Sadly we learn that they had a worship service on our ship yesterday because we are in port today. We missed it. On our excursion, we leave Kowloon Peninsula where we are docked among the container ships again and travel through a tunnel to the island of Hong Kong.
Our first stop is Victoria Peak. A tram takes us to the top and we are rewarded with a beautiful view of Hong Kong Island. The buildings here are as dramatic as the ones in Shanghai but they are a little more streamlined and many are built into the sides of the steep hills.
At Stanley Market, we are allowed one hour to shop but it’s barely enough time to get the lay of the land. Prices seem to be good and there is some nice merchandise—just not enough time to try on clothes or truly explore much. There is no bartering here. The price marked is the price you pay although they will take USD. We buy the kids Christmas ornaments in a shop that is full of cloisonné items.
[God moments come when our guide mentions talking to “the One” about the weather and we pass a Baptist church in the market area that is having a service. We wish we had time to stop in.]
Next we move on to the Aberdeen area where we board a sampan. The sampans are water taxis, obviously owned and operated individually. Some we see have little “gift shops” aboard. The sampan holds about 10 people. We cruise the area where people still live aboard their sampans and junks. Most look like large houseboats. There are many large fishing boats moored here as well. As we pass one large houseboat with plants on the roof, the sampan lady talks excitedly with someone on our tour who speaks Chinese. He explains that she wants us to know that it is her home. She smiles proudly and nods. Many of the boat people, we are told, are being moved to public housing where conditions are more sanitary.
In the middle of all of this sits a huge floating restaurant called—what else—“Jumbo Floating Restaurant.” Some tours included lunch there. The only access to the restaurant is by boat.
After our sampan ride, we are busedto a “jewelry factory” for a three minute tour and another shopping opportunity. I see one jade pendant that looks tempting but the price is $495. Must be truly jade. I pass.
We opt to return to the ship rather than shopping in the Harbor City Mall. I spend the afternoon trying to rest and recuperate from this cold.
Our sail away tonight is spectacular. The captain has gotten permission to sail through the harbor on the way out. There is a nightly laser show and we must be out of the way by then. The lighted buildings are amazing. This has to be better than Shanghai. Thousands of bright pin-point dots line the hillsides from the apartment buildings and neon colors illuminate buildings in the business district, many of which display Christmas decorations.
It is romantic, exotic, and mysterious—everything you would imagine Hong Kong to be.