Sunday, October 2, 2011
Day 2 in Hong Kong
Little R trying some soy milk (she really likes it)
We had a rather slow start this morning, as we were all sleep deprived from the day before (even little R slept in until 9!), and didn't leave the hotel until around 11. Once out and about, we made our way to a typical Hong Kong breakfast place, which served sweet buns, toast covered in butter, noodles, eggs and sausage, and other delicious things. I had a breakfast set of a sweet bread bun, noodles with grilled beef, and the strongest tea I've ever drunk. It was so strong that once I drank it, my head was buzzing: the tea equivalent of espresso. B and our friend got yingyong tea, which is a Hong Kong specialty: super strong tea and coffee mixed with milk and lots of sugar. B felt doubtful about it, because he thought the coffee would overpower the tea; but because their tea is so strong, it's delicious (I couldn't experience it myself due to my milk allergy). For three people, the bill was about $7 and it was all great, so it's not surprising the restaurant was crowded with locals.
Then we made our way to the central piers (took the subway this time, which is clean and efficient) and took the Star Ferry across the harbor to Kowloon, another must-do. The views are great, and the boat is a real slice of Hong Kong history (the one we took was from 1960), full of people from every walk of life. It's also a bargain: a ticket is about 30 cents.
On the other side, we looked around the malls near the harbor, which stock every possible designer and luxury brand known to man, most at cheaper prices than available elsewhere. Apparently more than 50% of all luxury goods are sold in Asia, and probably a lot of them in Hong Kong. One of these malls also had the nicest baby facilities I have seen, with marble walls and a tiny child-size toilet, in addition to recliners for feeding and changing tables.
Then we made our way to the excellent Hong Kong Museum of History. The museum starts with the geological structure of the territory, and explores prehistory, the different ethnic groups and their traditions, the Opium War and the British takeover, the development of Hong Kong as an international trade center, the Second World War, and Hong Kong's growth into first a manufacturing center, and then a financial/management one. It was a fantastic museum, and really enlightening for understanding how Hong Kong developed. The last section, about Hong Kong's return to China, had been done in Communist style and was thus both bad and boring, so we skipped it.
Afterwards we were hungry, so we went to another local noodle place (really good again) and then back to the hotel, where little R rested. At 5 pm I woke her up and we went book shopping (to a very famous bookstore, originally in Shanghai, which was one of the centers of the modern Chinese literature movement in the 1920s and 30s). I spent $100 there as books are my weakness, and they were so cheap! (I could have easily spent $1000, no problem). Then we went back to Central, where we took the Central Mid-Levels escalator, the longest outdoor escalator in the world (yet another sign of the Chinese dislike of physical exertion). It was fascinating to see all the stores, street life and neighborhoods as we rode by on our elevated platform.
Little R and I went back to the hotel to rest, but B and our friend went out for drinks at a bar full of hip Hongkongers watching soccer (very surprising given the typical Chinese disinterest in sports; must be the British influence).