Second weekend in Hong Kong, includes hiking around Kowloon, a second trip to Hong Kong Park.
Day 2 strolling around the Hong Kong side of the harbor to visit a couple of parks, and the giant bird cage.
Day 3 where I took the bus to the resort area of Repulse bay on the back side of the island.
More Pictures of Day Three of Hong Kong Weekend
I made a second trip to Hong Kong over the long July 4th weekend. By this time Jim, Joe and Tran were gone and I had the city to my self. I had no plan for the weekend but it was good to get out of dirty noisy Changping for a while, and you can't go wrong spending a few days in Hong Kong.
I was feeling kind of queasy Friday morning so I decided to stay close to the hotel and and just wander around Kowloon instead of crossing the harbor. But Saturday morning I was feeling better so I took the ferry across the harbor for yet another walking tour of the parks and downtown. Right off of the ferry was a elementary school band putting on a concert in the terminal pavilion. I don't know what the occasion was but they were playing La Bomba!
I headed southwest to the giant outdoor escalator that goes nearly a mile up the hillside between downtown and the residential section of town. It's a long trip but it's not continuous, there are a half dozen gaps where it crosses the streets along the way. Near the top I hung a left and crossed over to the Hong Kong Zoo. This small park is mostly birds but it also includes an orangutan who looks board out of his mind. I don't know how big these things normally are but this one is huge, way over five foot. He looks big enough to play in the NFL if you ask me.
After doing two laps at the zoo park I continued east to Hong Kong Park. This is Hong Kong's biggest park and is loaded with museums, sports centers, playgrounds, ponds, hills, trees, trails, and the giant bird cage I visited two weeks earlier.
It's steamy hot and I'm sweating like a sauna, and so is my camera. The lens is foggy and the shutter isn't clicking anymore. It's still working but instead of a snapping sound it's a whorl sound, like dropping a beanbag on a rug. The pictures all have a slight haze to them so I can't shoot toward the sun, but the exposures seem good. Either way, I don't know if it'll last the day and I'll need to keep an eye on it. (Note, it made it through the trip but the sound didn't return to normal until a month after I was back in the US.)
At any rate, this is a great park with hours of things to see and do. My favorite is the big bird cage - about the size of a football field and covered with a dome of chicken wire. The pathway inside is about 15 feet off the ground which puts us at eye level with the birds in the trees. But there's really not that many birds here. You'd think the place would be soaked with them but we're only seeing maybe a dozen or two. I imagine there are a lot more hidden where we can't see them, but either way it's immensely interesting with lorikeets, minahs and colorful pigeons.
I hung out in the cage for about an hour then headed east and up the hill to the SARS memorial, which commemorates the doctors who worked on the SARS epidemic a few years ago. The highlight here is the SARS tower with a double helix stairway going up about a hundred feet to the observation platform where you get one of the great views of the forested park and downtown Hong Kong. South of here (up the hill) are the residential highrises, to the north (toward the harbor) are the downtown skyscrapers.
Down the hill from the memorial, I passed by a wedding party shooting group pictures near a pond. This was the forth wedding I ran into this day so I asked someone in the group what was going on. Turns out the date was 7-7-07 - the luckiest day since 7-7-77.
This park is about a half mile long and the eastern half of the main walkway was lined with dozens of Olympic statues. To stir interest in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, artists from all over China created small statues with an olympic theme. All were a wide range of styles but most depicted the Xian Terracotta Warriors doing one of the Olympic events. Some of these were sitting on pedestals, some were on existing walls, I didn't try to pick one up, but I was wondering if they were bolted down.
Right next to the park is the Pacific Place Mall. This huge place is one of the more spectacular malls I've been to, but like malls everywhere it's nothing but women's clothes and jewelry. It was the same in Kowloon, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Portland. Who's buying all these clothes anyhow? And does the world really need 100 clothes stores under a single roof? And why are there no men's malls - with stores selling sporting goods, tools, electronics and guns???
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The next day I wanted to do something different so I hopped on the bus and took a ride to the south side of Hong Kong Island. This island isn't that big and the ride to Repulse Bay takes less than an hour. There are several big towns on the south side that I wanted to see but Repulse is a beach resort, and with only enough time to visit one place I voted for beaches and bikinis.
This place is no Waikiki but the beach was huge scenic and surrounded by forested mountains. I jumped off the bus, kicked off my sandals, walked across the burning sand barefoot, then ran to the surf to cool my feet. I couldn't go swimming because I couldn't leave my camera on the beach, so I went for a walk along the north side of the bay.
A big patio and dock jut into the bay north of the beach where fishermen hang over the side waiting for the big bite that just isn't there. A huge number of tiny fish are swimming nearby, hovering near the barnacle and seaweed crust on the bottom of the dock - tetras and gobys by the hundreds but nothing big enough for the fishermen. It's hot sunny and quiet, and hardly any people for a Sunday afternoon. The sea is loaded with islands, some in the bay nearby and even more on the horizon.
I put my sandals back on and continued up a long pathway leading north along the shore. It eventually goes to the town of Repulse Bay but I followed it for about a mile, hugging the shoreline full of hikers fisherman and dogs swimming on their own beach. In the bay was a group of paddlers in one of those Chinese war canoes heading out to sea, and beyond that was the big balloon and tramway of Ocean Park where we were two weeks ago.
Back on the beach I sloshed along the wet fringe all the way to the other end a quarter mile away. Funny thing is, there really aren't that many people on this beach, and today's a Sunday. If this was Hawaii, there'd be a million people on this beach. But the Chinese don't like the sun and tend to hide under the shade of an umbrella on a day like this. So on high density island like Hong Kong, it's easy to find a deserted beach.
Marking the south end of the beach is a pair of colorful temples with a huge number of whimsical hindu and buddhist statues scattered all over the grounds. According to my guidebook, this isn't so much a temple but a statue museum, with big buddha's, little buddha's, buddha riding on a bird, lions, dragons, and hundreds of other statues inside and outside the two memorial buildings.
That was all a load of fun, but I got more important things to do right now. Across the road from the beach is a Pizza Hut, and I'm starving. So I got a plate of lasagna and relaxed in the cool air conditioning for a good hour. It was steamy hot outside and I need time to cool off as much as I need the food.
At any rate, by the time lunch was over it was time to head back to Kowloon. I need to catch the train back to Changping and I want to be on it by 3:00. So I jumped back on the 392 bus and took the winding road back to the busy side of the island. But Repulse Beach was a load of fun, next time I'm in Hong Kong I'm going to stay here instead of Kowloon.
Dongguan China 2007
Hiking Kowloon, Hong Kong Park and Repulse Bay