Wednesday, sept 19th
We arrive at Hong Kong airport, after an uneventful flight. No sleep was to be had, even though screaming toddlers were most noticeable by their absence. The weather: 30+ degrees and muggy. We gather ourselves onto a hotel shuttle bus which takes us straight to our front door. One check-in later and we crash into our room, which is not very large but spacious enough with a nice shower area. Also, we are on the 25th floor, with an amazing (although foggy) view!
Today, being a write-off as it is, we explore parts of the street and ladies’ market, as well as some toy stores and end up having dinner at some curry chain before heading back and switching off the lights at 8.
Thursday, sept 20th
We awaken at a reasonable time (7.30) feeling refreshed. The weather: still foggy and muggy. We get some breakfast at a local pastry shop and ice coffee at the supermarket (taken and gobbled up in the hotel room) before heading off to southern Kowloon via Nathan Road and through Kowloon Park with their swimming pool, Chinese garden and aviary. We visit Tiffany’s and Cartier as well as Armani, Versace, D&G etc etc etc (nothing bought alas). Being in the area, we pass the avenue of the stars where we spot the stars of Bruce Lee and Jacky Chan as well as the Bruce Lee statue.
In the afternoon, we get onto a ferry to the central district and have some sort of lunch at Starbucks (they serve great iced green tea) before checking out the antique streets of Hollywood road and cat street as well as every little junk shop we can find in the alleyways between. We are slightly taken aback at how much some shop keepers intend to charge for their wares but Sean manages to find a few cheap retro games nonetheless. We wander the area until about 4 when we head towards the museum of teaware, which we reach at 4.45 and we speed past the exhibits in record-time before they close at 5. Being in the area, we take the Peak Tram up the hills to admire the (still foggy) views. Heading back, being tired after a long day, we walk aaaaaaaalll the way back to central metro station, having dinner along the way in the Lan Kwai Fong area, where we skip-di-doo onto a metro to Mongkok station. We wander the area a slight bit more before heading back to the hotel and falling asleep around 10.30.
Friday, sept 21st
We awaken horribly late (around 12) due to a rough jetlaggy night of waking, tossing, turning, being hungry and thirsty, hot, tired and not sleepy all at once. The weather: hot and muggy. Today we check out the golden shopping arcade, or rather the golden computer arcade as we never really managed to find the prior. We stumble upon the flea market at Apliu street which we fully explore – Sean finding a Wonderswan Colour and a Gameboy advanced SP. We stay in this area for a few hours, including dinner of a bento box and dumplings with people in a restaurant that did not understand us only when we wanted to pay the bill, before taking the metro to the night market at temple street. And what a disappointment that was! You might as well go to any other market where the next stall sells exactly the same plastic fake cr*p as the one before and the one before that. Lots of foreigners here as it is recommended in every guide book. Some stalls/ food places along this road sell really stinky stuff and we make a rapid escape via Nathan Road heading back to the hotel, stopping to wander about in Sinocentre and Langham Place where Yvette FINALLY finds her leather bag (Franc Qui). We stumble back into the hotel around 11.
Saturday, sept 22nd
Getting up at 8.30 after an uneventful night. Tossing and turning for Sean only this time. It has poured with rain tonight but the warmth or mugginess have not gone down as it’s still 30+ degrees and very sticky. We take the metro and head to the Hong Kong Museum of Art where we visit the various exhibits, most notably about the Secret Garden of Emperor Qianlong and the displays of Chinese ceramics through the ages. Fantastic although the tour guide at the Qianlong exhibit had a LOT to tell. After an iced green tea at Starbucks and quick internet search we take a ferry once more across the bay and hop onto a metro at Central to Wan Chai to take another stab at finding those streets where they sell retro toys. We find a street market in those streets (Tai Yuen Street) although we cannot find the Transformer 80-ness we came for. Back onto a metro and towards Sham Sui Po to find that elusive Golden shopping center. We manage to find another part with games and CPU stuff and Sean picks up another retro game he was after. We go back to Mongkok, have a noodle and sticky rice/ soup dish at a local restaurant before heading back to the hotel around 10.
Sunday, sept 23rd
Getting up at a reasonable time (8.30). The weather: hot and muggy, cloudy. Today we visit the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple and it’s beautiful gardens, The front being very very busy as there is also some sort of festival going on – perhaps as a prelude to the autumn festival? They have traditional dances and such, but we don’t stick around the main stage because of the heat and ‘ no picture’ policy. There are protesters next to Falung Gong people, wish-making and the unicorn dance. Fleeing the heat, we head into the nearby shopping mall where we enjoy a coca cola slurpee and a short sit-down. Seats are always hard to find in Hong-Kong! Back onto the metro, we head toward Prince Edward to find a retro games store (in which we fail) but we pass the flower market and Bird Garden (too sad those birds in small cages). Walking back towards the hotel, we stop for a Dim-Sum lunch before trying to track down that elusive Maschinen Krieger set at Mongkok. We manage to find all the shops but as Sean remained indecisive we will return tomorrow to buy a box when we have had a chance to look up all available types online. Dinner at some dodgy place where Yvette’s Pork Knuckles at not quite the same as in the UK (trotters, not knuckles) and Sean’s noodle dish ends up making him sick. We are back at the hotel around 8, where we start packing our things.
Monday, sept 24th,
Getting up a little later as we have very little to do today. We agree that we have had a great time so far but it is really just 1 day too long! The weather: even warmer, muggier and showers. We leave our luggage at reception and go back to the model shops we managed to find yesterday – still a few of which were closed – and into a shopping mall onto the corner which turned out to have more retro gaming stuff. unfortunately overpriced, so nothing was bought. It rains all day today, in showers and thundery flashes. Sean’s stomach got dodgy from his noodles yesterday and since we are still a bit knackered from our miles and miles of trekking through the city, we decide to take it easy today. We make our way south to the outlet street via Nathan road where we go into the most shady shopping arcade ever with just Indian folk and then further down to the actual outlets. Again, nothing good was found and we head back early to the hotel (around 6), going on a shuttle bus to the airport in the pouring rain (around 7) and check in at the desk. The Quantas girl can find the booking for the suitcase and that it is paid for, but still wants us to come up with the invoice number! After some to-and-fro-ing she lets us check in the 4 bags agreed, (still only after shuffling round some stuff to bring the suitcase back to 23 kg). We eat at the airport and the flight to Sydney is uneventful apart from the take-off in a thunderstorm and bouts of turbulence along the way. Again, no sleep is to be had.
Tuesday, sept 25th,
We are collected at the airport by a gent with a luxery Sedan who drops us off at the Meriton, Bondi Junction. We check in and get put on the 10th floor, room 8 which is a clean and modern 1 bedroom apartment with all facilities we need. The apartments come with access to gym, swimming pool and sauna (gasp!) and we have quite a nice view ! Today we check out the shops around us to find groceries and other things we will need for our own place but turn in early to leave the exploration of Sydney for another day.