Trip Start Aug 07, 2011
110Trip End Jul 14, 2012
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Where I stayed
I actually ended up getting a decent night's sleep on the train from Gui Lin and in the morning was happily entertained by our guide, Stoney, showing us his Mr Miyagi 'catching nuts with chopsticks' trick! I think he was happy to be back in his home town which he described as being "more civilised" than China! Say what you think why don't you Stoney! ;-)
We only had one night left on the tour after which some of the group were leaving which is always a little sad! We were staying on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong for the final night and ended up getting the penthouse suite which afforded great views of Hong Kong island!
After a quick shower and a change we headed to town with Chris and Emma
After Fran's interview and a few emails later it was time for dinner. We met the rest of the group for 'the last supper' at a restaurant just round the corner from the hotel and afterwards those that were left headed to the notorious street of Lan Kwai Fong on Hong Kong Island for a few farewell drinks.
It was sad to say goodbye to everyone. Travelling together for 3 weeks gives you a long time to build up friendships and we'd made some really good friends who we'll definitely try and meet up with when we're home. We just want to say a big thanks to the G Adventures crew for making our time in China so enjoyable - it wouldn't have been the same without you! And to Fran's point in the last blog it was an emotional farewell for the Chris and Andy bromance!
The next day, Saturday, we had a late rise from bed (I've no idea what we're going to do when we're back at work) and made our way to a flat on Hong Kong island where a friend of Fran's lives, called Jenny Lau. Jenny used to work with Fran at Virgin Mobile in Leicester Square and they were part of what Fran called "the after works drinking crew" so I knew we were in good hands in Hong Kong! Jen had very kindly offered to put us up for the week and we were massively grateful for that after what turned out to be quite an unexpectedly expensive adventure in China!
After a quick hello and catch up at the flat the three of us headed out for a wander round town. As Jenny lives in the mid-levels half way up the mountain the walk into town takes you down some steep narrow streets lined with market stalls. It was a bit like how the olden days must have felt! After getting our bearings we headed back to Jen's as we were going out that evening and we all needed time to cool off and get ourselves ready.
That night we met up with Tom, Duncan and Brandon who were all friends of Jen in a restaurant called Yung Kee - a Michelin starred restaurant famous for its goose and duck
Afterwards it was time to hit town, Soho to be exact. To begin with it was pretty relaxed, that is until the Jaegerbombs came out.....it was all down-hill from there. My recollection of the night only consisted of a bar called Lily and Bloom, but I know we did at least 4 or 5! Oh dear! And yes I believe MJ did come out for the evening, luckily no Vondy (Vodka Andy) though!
It was a fantastic night, and we didn't end up going to bed until 5:30am on Sunday morning!
After 7 hours drunken sleep I woke up feeling not too bad.....on the other hand Mrs M. was an absolute mess, wandering around the flat bent over double so it was back to bed at 2pm to sleep it off for her! Bad times!
We were actually going out that night to meet up with our friend Jeeves, who we stayed with when we were in Singapore. Fran couldn't handle going out on an empty stomach and so we cured her hangover with an awesome pad thai and thai curry before heading to meet Jeeves in an Irish bar of all places, called McSorley's
We only stayed for one as the night before had done us in, but it was great to catch up with Jeeves, talk about his upcoming trip to NZ and it turns out we may bump into him when we're in Malaysia at the end of the month.
On Monday, we mooched around Causeway Bay where Fran attempted to go shopping for herself to no avail - Tash I think your help is needed more than ever! Afterwards we had a look in the Wan Chai computer centre as we were still yet to get a laptop, but to no avail there either. Bad day all round then!
In the evening we me up with Jen and two more of her friends, Alan and Hoi, and had some Chinese in a well known restaurant in the IFC building. It was a nice chilled evening in good company.
On Tuesday, I met up with a colleague in the morning for lunch and afterwards Fran and I spent the afternoon around Victoria Harbour as well as The Avenue of Stars. To be honest we were looking forward to seeing the famous statue of Fran's cousin, Bruce Lee, but we were gutted to find he was having some work done to him and so he was covered up
Anyway we finally bought our new laptop that day too and to celebrate we had a dirty burger and chips for dinner in Harbour City shopping centre! Nom nom nom! By now it was getting on for 7:30pm so after dinner we headed back to The Avenue of Stars to watch The Symphony of Lights - supposedly the biggest daily light show in the world! It was actually quite cool and cheesy at the same time, with music playing and lights flashing in time on the massive buildings across the water. There was a point where Fran and I got a little nostalgic with the green lasers from the top of the buildings which reminded us of Liquid, on of our clubs from our uni days at Lancaster.....however in our club at uni there was only one laser mind, and it definitely wasn't as spectacular as this! ;-)
On Wednesday, we ended up having a planning day because earlier that week I thought I'd ask Fran what time our flight to Manila was.
Earlier in the week..
Me: "Mrs M? What time's our flight to Manila?"
Fran: "I don't know bubs".
Me: "Ok, I'll just take a look."
2 mins later....
Me: "Where's Clark International Airport?"
Fran: "Manila I think?"
After 30 seconds of google mapping...
Me: "Ummm no bubs, you've actually booked us to fly into an airport 2 hours away from Manila".
Fran: "Ahhh, oops?"
Cue some last minute alterations to the plan. Basically it turns out you can't really get anywhere else in the Philippines from Clark International Airport for a decent price so we had to figure out a new plan and how to get to Manila by public transport
We actually ended up having a really productive day in the end! Go Mahoneys! In the evening we met back up with Jen and Alan from a couple of nights before, together with another of Jen's friends, called Sarah. We ended up eating at a hot-pot place which I found much tastier than the one in Chongqin - I've begun to get used to the tongue-numbing sensation of sichuan peppercorns!
On Thursday we did a bit of shopping and tried to go up The Peak, but we'd run out of cash and they wouldn't accept card so we never managed to get up there in the end. That was probably the only regret of Hong Kong but I'm sure we'll be back one day because we think this place is awesome! That lunchtime we ate at a famous dim sum place in Hong Kong station, one which our friends Anjali and Gaurav along with Jen had recommended to us. We queued for at least 40 minutes but it was definitely worth the wait and much better than the dim sum we had in China!
In the evening Fran met up with one of her other old colleagues from BT this time, called Tony. His wife recently gave birth to twins, so Fran being Fran just had to go and say hello
Anyway, that evening we had a chilled one over a beer and took our time packing. Tomorrow we fly to 'Manila' in the Philippines so we're really excited about that. I don't really know what to expect if I'm honest, all I know is there'll be some beach-time along the way!
Before I leave you I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to Jenny for letting us stay and being such a generous host! Both Fran and I have really enjoyed hanging out with you and your friends over here and hopefully we'll be back someday to hang out some more!
Talk to you soon folks!Mahoney