The human body is a wonderful item of engineering – you need exhaustion to get a good sleep and you need good sleep to be able to replenish the energy to get exhausted again! That’s exactly what I have been doing since the last 4 days – getting exhausted, replenishing my energy and getting exhausted again – all in good pursuit. And thus on the last day of the vacation, I set out on my last excursion of Hong Kong after having slept like a log the previous night after spending the whole day sightseeing and then having a great evening with a friend, and her family, whom I met after almost 19 years!
So today, I initially thought of exploring the famous Stanley Market and going to the peak (I had the tickets to the peak tram – so that was a must). But when I looked at the time and calculated the time needed to go and return from Stanley Market, I dropped the idea of shopping. The receptionist also told me that sometimes it could take an hour to get onto the tram due to long queues.
So I went to the station, added some currency to the Octopus card and went towards the peak (MTR station Central).
Got down there and found my way towards the lower peak tram station. Now what I hadn’t anticipated was finding another historical monument en route, which I had just fleetingly glanced at while looking for places of interest in the morning. So there I was, without any plan, at the beautiful St. John’s cathedral nestled between high rise buildings. What intrigued me most there was the presence of cushioned kneeling boards! At no other church have I seen this – everywhere else there have been these wooden boards, on which one kneels while praying. It was like for once, praying didn’t require discomfort! Then there was a labyrinth in the garden and the description explained the Chinese method of meditation. A mixing of cultures! After absorbing the atmosphere there, I moved on towards the peak tram station and found that the receptionist was right – there was a very long queue and I had to wait about half an hour to get onto the tram (funicular). Thankfully there were historical exhibits about the history of the peak tram to keep me occupied while I waited. Finally got to get inside the tram and had a good journey at a slant which made the buildings on our sides looked bending at an angle! There were three stations in between where one could get down or get in from. Probably if one wanted to hike a bit. And upon reaching the top, the view was amazing. Although it was a grey day, but one could still see quite well. I am sure, it must be great in the evening too, which is when I was advised to go there but for the time.
Explored the peak, went inside the mall which was like doing a retail pilgrimage (riding escalator after escalator) and came out. There was a group of school girls who were doing a research project about people visiting Hong Kong. They asked me a few questions and then gave me a praline for my time! I think that’s a great way of educating kids – it’s a picnic combined with letting them interact with people from all over the world!
After this, I decided to head back and utilize some time for some last minute shopping at the Ladies market in Mong kok. Reached, lost my way but found cute pets in the shops on the way and then finally found myself in the mayhem of the Ladies Market. Couldn’t find anything much to buy and as time was running out, I also started back. Returned the Octopus card at the MTR station, walked back to the hotel, changed my clothes, finished packing my bags, finished the mangoes that I had bought two days back, checked out and was soon on my way to the airport. Met the lady whom I had met on my way to Hong Kong and whom I was looking forward to meet for our destination was the same and had to spend 9 hours at the Kuala Lumpur airport for our connecting flight!
Met another solo traveller like myself, in the queue for checking in, who was an Italian, living in Japan and was on her way to Bali! Cool, isn’t it?
Immigration was quick and after having my last box of french fries and strawberry shake, finally got into the plane and bade adieu to Hong Kong! Definitely a wonderful trip and recommended to anyone else who would like to see traditional Chinese way of life intermingled with the pace of the modern world, lovely gardens giving respite from the hubbub of traffic and patches of green in between skyscrapers, islands, hills, sea – all at one place! One needs at least 8 days, though a few more would be better! But I am glad I made this trip, though it was short, met some wonderful people and made great memories (and pictures).
The photographs and more details to come shortly…stay tuned.