

The surprise breakfast I was served on the ferry.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - My ferry, turbojet trimaran.

My ferry, turbojet trimaran.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - The volcano I would visit on the way back to race F1 simulators under.

The volcano I would visit on the way back to race F1 simulators under.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Sands casino (I think?)

Sands casino (I think?)


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - They love scooters in Macau.

They love scooters in Macau.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - The terrifying Lotus flower casino building, looks to me like it could topple at any time.

The terrifying Lotus flower casino building, looks to me like it could topple at any time.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - The main Portugese area of the city.

The main Portugese area of the city.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Chinese style junk markets still run off the side streets.

Chinese style junk markets still run off the side streets.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - The ruins of St Pauls cathedral.

The ruins of St Pauls cathedral.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Egg tarts....I dont really like them but when in Rome....

Egg tarts....I dont really like them but when in Rome....


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Have an egg tart - and it was good.

Have an egg tart - and it was good.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Some sort of grand building with guards, maybe the governors house.

Some sort of grand building with guards, maybe the governors house.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - A nissan cube, click to enlarge to look at the cool dashboard.

A nissan cube, click to enlarge to look at the cool dashboard.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - The Australia shop had absolutely nothing in it I recognised as being from Australia, there were lots of lamb foetus creams, eucalyptus oils and platy

The Australia shop had absolutely nothing in it I recognised as being from Australia, there were lots of lamb foetus creams, eucalyptus oils and platypus beak powders.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Wynns Casino.

Wynns Casino.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - I dont even know what casino this is.

I dont even know what casino this is.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - This is a fake facade inside a casino, its pretty nice though, the flowers and trees are real.

This is a fake facade inside a casino, its pretty nice though, the flowers and trees are real.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - The central boulevard area of a street, lots of nice gardens around Macau.

The central boulevard area of a street, lots of nice gardens around Macau.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - The family village area.

The family village area.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Fake Colleseum.

Fake Colleseum.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - The formula 1 simulator.

The formula 1 simulator.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Giant goldfish.

Giant goldfish.


Soho

In the evening I caught the train to Central and found the mid level escelators, which are a long interconnected outdoor escelator and moving walkway system that takes you up the side of the mountain.
About half way up you get to Soho, which as I had found out is where the remaining expatriate community of English, American and Australians tend to congregate.
Finally there were restaurants where I would be able to get food, they seemed to be cheap, all types of cuisines, modern looking and plentiful.
I chose mexican and think I chose poorly, as my dinner came out in an aluminium foil bowl thing with plastic cutlery. Still it was quite nice, but gave me hiccups for over an hour.
I think I will go back there tomorrow and try one of the Chinese restaurants in the area, they seemed to be more cafe style rather than the huge round tables for parties of 10 like the restaurants in kowloon.

I absolutely failed to take photos of Soho, its built very steep slope, and the roads are narrow and theres basically no cars there, it was quite a surreal place, with massive buildings towering over the twisty laneways.
I then walked all the way back to my hotel in Causeway bay, which took me onto the wrong side of the tracks, a deserted area full of building sites and half completed highway flyover walkway things.
When eventually I did cross I found myself in Lockhart road, which is an area full of Phillippino and Thai girls who grab hold of you (literally) and try and drag you into karaoke bars. There were many sad looking white men in suits sitting at tables alone out the front of these places.
Along my journey I couldnt resist taking a few more photos of buildings, the smog actually seems to have cleared a bit.

London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - A very large building.

A very large building.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Crossing the road.

Crossing the road.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - A huge building with many lights.

A huge building with many lights.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - A row of colorful billboards on large buildings.

A row of colorful billboards on large buildings.


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Day 26 - Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Botanical Gardens and Zoo

This morning I decided to do something peaceful, and hiked up the side of the hill to the botanic gardens and zoo. Actually first you go through Hong Kong park, which is also pretty great.
Its all free and strange to have such a big well maintained park, quite deserted, in between sky scrapers.
The only people in there seemed to be old people volunteering to maintain it, this should be a lesson to the lazy old people in Australia who just sit around and complain that everything isnt free.
The Zoo is small, and mainly monkeys, but who doesnt like monkeys?

