Dim Sum, Victoria Peak and Tea at the Peninsula

Trip Start Mar 08, 2011
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Trip End Jun 11, 2011


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Friday, March 11, 2011

We're getting better at navigating the small room and cold shower, just takes some getting used to! Unfortunately, the internet in the hostel was still down this morning so we hiked it over to an internet café I remembered seeing the day before near the Star Ferry port. It’s really frustrating that our primary communication is via the internet and that’s one of the reasons we picked this hostel and it’s been down for a long period of time (Dave: Not sure where Amy gets her drama queen tendencies, must be her first time to Asia). They are definitely going to get a review from me! Anyway, after taking care of business at the internet café we got directions to a local joint for dim sum.  I’d never had dim sum in the US so was pretty excited for this. It took a few blocks walking and a few wrong turns before we found the little gem of Ho Choi Seafood House tucked away in a shopping mall but boy was it worth the wait! We were the only gringos so we knew it was good. We enjoyed piping hot dumplings with beef, pork and shrimp and even tried shark fin soup. There weren’t any prices listed anywhere (at least ones we could understand) so Dave was concerned with what the bill might be (especially the shark fin soup as it is quite expensive in the States). Meanwhile, the bill came and the total was $15US. If only we had more time in Hong Kong, this would turn into our daily lunch.

Pretty satisfied with ourselves, we decided to head to Victoria Peak. We started out in the train station but once we looked at the map it seemed to not take us directly where we wanted to go. Dave suggested we take the Star Ferry again as it would drop us right by the bus terminus. I agreed – why take the subway when you can take a ferry? So we walked back across Salisbury road (now becoming really familiar with this area!) and took the ferry across from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. Once we disembarked, the bus terminus was right there and a large sign said that the #15 will take you right up to the Peak. Excellent! We’ve been really impressed with the clear and English signage here. We had to wait a bit but the double-decker eventually pulled up and we enjoyed the top deck air-conditioned ride up to the top of Victoria Peak for $1.5US per person. Granted it was a bit harrowing at times when the road narrowed and the switchbacks were sharp but I really enjoyed it. Once we arrived there is a huge shopping mall where you take 30 escalators to the top for a 360 degree view from the top of the Peak. I’m not sure why they can’t create a more efficient route but then they wouldn’t be able to try to sell you souvenirs and such on each floor.  The view at the top was pretty amazing even though it was a bit hazy and very windy.

We headed back down stopping only at the candy shop with a number of collectables because Dave enjoyed the extra-large Pez dispensers (and didnt want to miss out on a photo op with hello kitty). On the 3rd level of the mall there’s a Madame Tussauds wax museum which was interesting and strange. I tried my best Bond girl impression in my hiking gear so it was fairly unsuccessful. We headed back down more escalators and decided to take the tram down from the Peak (why go down the same way you went up when there’s a tram?). The Tram was very steep but provided an amazing view of the city from the way down. At one point we were so close to the apartment buildings we could see inside – they all looked so crooked since we were at such a down angle. We had to hold onto our seats a few times for sure. Safely back on solid ground we decided to walk through downtown back to the Star Ferry terminal.  On the way we passed Statue Square and some beautiful fountains as well as the #1 hotel here, the Mandarin Oriental. We made it back onto the Ferry and noticed lots of locals watching the news TV outside the ferry but didn’t think anything about it and also we didn’t understand Cantonese.

Back in Kowloon we disembarked from the Star Ferry and made our way down Salisbury to the Peninsula hotel. We had read and heard that afternoon tea here is a must-see tradition. By the time we got there at 3:30pm a line had already started so we hopped in, thinking it wouldn't be too long. An hour later we were finally seated and enjoyed a lovely cup of tea, coffee and mini sandwiches. It wasn't cheap but well worth it sitting in the same lobby from the 1920s with white glove service. After enjoying our tea we headed up to the 28th floor to the Felix restaurant where there's a fantastic view of Hong Kong Island from the bathrooms (the female bathroom has a better view than the male!). I took a video to show the panoramic view. the bathroom itself was also very posh which I appreciate.

We were so stuffed from tea and snacks that we headed back to the hostel to rest and see if the internet was back up. It turns out that it was, just in time for us to learn the news about Japan (so that is what all of the locals were watching while waiting for the ferry). More on what happens next in our "We're Safe" chapter.  And special thanks to Ashish for giving us a heads up, otherwise we might have gone to bed without knowing what we were getting ourselves into the next day.

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