So, it's now four weeks since we flew out of Cyprus, three weeks till we return. It's great being with Daniel, and we're looking forward to taking a good break with him at the next port. But I'm also starting to feel that a month is long enough to be away from home. I miss the cats. I miss having my own computer. I miss everyday life - Hong Kong is a fascinating place, but it's very busy, rather noisy and crowded, and I'm beginning to get a bit overwhelmed and looking forward to peace and quiet back in Cyprus. Although we will miss Daniel a lot when we say goodbye.
Anyway, I've finally got around to uploading some photos from our first week in Hong Kong. First, here's the MV Doulos, moored in the Ocean terminal at Harbour City, in the region of Kowloon Island known as Tsim Sha Tsui. The misty background of buildings in the distance are on the nearby Hong Kong island:
Here's a busy marketplace a little further away, where Richard and I went one morning via the excellent MTR (Mass transit railway) that's like an efficient and spotlessly clean version of the London Underground. The stalls sold tools and electrical goods of many varieties. Far more his scene than mine, and even more crowded and noisy than the area where we were staying:
Back to Ocean city, and this is a shot which doesn't begin to show the spectacular 'Symphony of Lights and Sound' that is shown at 8pm every evening, from the buildings we can see from the Doulos. They light up and have laser beams in time to some music (if you're in the right place to hear it). It must cost a fortune...
Here are Richard, Dan and Tim looking at something on Daniel's notebook in the small room at a guesthouse where Richard and I stayed for the first six days. The owner was friendly, and it was very clean, but not exactly huge. It was on the 12th storey of a building with a shopping mall at the bottom, and a rather worrying notice in the lift saying ' When the building is on fire, do not use the lift'. We would have been a little happier with the word 'if' rather than 'when' and just hoped that it was an inaccurate translation.
One nice touch in the guesthouse was the provision of plastic sandals to wear in the bathroom. Very useful, since the shower went over the washbasin, toilet and floor. However Daniel tells me this is standard practice all around Asia:
We moved to the Doulos on Tuesday, with the boys' help. Daniel took the day off, so after we'd moved our cases, we decided to have a day on Hong Kong Island, and visit 'The Peak' - one of the high spots with excellent views. We went to the nearby Star Ferry terminal and caught an ancient ferry which is probably much the same as it was 80 years ago - just a shuttle bus on water, really. We paid HK$2.20 each to sit on the top floor going over, since we didn't have exact change for the lower deck. HK$2.20, incidentally, is about 22 euro cents (or 30 US cents)...
When we got to Hong Kong island, in about ten minutes, we decided to take a taxi to the Peak terminal rather than try to find a bus. For four people, taxis are pretty good value anyway; up to 2km costs HK$15, or about one and a half euros... that's however many people are in the taxi.
At the Peak terminal, we queued for the tram, which is pulled by cables and (our Lonely Planet guide assures us) has never had an accident. It wasn't as scary as I expected, and was fairly quick. However I didn't sit near the edge! Richard took a few photos as we went up:
At the top is a mall with a few tourist shops and various restaurants, and an outside path that gives wonderful views all around. We could even see the Doulos in the distance:
When we booked our tickets for the tram, we just had the basic package rather than paying extra to go on the sky Terrace. When we saw the Sky Terrace, I was VERY glad we were not going on it:
We found a pleasant place that sold sandwiches and drinks for lunch, and a good bookshop to browse around, and enjoyed the views for a while. It was very windy, with some rain, and we got very blown about. Eventually we reversed the journey, looking at a few photography shops on the way back.
Here's a rare photo of me with Daniel and Tim on the ferry, the lower deck this time (Dan insisted it was more interesting as we could see the engine) which was even less expensive than the top deck. A decidedly unflattering photo as we were very windblown!
Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention: last Monday was China national day, a public holiday, and late in the evening was a stunning firework display: