Hong Kong

I have wanted to go to Hong Kong for a very long time. I’ve seen it in pictures, movies, TV shows, and I have heard about it in stories. So when we were making changes to our Asia trip, we decided to stop in Hong Kong for a couple nights between Singapore and Taipei.

I had expected an exotic experience–one filled with a little intrigue, a little history, and maybe even a little challenge. But wouldn’t you know we got off the plane, took some money from the ATM, went to the taxi stand, and when I handed the attendant the card I had carefully printed out with the Chinese name of our hotel, he shook his head at me and said “Where are you going?” and I answered “Hotel Icon.”

Thanks, Imperialism!

The taxi ride was a longish one. There were two large bridges to cross. The landscape was communist-industrial. There were high rise apartments by the twenties. It was raining.

We arrived at Hotel ICON and were pleased with the lobby. We had a nice view of the harbor. I liked the high design of the room–the bathroom had a rounded door that slid closed. And a new trend, that would repeat itself in Taipei, was the free minibar. I immediately helped myself to a Pelligrino.

We were tired from the Taxi-Flight-Taxi already but we decided to head to the Kowloon Promenade. Only problem was, it was cold. It was so cold, in fact, that we decided to end our walk early and go straight to the Hong Kong Museum of Art, which was very quiet. In fact, we were thirsty and looking for a sip of water but even their cafe was closed down. While the collection as a whole was on the slim side for one of the world’s largest cities, I’m so glad we went if only to see the amazing wood sculptures by Tong King-sum.

After a tour of the museum, it really was time to get a meal. John found out about a great Dim Sum restaurant near us so we hopped in a cab not confident we would be able to communicate where we wanted to go. But again the driver took us straight to our desired spot. Tim Ho Wan was authentic and delicious and I will think about their outstanding buns for years to come.

From there we were experiencing a difference of opinion. John wanted to walk to the Temple Street Night Market. I wanted to cab it to the Ozone Bar at the Ritz Carlton. So as is often the case with a couple who has been together almost 22 years, we compromised. We walked to the market first then we cabbed it to the Ozone Bar. Since it was my idea, it’s easy for me to say that the Ozone Bar was more fun. While the market had lively shoppers, hawkers, and trinkets, the Ozone Bar had tasty beverages and a killer view. All in all, we could not go wrong.

Ozone Bar is billed as the highest bar in the world since it is on the 118th floor of the Ritz Carlton. Our drinks cost ten million dollars each. They were tasty and big and delicious and worth every cent for the view. We sat outside and it was bone-chillingly cold. Too bad! I was surprised how friendly the staff was given that I hadn’t packed for freezing temps and ended up in an outfit straight out of a Saved By the Bell episode. Those folks didn’t even look at my clothes! They were so nice and treated us like we deserved to be there. I enjoyed it.

We cabbed it back to Hotel ICON, where they had already re-stocked the free mini bar, and we fell asleep.

On Day Two in Hong Kong we woke early and took the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong proper. What a beautiful ride. The weather was still terrible, but we could see the skyline and the mountain behind it. Our first stop was to take the tram up to Victoria Peak. It was a fun ride, but once up top it was cold, windy, and full of tourists. So we came back down and headed to Hong Kong Park, Graham Street Market, and Man Mo Temple. We weren’t very hungry so we just had a plate of chips at an English pub called The Globe, and then we were tired but we didn’t feel like taking the Ferry back since we wanted to eat dinner at Ho Lee Fuk in Soho.

This is how I know I found the right man. I said, I need to lie down so let’s get a massage. He said, “Yeah!” So we found a great spot called Ten Feet Tall to get a 90 minute massage where we rested and prepared for a lovely meal.

We did enjoy our dinner very much. We stuck around in Soho just so we could hit the door at 6 pm since we had heard it was hard to get a table. The place was empty, so we got our table and started ordering. We had the hibachi, The BBQ Pork, octopus, and cauliflower. It was a delicious meal. Then we took the ferry back to Kowloon where our mini bar had already been re-stocked AGAIN.

Three cheers for Hong Kong.