I then caught the train across to Mong Kok to have a look in the junk markets before it gets too crowded, most places were still opening when I got there, but it was indeed a lot less crowded.
No one really pesters you to buy stuff these days, its pretty casual, or maybe they were just frightened of me? I tend to look angry all the time.

I have again taken many more photos than people are interested in looking at.

London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - This family of statues is really going places.

This family of statues is really going places.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Hong Kong park has many waterfalls throughout.

Hong Kong park has many waterfalls throughout.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - I believe this is where they presented the olympic medals won for equestrian which was held in Hong Kong.

I believe this is where they presented the olympic medals won for equestrian which was held in Hong Kong.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - This cool tower is right in the park, of course I had to climb up it.

This cool tower is right in the park, of course I had to climb up it.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - View from top of the cool tower.

View from top of the cool tower.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Me enjoying the view.

Me enjoying the view.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Theres also a giant bird aviary in the park, with a river running through it.

Theres also a giant bird aviary in the park, with a river running through it.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Heres my snack, the guy serving me was well over 100 years old. It cost like $2 in total for that, Pocari Sweat is my new favourite drink, its an unca

Heres my snack, the guy serving me was well over 100 years old. It cost like $2 in total for that, Pocari Sweat is my new favourite drink, its an uncarbonated ion replacement drink, like gatorade I guess?


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - This monkey was going crazy.

This monkey was going crazy.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - This turtle was not.

This turtle was not.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Panda monkeys.

Panda monkeys.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Movie monkeys.

Movie monkeys.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - orang-utans however you spell it.

orang-utans however you spell it.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Strange pink colored birds, most only had 1 leg.

Strange pink colored birds, most only had 1 leg.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Just like the escalators that go nowhere, theres also stairs that go nowhere too.

Just like the escalators that go nowhere, theres also stairs that go nowhere too.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - All locals have to be registered, and each gets a plaque with their registration number on it.

All locals have to be registered, and each gets a plaque with their registration number on it.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Indeed.

Indeed.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - My lunch, the custard filled thing is made as you wait, served hot, and is very delicious, but I suspect quite fattenin.

My lunch, the custard filled thing is made as you wait, served hot, and is very delicious, but I suspect quite fattenin.


The peak, and the smog

After waiting as long as possible for the smog to clear, I realised this wasnt going to happen, and since its my last night in Hong Kong, it was time to go to the peak.
This is the most popular attraction in all of Hong Kong, and the main way to get there is on a cable drawn tram. It takes only a few minutes to get to the top but thats cause it goes straight up the mountain, at a maximum angle of 37 degrees, which feels more like 60.
Once you get off the tram, its kind of amazing, theres 2 shopping mall things, but the view is ridiculous.
I took it all in for a while, had a coffee, then set off on a walk.
The walking trails are also fantastic, wide, concrete, with lights, signs, phone points etc.
I selected a walk that took about 90 minutes, all along you get views of different parts of the city, and the other side of the island, the ships in the harbour, and some awesome mansions perched on the mountain. These mansions are somewhat hidden, theres no car access so I presume mainly helicopter. One of them had razor wire and guards in suits around it, but I couldnt get a photo through the trees and darkness.
Once I got back it was nearly dusk, so I headed up to the sky deck viewing area and started taking photos, perching my camera wherever I could to get a long exposure with my terrible cheap camera. The binocular/telescope things made for a perfect tripod.
The annoying part was the japanese tour groups, with their tour leader carrying a flag, all their matching hats, and most had ALL of their luggage in tow, it was ridiculous, but you see it all over the world.

I have done my best to not post too many photos, I took a lot more.

London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - The tram.

The tram.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - People falling out of their seats, a lot of luggage and whatever rolled straight to the back of the tram as it left the station.

People falling out of their seats, a lot of luggage and whatever rolled straight to the back of the tram as it left the station.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - The peak skydeck.

The peak skydeck.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - The other side of Hong Kong island, you cant tell by the pixels, but theres a heap of ships in all these photos.

The other side of Hong Kong island, you cant tell by the pixels, but theres a heap of ships in all these photos.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Admiring the smog.

Admiring the smog.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - The nature walk occasionally comes to a spot like this.

The nature walk occasionally comes to a spot like this.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - At the end of the walk you turn a corner and realise you are almost back.

At the end of the walk you turn a corner and realise you are almost back.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - People on the skydeck.

People on the skydeck.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - The peak itself is not the highest bit of the mountain, its up there somewhere, theres communications towers up there, but its obscured by smog.

The peak itself is not the highest bit of the mountain, its up there somewhere, theres communications towers up there, but its obscured by smog.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Starting to get dark.

Starting to get dark.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - If you sit still and just stare, you notice the lights come on all over the place.

If you sit still and just stare, you notice the lights come on all over the place.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Almost dark...shame about the smog.

Almost dark...shame about the smog.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Still the photos came out pretty good.

Still the photos came out pretty good.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Much better than everyone else hand holding trying to use a flash to illuminate all of East Asia.

Much better than everyone else hand holding trying to use a flash to illuminate all of East Asia.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - On my walk home I came to a window with lots of pro photographers, in vests with tripods and lights and everything. I dont care if they are pro or not

On my walk home I came to a window with lots of pro photographers, in vests with tripods and lights and everything. I dont care if they are pro or not, I pushed them aside and took a photo anyway, the girls arent dummies (well...maybe they are) they are actual real models.


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Day 27 - Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Last day in Hong Kong

My flight isnt until 8pm, but I have to check out by 10am, I can leave my baggage at the hotel though so thats ok, but my feet are very sore, so it could be a long day!
Of course, I decide the best plan is just to walk around constantly until around 4pm, then head to the airport, which was quite painful!
I wandered in the other direction from my hotel, which I thought was away from all the action, and to my surprise ended up in a much nicer area of Hong Kong, should have gone there sooner. I happened upon a flower show, not my kind of thing but might be nice to sit down and look at for a while, and it only cost a dollar to get in so why not.
It was fairly disappointing, I think it was one of the last days and most of the things were dead.
For the remainder of the day I wandered around malls, stopped for coffee and enjoyed comfortable seating, and tried to buy crap to take home and failed.

Eventually it was time to go to the airport, collecting my bags was fine, the Holiday Inn Express was very impressive with their efficiency at check in/out, bag storage, room cleaning, I would stay there again (enough of that, they arent paying me).
Getting to the airport was super fast, I had allowed 100 minutes, but it took 25 to get there, which included changing trains.
Unfortunately this meant I was there quite early, I had assumed I wouldnt be the first qantas flight and would be able to check in, but I assumed wrong, and now I had to wait for qantas staff to arrive. That was ok, I could hang out in a cathay arrivals lounge until then and enjoy free everything.
That got boring after a while so I wandered around the airport prior to check in, and ate some chocolates from Ichi Ban, all the time lugging my huge heavy bag, but by now I could check in.
The whole process of check in, customs, security was very smooth and fast (this has been a theme of my whole trip, and people complain a lot about this lately??).
I settled into the qantas first lounge, they had a haagen daz ice cream bar, with all the flavours in little tubs to choose from, so I had one, and some nuts, and some fruit, and generally ate too much.
After 3 diet cokes, it was time to wander the airport post check in, much easier now that I dont have my bag anymore, I didnt buy anything but I like to wander, so despite my sore feet I walked the length and breadth of the airport.

London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Entrance to the disappointing flower show.

Entrance to the disappointing flower show.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Dying flowers.

Dying flowers.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Enough of the flowers already.

Enough of the flowers already.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - OK one more - squid flower, it moved.

OK one more - squid flower, it moved.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Even inside shopping malls, bamboo scaffolding is employed.

Even inside shopping malls, bamboo scaffolding is employed.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - This is unusual, I have mentioned the low crime rate in Hong Kong, I have seen something like this more than once, someone has chained their suitcase

This is unusual, I have mentioned the low crime rate in Hong Kong, I have seen something like this more than once, someone has chained their suitcase to the fence, probably while they go to a meeting nearby.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - Inside Hong Kong airport.

Inside Hong Kong airport.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - My snack in the lounge.

My snack in the lounge.


London again then Hong Kong - February 2010 - View out of the lounge window was great.

View out of the lounge window was great.


