I’m writing this at 2:30am on Wednesday in Hong Kong. Needless to say, we’re keeping odd hours. After a good night’s sleep following our arrival, I struggled to go to bed on Monday night and remained awake until after 3:00am. Libby, who’d gone to sleep at a decent hour, woke up around 2:00am and didn’t fall back asleep until around 7:00am, which was when I got up. I finally roused Libby a bit before 10:00am to ensure that we had some time for sightseeing. Last night, we both fell asleep by 9:00pm. Libby’s still sleeping, but I’m sure that I’m up for the day. So, on balance, I think we’re adjusting…
On Tuesday morning, we headed for The Peak, which provides vistas overlooking Hong Kong from an elevation of around 1,400ft. To get there, you take the Peak Tram, a funicular railway dating from 1888. The journey starts on Garden Road in Central and ends at Peak Tower, an oddly-shaped and somewhat ill-suited contemporary structure that opened in 1997. Ironically, it replaced the equally unsympathetic original Peak Tower, which dated from the 1960s. The building contains a number of restaurants, gift shops, and tourist attractions (e.g., an outpost of Madam Tussaud’s), as well as a viewing terrace atop the building. The views from The Peak are astoundingly good, albeit a bit hazy during our visit.
After visiting The Peak, we headed back down to Central and explored the SoHo area, which is known for its restaurants, art galleries, and antique shops. By mid-afternoon, we made our way to the Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan, which was built by Taoists in 1847 for the worship of the god of literature (Man Tai) and the god of war (Mo Tai). Being our first visit to a Chinese temple, we were a little unsure of what exactly was going on. It seemed that worshipers were generally making offerings to a variety of gods, spirits, and ancestors primarily in the form of fruit and incense (though,
I also witnessed more creative offerings, such as a bottle of beer and take-out food).
We then headed to the IFC Mall to find an outpost of Tim Ho Wan—reported to be the least expensive Michelin starred restaurant in the world—for a late lunch / early dinner of dim sum. Sadly for us, this didn’t work out very well. To start, we couldn’t find the place (it’s buried under Hong Kong station and has no English signage). Once found, it was packed with people waiting for who knows how long to eat. However, we quickly realized that waiting the hour or more would be rather fruitless as the dim sum order sheet was only in Chinese – no helpful pictures or trolley of delights to point at for us! In the future, I’ll be better prepared and will try this again. However, we raised the white flag and had our meal at an excellent French café on this day. After dinner, we found the place I’d shop for groceries if we lived in Hong Kong. It’s called “city’super” and is a Whole Foods / Fresh Market type of place – a real foodie’s paradise with delightful offerings ranging from local/regional (including an amazing sushi/sashimi bar) to the presumably more “exotic” for Hong Kong people (including Rick Bayless’s Mexican Frontera products, which means I could live in Hong Kong).
As noted, we made an early night of it. We’ll be heading off to Macau on a ferry in the morning.
P.S. For our fellow cruising fans — Holland America’s Amsterdam is docked here overnight. She’s on her 115-day around the world voyage, which embarked from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on January 5 and ends there on May 1, 2013. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, you might want to check out this blog.