Today was an amazing, busy day!!! We started off taking a taxi, to the star ferry, to cross the harbor to “Hong Kong” island, then walked for a long time through the greenest, most tropical city parks I have ever seen to the “peak tram,” and then took this cable car up to the top of the peak overlooking the foggy Hong Kong island. This downtown area and skyline is incredible- think shiny new skyscrapers towering over a million neon signs, with second story open air sidewalks zigzagging over the crowded streets and city parks with bougainvillea vines and palm trees and such lush vegetation and fountains, it seems impossible to be in a city with 7 million (twice that of Chicago proper!). There is a lot of money in Hong Kong- we walked through the financial district- every high end designer brand was available, and their stores were packed. We were nostalgic for London as we rode double-decker buses that drove on the left and followed the exact same street signs as they have in London (the black and white ones for street names, blue for touristy sights, etc), and we smiled at the “mind the gap” signs in the subway. Extraordinary city!
First boat ride!In the tram (first cable car ride):
One of the parks: After taking the cable car to the top of the peak, we came back down, and worked our way via subway and public buses to Stanley, a cute little town on the complete opposite side of the island where a lot of ex-pats live (and more money!) and they have a great street market there. The bus ride there was beautiful- we passed so many bays and beaches and again the lush green forests with brand-new apartment buildings popping out here and there. I keep saying “lush green” because I can’t think of any other way to describe it. Of course we had to do more shopping (not our last in Hong Kong) but 2 tired kids helped us stick to our budget! In Stanley Market, in search of lollypops (the woman correctly told us that through this tiny alley was a shop that sold candy):
Lunch at a one table restaurant
Vivi's silly new smile:
On the bus on the way there:
After Stanley Market, we headed back via bus to the central station, where we had some food- we had eaten this noodle, bok choy, and meat soup at Stanley market that was a little too visceral for my tastes. Vivi had her first donut from a bakery we found (we wanted her to try new food on our trip, and although this was new for her it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind as far as broadening her culinary horizons:). After loading the kids up with some more calories, we decided to power shop at Temple Street market, which was only a couple of stops away.
This place blew my mind!! If we didn’t have kids with us, I am sure we would have spent all night here at all the food stalls and different booths of Chinese and Tibetan goods!!! There were also tons of knock-off purses, clothes, watches, electronics, etc, etc. We finally bought some scroll silk paintings, which we had been looking for in Guangzhou but hadn’t found any we loved. We also bought some Christmas presents for our families (I’m not telling!!). Toñito by this time had fallen asleep, and I was singing Vivi her 150th round of “Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down” (which was even more painful because I don’t know the words except to the refrain, which I sang over, and over, and over, and over upon request to keep her happy). So we decided that I would take a taxi back to the hotel with the kids and our purchases while Toño went over to the electronics market a couple of streets down. We came back and watched “Happy Feet” (only $2) while I packed, had a “midnight snack” of instant oatmeal, and Toño was back soon because the prices of the electronics were as expensive or more as at home. Whew! What a busy and tiring day of carrying kids on our shoulders and walking around- but SO WORTH IT!!! I highly, highly recommend Hong Kong!!! We love it here!!!:)
From the upper-level of the bus:
Oops- I didn't mean for that picture to be in front of McDonald's!
Tomorrow we go home!! I am so excited to see everyone!!! And for everyone to meet Toñito!!! He was so cute today. I think the whole morning he was sad about something, because when we would ask “hao bu hao?” he kept shaking his head no (meaning something was wrong). But the second half of the day, after sleeping the whole bus ride to Stanley, he was his old self, giggling, fooling around, giving tons of kisses, and pointing at and asking for everything at the market. He is very sweet and you can tell he needs a lot of attention and love and kisses. He also doesn’t like to walk around much, but totally prefers being carried or in a stroller (my back needs a massageJ). I can’t wait to introduce him to you!!! He might be overwhelmed and scared and tired, but in time I know he is going to love our big, crazy, loving family!!!