Flight Home

I was again upgraded to business class, but since on this flight they actually sell first class, I got a business class seat, but as it turned out I like it better than the first class seat for comfort.
It still lays almost flat and you can fully stretch out, it was also leather and softer than the first class one I had from London to Hong Kong.
I got another set of pyjamas and this time I got a female amenities kit which I stuffed into my laptop bag, which is good news for all as it meant I couldnt get my camera out easily, so you dont have to suffer through more photos of airline food!
However the food was good, entree was a cream of mushroom soup which I thought was delicious, main was an actual scotch fillet steak with roast vegetables, cooked to medium which is too much, but still its impressive they can serve up a steak on board a jet.
I didnt really sleep again I dont think, I layed awake for what was only a 9 hour flight, the only movie I watched was the invention of lying with Ricky Gervais, which was very boring.

Arriving into Sydney I got an express customs pass thing, and breezed straight through, didnt have to open my bags or anything. Channel 7 were filming their border control tv show but they stayed right away from the express line.
Then there was chaos, the transfer bus area managed by qantas was full of about 100 people, all stressed, some crying, you check onto your domestic flight here, and some people were trying to take screwdrivers and a sword in their hand luggage, which of course you cant do. I suspect they transferred these things from their main luggage to hand luggage between customs and domestic check in thinking they were past all security, they were wrong. And they were lecturing the qantas people about their rights as USA citizens which was pretty amusing. I went to the business class line and got on the bus.
And that was the end of my holiday.

In summary, I really enjoyed Hong Kong and would like to go there again, very happy I went to Macau for the day, its a significantly different experience to Hong Kong. London was still good, but I could have used a couple more days in Hong Kong, this may be because I have been to London before.
Not to worry, Im sure I will be back soon, at which time you can be further bored reading me dribble crap onto the internet.

The end

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Contents

Day 1 - Friday, 26 February 2010
  Before we begin
  Adelaide to London via Perth and Singapore
  Perth
  Perth to Singapore
  Singapore airport
  Singapore to London
Day 2 - Saturday, 27 February 2010
  Arriving in London
  Evening walk
Day 3 - Sunday, 28 February 2010
  London is cold and wet
  Waterloo
  The war museum
  Teddington Tree House Club
  The return
Day 4 - Monday, 1 March 2010
  Working in Hatfield
  New shiny Hatfield
Day 5 - Tuesday, 2 March 2010
  Riding around in a truck in the freezing cold
  British Walmart
Day 6 - Wednesday, 3 March 2010
  Brentwood
  More galleria
Day 7 - Thursday, 4 March 2010
  Birmingham and many motorways
  Old Hatfield
Day 8 - Friday, 5 March 2010
  Back to London
  Changing hotel
  Late night museum
Day 9 - Saturday, 6 March 2010
  London for the weekend
  The Royal Air Force Museum
  White City Shopping Mall
Day 10 - Sunday, 7 March 2010
  Southbank and washing day
  Warship museum
Day 11 - Monday, 8 March 2010
  Working in Brentwood again
Day 12 - Tuesday, 9 March 2010
  Working in Brent
Day 13 - Wednesday, 10 March 2010
  Getting paid to walk around Soho
Day 14 - Thursday, 11 March 2010
  I got stuck in a lift!
Day 15 - Friday, 12 March 2010
  Last day of work
Day 16 - Saturday, 13 March 2010
  I went to Reading for dinner
Day 17 - Sunday, 14 March 2010
  I walked in a park
  I climbed up a pillar
Day 18 - Monday, 15 March 2010
  I went to Brighton
  Dinner in Islington
Day 19 - Tuesday, 16 March 2010
  Shopping and stuff
Day 20 - Wednesday, 17 March 2010
  Hammersmith, Camden
  Harrods
Day 21 - Thursday, 18 March 2010
  Last day in London
Day 22 - Friday, 19 March 2010
  Heathrow and flying in a bed
  The flight
Day 23 - Saturday, 20 March 2010
  Welcome to Hong Kong
  Evening in Kowloon/Mong Kok
Day 24 - Sunday, 21 March 2010
  Cable Car and Buddha statue
  Star Ferry/Tsim Sha Tsui
Day 25 - Monday, 22 March 2010
  Macau
  Soho
Day 26 - Tuesday, 23 March 2010
  Botanical Gardens and Zoo
  The peak, and the smog
Day 27 - Wednesday, 24 March 2010
  Last day in Hong Kong
  Flight Home
  The end