Saturday, March 10, 2012

HK Island: The Fog, The Peak, The Food

Well that fog didn't lift and a grey day (make that 3 grey days) greeted us on Hong Kong Island. But just to cheer us up, one of the first sites we noticed was the Apple Store. We didn't visit it right away as we were late getting to lunch with Dennis.  But when we later visited the store in mid-afternoon on Wednesday, it was buzzing.  

First though, we were off to City Hall for Dim Sum (note: City Hall in HK is more of a cultural destination than a government building.  Marriages appear to be the one official function that occurs there.  What did we have?  Hmm.  Dennis just kept ordering.  We were so busy eating we only got one photo. To top that, we forgot to take any photos at our Indian diner at Curry Tiffin in Stanley Market where we had garlic naan, chicken tikka masala, rogan josh, aloo gobi, sag paneer with Carlsberg beer. To be honest, the real culinary treat of the day was the crackers coated in dark chocolate that Aissa made.  (Aissa was off dealing with family affairs in the Phillipines, so this was our only local connection with her.)  I really hope to get that recipe from her. 

After lunch we rode the double decker trolley to see a slice of HK life. Pat especially liked the folks squeezing through between the trolleys...and the iPhone ads...and, of course Mc Donald's.

Later as we were waiting for Dennis, Pat couldn't resist looking at the Swarovski crystal jewelry.  And, don't tell anyone at Apple, but she bought cute little Apple logo shaped silver earrings with clear crystals. 

The next day it was even foggier.  So we set off to see HK Gardens with the tea museum, aviary, and conservatory.  

Love the juxtaposition of architecture.
The colonial building is now the Tea Museum.
It was amazing to learn of the dozens of ways, some simple, some ridiculously complicated. 

They have annual teapot competitions.  This is one of the
 cuter winners.  I wonder how practical it is though.

Pat especially liked the orchids.

The aviary was closed but we did see the conservatory.  They had a "Dry Climate" section with very familiar cactus and a "Wet Climate" section with more local plants.  Well, speaking of local plants...they have New England plants (rhododendron & azealas in bloom while we were there), along with tropical plants (hibiscus in bloom as well).

For Pat, the key drive to return to HK, aside from seeing how it had changed in 20 years, was to re-live the experience of taking the tram to Victoria Peak and enjoying the city views (both daytime & nighttime.)  It was not to be.  So we went up anyway & overcame our sorrows with food & wine. (OK, why isn't anyone surprised?)

The atmospheric view from the Tram.
That's marketing speak for
"this is all the view you get."

For those of you that haven't been to HK, 
this is the view we hoped for (from poster at the Peak.)

Our later explorations included riding the mid-level elevators. These were built since our last trip to HK.  This is the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world.  In the morning it carries folks down to the business center, in the afternoon it carries them back up.  From there we wandered through SoHo (South of Hollywood), an area now crowded with cafes, shops & wine bars, as well as many options for better developing your wine tasting skills.  

Our final touring stop was at the Man Mo Temple, a mid-19th century temple, dedicated to the Gods of Literature (Man Tai) and Military (Mo Tai). Not being all that knowledgeable about the beliefs behind this place, we were most impressed by the incense rings that hang like bells.

Dragon detail from the door of the temple.

We need to get on with touring in KL.  So to close for now. some final food photos... Peking Duck from Peking Garden and Fried Shanghai Noodles from Crystal Jade.  Yum!

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