Thursday, October 30, 2008

Off to Hong Kong

30 October: It was sad to leave Yangshuo, as it was my favorite place in China. It was a world of its own and quite different than the other cities we visited. I wish I had planned an itinerary with more countryside touring and a little less of the big cities. There is so much to see and do in China, so I’ll just have to go back someday.

Our taxi driver picked us up around 8am. We had a noon flight to Shenzhen. I said my goodbyes to the gals at the Li River Retreat and we headed out. It took about 1.5 hours to get to the airport. It was great to see the countryside, as we had arrived in Guilin the other day in the dark. I could see why the airport was quite a distance away. Who would want to fly among the mountains?

Our flight was very short and I think we were just served a drink. Once we landed, we could tell we would be having more warm days. Just beyond the luggage claim area, I found the ticket booth for the bus to Hong Kong. Tickets were 90 RMB each, which I used almost the last of my Chinese currency. We had to wait in the lounge only 10 minutes before we were gathered and escorted to the bus. Two security men boarded the bus and made sure everyone was buckled in. one security man took video shots of each person on board. Hmmm, I guess they wanted to keep track of who was crossing over into Hong Kong. After a short drive, we hit the border where we had go get off the bus, take our luggage and go through customs where we departed China and entered Hong Kong. Back on the bus we continued on to the Kowloon bus station.

On board we met a young couple (Elaine and Nigel) from California who were also staying at the Salisbury YMCA, so we shared a taxi after getting HK dollars at an ATM machine in the mall.

The YMCA is located in a good area of Kowloon with a subway stop nearby. The lobby was crowded with people checking in and just hanging out. Security men were everywhere. I booked a harbor view room (room 945), but a small portion of one building blocked part of the view. I checked later and was told our room was considered a full harbor view room rather than partial. I would recommend staying on a higher floor. In any case, the view was wonderful! I had seen this skyline for years on tv and in magazines but it was great to see it in person. Our room was basic with twin beds, tv., safe, mini bar and a small bathroom.

We met up with Elaine and Nigel and found a place for a late lunch/early dinner not too far from our hotel. I loved seeing all the street signs and the activity of the area. We walked around the temple street night market, but there was nothing worth buying. There were lots of eateries in the area and all the tables were filled. We walked south through the park and back to our hotel.

We headed over towards the harbor front to watch the evening laser light show. Many of the buildings across the water were lit up and some had green laser lights flashing over the city. The show lasted just 15 minutes. Found a department store with a small grocery inside under the convention center. Picked up a couple of food items and a bottle of wine for the room.

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