Sunday, 23 August 2009
We had a short stopover in Hong Kong on our way back from Australia. What a good idea! It turns out that our friend Pari has an aunt and uncle there, so we were really blessed to be able to stay with them. We loved talking and eating with them, so we actually ended up doing less sightseeing than planned and spent our evenings with them.
The weather was hot and humid, quite a change from Australia's moderate winter weather. It was between 30 and 32 degrees while we were there and mostly raining, or on the verge of raining. It was hot, steamy weather. How did Ant survive? you ask. All the buses, taxis, and buildings are air conditioned. So we walked a bit, then stepped inside for a bit, all the time we were there. Our stopover was two days and three nights in total.
One of our main plans in Hong Kong was to have suits tailored for us. We got these from Sam's Tailors, quite a famous shop in the Kowloon area of Hong Kong. Ant got a navy pinstripe suit with two pairs of trousers and I got a charcoal suit with a skirt and trousers. This was Ant's first fitting (only six hours after we ordered the suits and were measured). They were complete the next day by the close of business!
Sam's keep your measurements on file for ten years and so if we ever want another suit in the same style (perhaps in a different fabric) was can just contact them and they will make it up and send it to us! I reckon we will get Ant another at some point because his suit just fit so well. He could really use a new suit each year so that he starts to build up a collection for work. But I doubt I will ever need more than one bespoke tailored suit since my work is a little more relaxed. I often wear a blazer with any dress trousers or skirt. But this will be my best suit and I will wear it for interviews and parents' evenings. The suits have our names and reference numbers stitched into the inside of the jackets. Wow, that made me feel so special! Ant says he likes the way I look like I am breezing out of Sam's like a natural!
We had a great journey on a traditional Chinese junk boat.
The views of the Hong Kong skylines were wonderful. The city is bustling, but from the water everything seemed much more calm.
Ant and I discovered over the course of this holiday that our favourite parts were all the things we did that involved being on the water. We loved travelling by ferry in Sydney, and especially kayaking in the Sydney harbour. Last summer we kayaked in Halifax as well. We have decided to keep doing water things, and to try to sea kayak any time it is an option.
On one of our two days we walked around the flower market and the bird market. I loved the flower market. There are several streets of flower and plant shops. I wanted to buy so many things! (But of course, flying with plants is not really an option.) There was one flower and plant store that had four levels!
Down the road is the bird market. Since space is at a premium in Hong Kong and almost everyone lives in a small apartment, birds are a common pet. They are more valuable when they have a delicate voice. The rows of bird salesmen were lined up over several streets. (Pari's uncle said that since bird flu the bird market has become much smaller.) The bird market was very noisy.
The birds on sale were mostly very small and pretty. There were lots of vibrant colours. The stalls also sold dry bird food and live crickets to be fed to the birds.
This mosaic was on a wall between the bird and flower markets.
By this time Ant and I were tired and hungry, so we came upon a conveniently placed cake shop. Ant opted for the mini chocolate mousse, no surprise there.
I chose the mango coconut mousse, also not unusual since I always choose fruit over chocolate.
This was my favourite plant. It reminded me of one I saw at Kew Gardens with Mum and Dad a couple of years ago. The leaves are green on the upper side and purple on the underside. The little plant cost about £1!
There was lots more to Hong Kong we would have liked to see. But we tired easily due to the weather and our time there was really short. It was such a natural stopover between here and Australia and we would definitely go there again. A lot of people spoke English due to the ties with the UK (and the vast number of tourists and business people), so my main fear of being stuck and incomprehensible was avoided.