30.12.2011 - 04.01.2012
New Year's Eve began with a walk up Victoria Peak. The most attractive & easiest option for tourists is to take the famous tram, but the thought of having to wait nearly an hour and a half in a queue was less appealing. Although it wasn't the most scenic ascent up a mountain as the path is surrounded by busy roads, the views of Hong Kong got more impressive the higher we climbed.
The top of the peak was far from a 'peak'. It was another commerical ploy to make you spend money on fast food and souvenirs. The viewing platform offered 360 degree views of Hong Kong, but at an extra cost. We decided the paupers viewing platform was good enough for us to get some good photos. After an hour walk up we felt we had earnt our tram ride down.
The highlight of NYE in Hong Kong is supposedly the fireworks at midnight. With this in mind we got the ferry over to Kowloon is find the best spot. With a long 5 hour wait til the fireworks we got a little restless and kept on the move to new spots.
Spotting a group of guys pushing through the crowd we followed behind hoping it would help us get to the front. Before we knew it we had crossed through the barrier that separated the crowd from the edge of the harbour, and were part of a queue on to a small cruiser boat. Not the type of person to ever crash a party, I stood back trying to look pretty whilst Will did all the talking. A tall blonde guy, wearing a tiny red bow tie, welcomed the guests on to the boat with a pretenious smile. Once at the front of the queue Will used his impressive blagging skills, claiming he knew one of the guests, to get us to the boat. Being a small party (in numbers of guests) it was obvious we would get found out...the question was, how long would it take for them to realise we were party crashers? The answer was about 40 minutes. After getting on to the boat we kept a low profile by sitting at the front away from the crowd, which provided the opportunity for some stunning photos...
But once questions were asked about where we were from we quickly realised that everyone on the boat was Norwegian...and they quickly realised we were not. Some guests found it amusing. The organiser of the party & his friend (Mr red dicky bow) didn't. The decision was made, we were to leave the party and head back to the harbour. As we waved off the boat, much to the disgust of the 2 hosts, we realised we had killed about an hour and headed back into the crowd to continue our mission to find the best spot for the fireworks.
After a pretty, but fairly average, firework display we headed back on to Hong Kong island to join the party. The centre became a one-way pedestrian system regimented by organised, but friendly, Hong Kong police. Although we could not afford to drink in the expensive bars around Lan Kwai Fong, the people poured out on the streets so there were plenty of opportunity to socialise and dance. Purchasing more beer from the 'Seven Eleven bar' we continued to wander the streets.
New Year's Day
After a lazy morning, we took a trip to the Avenue of the Stars. I was chuffed that I recognised three names: Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Bruce Lee.
On Monday, having enough of the busy city, we took a bus to the South of the island in search of sea and sand. The beach was wonderful, and far removed from the chaos of central Hong Kong. The beach provided quiet and some amazing people watching opportunities.
The rest of my stay in Hong Kong was occupied by Visa applications and general traveling admin. On the Wednesday I left Hong Kong and entered back into China. After queuing for over an hour at the ticket station, watching many Chinese people be told there were no train tickets to their intended destinations due to the impending Chinese New Year, I was lucky enough to get a ticket to Guilin for that night.
The best things about Hong Kong:
- They drive on the left-side, which meant there was no confusion of which way to look when crossing the road.
- The supermarkets sold recognisable items, including proper bread, soya milk and french jam.
- Falafel! Although it came at a price, it was worth every penny (or cent)!
- Lychee juice (with real fruit pulp).
- They sell other alochol in the shops aside from beer and Baijiu.