Woke up and left for Lantau Island. The MRT journey was an insightful one as i got to pass by many of the New Towns in the N.T. Met up with my Melbourne friend, whom i shall call c.y. We took the Ngong Ping 360 up to The Big Buddha atop the hill. The cable ride up was great and it was very long...the Great Buddha was less than spectacular and very small ( i was so surprised at the smallness of it..) and unremarkable really...won't be going there again if i'm in hk..it's nothing compared to Kek Lok Si Temple up the hill in Penang or any of the temples you can see in Taiwan..of cos, cannot compare with China's temples...but the walk to the 'Wisdom Path' is definitely worth it and i'd recommend visitors to go visit the path, skip the Buddha!
Cos c.y. has this masters/phd in buddhism, he could actually explain to me the direction to read the buddhist scriptures inscribed on each wooden plank as well as their meanings, good stuff to have someone whom actually knows buddhism in depth...or else i'd be lost as the scriptures are written in 'Wen Yian Wen' which is Classical Chinese...he even spotted missing or wrongly worded ones!
Above: Citygate, Tung Chung
Above and Below: Wisdow Path, Ngong Ping.
Then we headed back to Tung Chung MTR Station and went to Citygate Outlet Mall for our lunch of Teppanyaki at the foodcourt there. I haven't had Teppan in years...it was nice after such a long time...shopped around Citygate which is the largest outlet mall in HK stocked with all the brands you'd want such as Ralph Lauren (my fav brand sometimes), Esprit, etc...i thought i'd go wild shopping here given the cheap prices but i didn't like anything here...haha..maybe its cos they only sell the designs/sizes which have not been sellable in normal stores...
Headed back to Mongkok and shopped around...went to this place called Hollywood Plaza i think which my friend suggested for cheap shopping cos they're all imported clothes from Mainland China...i bought this cool cashmere-like trench-coat there which didn't turn out to be cheap anyways...but it was nice n designer chic...alot of people kept commenting on how 'smart' c.y was to be able to speak cantonese (as well as mandarin) and they were 'so surprised so see him speak it so fluently, and i'm like HUH, didn't the british colonize Hong Kong for 100 yrs ++++ and u expect some expats to know it right?? Apparently, most expats in HK don't know much if any cantonese even after living in HK for many decades...they often think c.y.s a cop cos the only caucasians in hk whom speak fluent cantonese are the caucasian cops, remnants of british colonial rule..that's somethin interesting:-)
Above: Langham Place, Mongkok...
Later, I was taken by c.y. to Langham Place, Mongkok, which is this cool glass structure like a fishtank in the centre of Mongkok...its a new shopping/eatery mall with the outer structure being glass so you can see outside to the older buildings surrounding it as commonly seen around Mong kok...really cool..the lights were spectacular...i'm not sure whether its only for christmas...anyways, phototime here again!!!
Later, I went to have dinner at this BBQ 烧腊 place which was highly recommended on the HK Tourism Board website as well as various other websites called 再兴潮州烧腊i think..it was FANTASTIC and you could see foreigners there too..definitely worth going...of cos you must know chinese/cantonese to order there...its not one of those fancy places with english menus,etc..but very authentic hk style bbq...its at Hennessy Road, Wanchai.
Had a walk around Jordan MRT Station which gives off a very 90's HK feel, the image of Hong Kong which i was left with during my years of watching HK movies/tv dramas back in the 90s/00s..i think Mongkok/Jordan/Yaumatei/Prince Edwards area reminds me the most of the impression you get of hk and from the hk films of the 90's crowded, slightly dingy, alot of older buildings, and neon light signs...
Also had the fluggy egg sandwich again at Australian Dairy Company of course with my favourite hk-style drink- Iced Lemon Tea with Honey,hehehe..:-)
Got back home earlier today and had a shower, surfed email, and chatted with HP before sleeping
Above: Your average girlie porn on display in hk street side papers vendor...but look closely! I noticed they sell gay porn as well..side by side with the straight porn,hahaha, you can see playboy,etc and then on the top right corner is a thai gay porn video (i think) and below 'M1' and 'Xiong Feng' are gay porn mags...a sign of the times...i had to take these VERY discreetly..haha..
Above: Joy Hing BBQ, Wanchai.
30th December 2008:
Woke up early and walked to the Kowloon Tong MRT Station. Actually one of the good things you get staying in one of the common suburbs' of Hong Kong (as opposed to in TST and Central/Wanchai/CWB touristy areas) is that you get to experience some type of a normal hong kong lifestyle, such as enjoying the simple walk to the MRT station from where you live in a normal environment, which is something i enjoyed experiencing, just the simple stroll to the K.T. Mrt every morning..
