Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hong Kong and Shenzhen day 3

The view from the 18th floor of our hotel in Shenzhen.

Some of the fruit from the breakfast at the hotel - the cantaloupe tasted like cantaloupe light and the weird watermelon wasn't that impressive!

A really cool tower in Shenzhen. At night it has this super powerful green laser that randomly roams the skies; I'm not sure what the deal was with it but it was kind of nice to help us find our bearings considering this building was by the hotel.

Another neat building in Shenzhen - I don't remember what its function was!

 Josh pointed out how cool this sign was: it's not telling you the direction of a flight to Hong Kong, nor a train, nor a's literally telling you that Hong Kong is just up this escalator! And...through a couple customs checkpoints!

The same river from the day before, but a ways West! If you're wondering whose territory the river is, it's basically split in half.

Walking across again! Of course the moving sidewalk isn't working on the mainland side...

The view from the MTR station on the other side of the border.

I'm not sure when or where I took this picture, but enjoy! (I know I keep doing that, but I figure it's better to enjoy the pictures rather than omit them!)

At the Hung Hom station in Kowloon.

Walking around in Kowloon after we arrived at the Hung Hom station from the MTR ride, we saw this giant *rock thing* at this interchange and couldn't figure out what it was. I saw a pigeon loitering underneath it, so I was kind of hoping it was the world's least efficient, yet most dramatic pigeon-eradicator...but I was disappointed to see nothing happen.

A boat that took a wrong turn. Actually, it's a mall.

Just past the boat in the other picture, we found a food court. The area wasn't really meant for English speaking tourists; the lack of caucasians and the absence of English on the menus gave this away. We ended up finding this restaurant that had the best chicken I have ever had. For $40 HKD ($5.16 USD) I got the plate seen above (well, I ate half the chicken by this picture) as well as a large iced tea (also delicious!). It was absolutely fantastic.

The best part about this place was that, even though the menu was completely in traditional Chinese characters, everybody nearby was completely willing to help us figure it out. We ended up with this elderly couple, born and raised in Hong Kong, that were eager to help us get to know the city. They even asked us what we were doing in that area, since tourists generally didn't come there.

They had us follow them onto a ferry ($6 HKD) that went across Victoria Harbor; they were heading to the peak but they recommended the beaches for us to see. 

My new Hong Kong grandparents.

They were incredibly interesting people: both were very well educated, and the husband was a civil engineer in Hong Kong; she pointed out that he basically constructed that interchange by that rock-thing in the earlier photo!

They have 2 daughters that are doctors and a son that just graduated UC Davis, and is now working back in Hong Kong! Impressive. We were definitely able to relate to each other based on their emphasis on higher education!

Furthermore, their chemistry was one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time: they couldn't agree on any advice they were giving us. She'd tell us to go one way and he'd recommend another - I'm pretty sure they were out of some kind of movie. It was one of those old couples that bickers and struggles for dominance over each other all the time, yet you know that it's still a really fantastic relationship (especially considering how long they'd been together)!

Anyway, here are the pictures from the ferry ride from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island:

Not a bad boat ride for under $1 USD...

The ferry terminal in Central.

We ended up getting on bus 260, the express bus to the beaches. It is a double decker, of course, and we ended up in one of the front seats on the top level; fantastic.
Well, the bus driver kept scaring the hell out of me by pulling up really close to the bus in front of us...



The Ocean Park of Hong Kong.

...we hit traffic.

Approaching the beaches!

I thought this was Repulse Bay, but it turned out to be Deepwater Bay.

Deepwater Bay area.

Approaching Repulse Bay.

Repulse Bay! Note the bizarre expression on the lady in the corner of my picture...scary.

More Repulse Bay!

Where'd it get this name anyway?

Josh decided go for a swim. I sat back and enjoyed the free government wi-fi at the beach!

A giant cargo ship heading in!

Further down the beach.

People kept tossing coins into the mouth - I assume for "good luck."

Camera-phone artistic photo!

Wait...drinkable drinking water??? Also, note the sign that points out that these are disinfected 7 times a day.

We took a bus back from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, then another bus from Shenzhen to Guangzhou. It was cheap, only $80 HKD for the one way trip ($10.30 USD), but nothing was in English since it was really only used by locals from the mainland or Hong Kong...that made it a bit of an adventure. The driving of the guy on the mainland was also interesting, to say the least.

All in all, an absolutely fantastic trip - I'll definitely be heading back to Hong Kong before this summer, as well as Macau!

Look forward to that!


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