I’m off to Tokyo tomorrow. I’ll arrive late in the afternoon and will then have to brave their public transport system to find my hotel. Fun times;).
Here is what I’ve been up to the last couple of days.
On Saturday I entered China, but only got as far as the mall across from the train station. It is a whole city, not just a mall. Anybody who knows Pacific Mall in Toronto imagine it about fifteen or twenty times as big and you get an idea how big this shopping centre is. Anyway, Eve and I spent the day shopping. Lets just say I got a little carried away. Just now I tried to fit everything into my suitcase and discovered it will be a challenge;).
I should have taken pictures as we arrived, but forgot. This is the train station in China in the evening;).
On Sunday we just ambled about in the morning looking at a couple of shrines and then headed back to Mong Kok to get the last little bits I wanted to buy, including jade jewellery.
In the evening we went to the Langham Place for afternoon tea and a huge buffet, which was delicious. I also rode the longest escalator in the world up to yet another mall. Shopping is like an extreme sport over here.
Today I went to Lantau to see the massive buddha at the top of the mountain. Unfortunately the cable car was out of service, but it was a gorgeous day and the monastery was rather pretty, if very touristy.
I had a lovely meal at the monastery. It was vegetarian and it was great that for once I didn’t have to worry what I would find in my meal. They don’t allow meat on the premises, so I knew I would only find vegetables, nothing else. The majority of restaurants over here do not cater to vegetarians or people who don’t eat red meat;).
You have to walk up 206 steps to get up to the buddha. Surprisingly it wasn’t that bad. I huffed and puffed a little, but walked up the steps without too much effort. The view from up there is great.
And going down…
And one final picture of the water view from the apartment complex where I stayed.
Not sure how the internet access in Tokyo will be (or if I’ll even find my hotel), but I’ll try and share pictures once I get there.
I spent day 2 in Macau. It was rather interesting to see an area that belonged to Portugal until 1999. The Portugese influence is still very strong. I’m dead on my feet, so only a few pictures.
St Paul’s burnt down and all that is left is the facade and the stairs. It’s a huge tourist attraction as you can see by the masses of people.
Beside St Paul’s is Monte Fort. I found it interesting to see an old canon pointing at modern Macau. Next came the Church of St Dominic. After I arrived back in Hong Kong I stopped at Starbucks and had a cheese and spinach pastry, which was delicious. The Starbucks over here have amazing food from lasagne to red velvet cheese cake. I was dead tired and went to bed pretty early yesterday.
Today started with a leisurely walk at Repulse Bay and then the visit to the Kwum Yam shrine.
The Longevity Bridge, supposedly every time you cross you add three days to your life. No wonder I walked back and forth a few times;)
I met my friend after the beach and combing through Stanley Market. We headed up to Diamond Hill and the Chin Lun nunnery which has a beautiful garden. Afterwards we crossed the harbour into Kowloon and went shopping across various markets. By the time we finished my feet ached, so we sat and looked across the water to the Hong Kong skyline.
Tomorrow we’re off to Shenzen and more shopping;).
For some reason I have about 100 photos of random houses all over Hong Kong, so I decided to share;).
The air pollution levels over here are amazing. When I arrived I thought this was fog, but then I was told it is actually smog. In this day and age…
Space is so limited trees cling to steep cliffs.
I went to the tea museum on the left and then the tea house. I ordered some yellow tea. They didn’t give me a tea pot or even a strainer. Instead I poured water into the white cup and used the lid to hold back the tea leaves. The tea went into the little glass cup. It was a new way to drink tea for me;).
Hong Kong Park is a total oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. Beautifully arranged with lots of water features and places to sit.
The views from Victoria Peak are beautiful, but the trip up was an adventure. Imagine yourself in a double-decker bus driven by a Michael Schuhmacher wannabe, at the top, at the window, going along twisty-twirly roads. Sometimes there was nothing between me and the drop but clear glass. Talk about getting the heart rate up;).
That’s it for day 1. I will try and share more as and when I can.
**Warning: Total Venting-my-Frustration Rant-You may want to stop reading**
I was supposed to leave for Hong Kong today. Unfortunately my blood sugar went off the rails and my mum, who’s visiting at the moment, couldn’t wake me. She called the paramedics and they pumped me full of sugar. Neither the paramedics, my mum or my brother (who there to give me a lift to the airport) would let me get on my plane. It would have been very tight, but I could have made it. In hindsight I should have insisted because the rest of the day turned into a complete disaster.
As soon as I was coherent enough to speak and function I emailed my friend to let her know I wouldn’t arrive tomorrow. Then I began to contact Air Canada. I say began because I was on the phone to them for 4 FRICKING HOURS!! I actually read Neil Flame and the Crusader’s Curse while having the loop of AC on speaker, waiting for that member of staff that would be with me momentarily. I think the longest I was on hold was 47 minutes. I was desperate, frantic and slowly going crazy, but AC’s customer service was a complete and utter failure.
Finally, 4 hours later, 2 hours after my flight left, I contacted Flight Center. I booked my flight through them. The girl on the line was helpful enough and told me she would contact AC. (I laughed and wished her good luck.) Then she informed me that she couldn’t help me because I didn’t do the original booking with her. I had to wait for her college in British Columbia (for some reason I got an office in BC when I called), who are 3 HOURS BEHIND TORONTO, to get into the office and help me.
Believe me, at that point I was ready to tear my hair out and scream!
When I finally spoke to her she said she’d contact AC and see what was available. She said she’d call me back in 30-45 minutes. 2 HOURS LATER I called her. She was on the other line, but called me back an hour later. Tomorrow was pretty tight and she couldn’t say what kind of seat I would get. I am terrified of flying and the thought being squished in the middle for 15 hours shot my heart rate through the roof and made my palm sweaty. On Monday I could get a seat at the emergency exit, for which I paid on my original flight. Don’t get me wrong, she really did everything she could and I am grateful for her help. I just wish for fewer bumps in my road.
So now I am leaving on Monday, meaning I lose two days of my Hong Kong trip and I have to pay an extra chunk of money because of the changes. The fact that I had a medical emergency made no difference to Air Canada. Believe me, if I had an option I would not use AC ever again, but unfortunately they have the monopoly up here. The kicker is that my travel insurance said they probably wouldn’t pay for the change as no doctor was present, only paramedics. They sent me claim forms I need to fill in including a medical statement. No idea how I’ll get that filled in.
Overall today was horrible! I really, really wish I could turn back time.
I hope your day was better!