Rushed to meet my friend from melbourne m.y./my whom i haven't seen in ages, since then she has moved back to hong kong to work after graduation...we met at Wanchai and she had brought along her highschool mate...we had lunch at this typical hk-style eatery which office workers eat at, she had found good reviews of it on openrice.com and thought of bringing me there to try..it was so-so only, like most hong kong chachaanteng, in fact i had already come to the conclusion yrs ago in melbourne that hk style chachaanteng food is crude and tastes bad and this only confirmed it..in fact besides a few select chachaanteng and some 'safe' choices such as 'polo bun' and 'cart noodles', nothing tastes good at hk chachaanteng...taiwan's streetside snacks (xiao chi) and malaysian hawker fare are soooooo mucccchhh more exquisitely prepared and tastier (c.y. agrees with me having been to both taiwan/malaysia)..
Anyways, after we hung out we went to this other chachaanteng which i had found known for its famed 'polo bun' and it was tasty:-)
Above: People lining up to buy branded goods...YES, only in hong kong can u see people (apparently mainly mainland chinese) lining up to buy luxury goods...crazy really if ya ask me..
Then we walked the streets of Wanchai, went to this Wanchai 'gaishi' (wetmarket) took the tram to Victoria Park and walked to the annual historical HK Goods and Products Exhibition
香港公展会 which was held during my time in Hong Kong (how lucky i am!). I've always wanted to visit this exhibition as it has alot of history going back to the 50's. Once again, took tons of photos here as alot of photo opps and saw many famous HK brands such as Lee Kum Kee, etc..and m.y. bought alot of biscuits back for her mom cos its cheaper here being wholesale price...i wanted to visit a New Town in the N.T as i really hadn't visited one during my entire time spent in HK and so i decided to go back home with m.y....we were going to take the bus back which would have been a superb experience as i hadn't taken a hong kong bus yet (i've done the ferry, MRT, and tram)but as i was in a rush so we took the MRT to Shatin New Town.
I visited the Shatin Public Library, Marriage Registry, Shatin Court House,etc all within the vicinity of the station as well as the river which runs thru Shatin...really nice..took tons of pix in the cold wind again, with m.y...i think its better to visit HK during winter, cos i can't imagine having to walk all around hk during the humid summer/spring/autumn seasons...even in winter, it doesn't really get too cold..sometimes, just cool...
Said my goodbyes to m.y. hugged and bid farewell till next time!~~~
Rushed back to Kowloon Tong and then went with HP with her mom to TST and bought a new luggage as rem how i said mine got broken the day i arrived in HK?? Went back to Chungking Mansions to buy the one i saw previously...yes Chungking Mansions is the famous establishment as seen in Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express movie..there're so many South Asians there...had dinner at this congee place in Jordan and walked around TST, went over to HK Island and IFC area...but it was closed by then and so i never got to see the shops there tho i presume they're the same-old u'd expect in any other classy malls in Asia...hung around some of the high-end plazas at Central and went back home. Packed and went to bed.
Above: Mongkok streets at night...
Above: Happy New Year 2009....
Above: Temple Street, Yaumatei...
31st December 2008:
Last day in Hong Kong!! Woke up and went to Wong Tai Sin Temple, took some photos, as i've come to realise, all the traditional temples and monuments in HK are pretty unamazing..i'd suggest sticking to the old street areas such as Sham Shui Po, shopping havens such as Mongkok/Yaumatei and Causeway Bay or go to village areas in Yuen Long or Lamma Island whilst in HK to get a unique HK experience...shopped around Festival Walk shopping mall and its high-end food deli and rushed back, said my goodbyes to HP and left to Kowloon Sta. for check-in. After checking-in, had a walk around Elements Kowloon and rushed back to TST for kaya bread from Food Republic there..then rushed to HKIA whilst knowing i'd miss my flight...soooo depressed...hopefully managed to get the next flight into Taipei free of charge and in time for the Taipei 101 New Year Eve's Fireworks celebrations~~~:-)
Hong Kong Foodie List:
1) Joy Hing BBQ: 265-267 Hennessy Road, Wanchai.
2) Australian Dairy Company: 47 Parkes Street, Jordan.
3) Chao Inn: No1. Peking Road,TST, Level 10.
4) Gong Wor Dou Ban: Sham Shui Po, Pak Hor Gai No. 118
5) Kuan Kei: Sham Shui Po ,Fu Hwa Gai 115-117 No 10. Pak Hor Sheung Cheung.
There were too many but the above are just a few....