We slept in a little this morning before leaving for the Shanghai airport to fly to Hong Kong. Pam and Sandra went shopping – man, they are energetic! We used to the time to repack and get a little organized. We all met Rocky at 11:30 for the ride to the airport. Got there in jig time, but took forever at the ticket counter, as line was miles long. Going through security, Pam was stopped with fingernail polish in her carry-on. Even though less than 2 oz I guess this is a no-no. She elected to have them retrieve her checked bag, rather than throw it out. Our flight ended up being delayed and so she had no problem getting there in time. We didn’t land in Hong Kong until 4:30.
William was our Hong Kong guide. The van (more like a small bus) ride ended up being another traffic jam nightmare. Apparently, a neon sign was going up on a high-rise building in downtown Hong Kong when the workmen dropped one end. The police then cordoned off the street, which just happens to be the main thoroughfare into town and where we have to go. We arrived at the Kowloon Shangri-La around 7:00. Two and a half hours!
The Kowloon Shangri-La was gorgeous – right on the harbor – great location. The room was very nice, although at first they didn’t have us in a 2-bed room. We all tried once again for a harbor-view room, but the hotel is completely booked for a lighting exposition. Our room looks directly into an office building – the first night we watched a guy in an office doing paperwork until very late.
We only had about 10 minutes to drop off our bags and meet William in the lobby to see the “Symphony of Lights” show. He told us it was a 15 minute walk, but ended up being a brisk half hour walk instead; just got there in time for the light show, which starts at 8:00 every night. Very crowded as we walked along; this is clearly a popular activity every night. Lights on the buildings are spectacular and very romantic – they are coordinated to go off with each other at differing times, and in time with the music that’s playing over loud speakers. But the laser light show was under-whelming. Got several videos of the show – only this one is worth showing you.
Then we took a 10-minute Star Ferry ride across the harbor. That was neat – lights all around us. The building in this picture with the criss-crossing lights that go up its height was designed by the famous architect I.M. Pei (the Louvre Pyramid, National Gallery in DC).
Interestingly, the Star Ferry goes back and forth across the harbor without turning around – the benches have backrests that just flip over so that passengers can face forward regardless of which way the boat is going. And it’s very cheap – only 4 HKD per person. (Yes, we did have to change our currency to Hong Kong Dollars from Chinese yuan.)
At the end of the ride it was 9:30 and William told us we would now have a one hour walk to see the world’s longest escalator and tour the SoHo district and then we could pick a restaurant and eat (cost not included with our tour). We would have to make our own way home after dinner by cab. DH and I asked William where the nearest metro (MTR) stop was – WE were going back to the hotel! The MTR was a 15 minute walk on the way to the escalator, so we ended up not having to make our way there alone. He helped us get the ticket and gave us instructions on how to get back to the hotel. We had to change trains once, but it went fairly well. Once we got off at our stop (Tsim Sha Tsui), William had told us it would be a 5-minute walk underground to the East Tsim Sha Tsui Station – it was more like 15. And fortunately, we found a map before we started walking as there are many different paths and off-shoot pedestrian tunnels. It was like a rabbit-warren. It was pretty well signed once we figured it out though and where we exited was right in front of the hotel.
DH had spotted a 7-11 right as we came up from the MTR and they had wine – got a Yellowtail Cab for HK $130. I had a granola bar and an orange for dinner – DH had wine and a half orange.
One very nice touch that I found out quite by accident. The Kowloon Shangri-La brings up an insulated wicker basket every night. I thought it was just a decoration and didn’t realize there was anything inside. Inside is a pot of Jasmine Green tea with two little cups. Had this with my “dinner” and it really hit the spot. Every night I looked forward to my tea!
I could get used to this! And I found I just adore Jasmine Green tea.
Another lovely touch that was true in all the Shangri-La hotels we’ve stayed in was the ever changing giant floral displays in the lobby. They change them every day!
We’re wiped out! (The rest of the group didn’t get back until after midnight. They had Italian food and spent more than $100 US per couple.)