We received a travel voucher for a 4 day free stay in HK when we attended a travel talk last year. We decided to make full use of it since Mike has never been to HK. I was there for work in 1989 but other than hotel, conference room and restaurants, I didn’t see much. Despite touting to us as free, we still needed to pay a S$200 administeration charge and S$90 airport transfer.
We arrived to HK during its coldest winter, a mere 15 deg. We were picked up by a Mercedez from the airport pickup service. In the car, we were worried about tips as we did not have any small change but luckily, Planet Traveller Guide told us that other than porters, no tip is necessary.
Our service apartment, Gold Coast Resorts, is about 20 mins from the airport and located in New Territory, which we did not know where at that time. It had a yatch club and a small mall located in the estate. We were later told that Ng Teng Fong (Far East Organisation) was a co-developer. These high rise condos were built with much controversy because they block the wind and the view to the houses nestled in the hills behind. Thus, there is a banner denouncing the building of high rise building in that area.
There was supposed to be a marketing talk for us but due to some miscommunication, we were spared the talk. I think they know we are not the right candidate who would even think of purchasing or renting the unit.
There is a shuttle bus to take us to TsimShaTsui or nearest MTR QuanWan station every hour (HK$35pax). Every morning, we would walk to the mall to catch the shuttle, except for one night, we missed the bus to get back and decided to catch a train to Quanwan, and had to pay another HK$103 for taxi to get us home.
Prior to our trip to HK, my aunt E, who was there last year, gave me some errands to run. One was to buy her body lotion which is not sold in Singapore. We managed to buy them at Mannings (Guardians equivalent). So I was lugging seven bottles of body lotion in my backpack all around HK from morning to night, a back breaking task. Another task was to send her cheongsum to a tailor in Mongkok. We located the building
easily, thanks to a helpful man who approached me to help when he saw me trying to navigate my map. Would you have expected something like that to happen in HK?
During the two full-day there, we also caught up with our friend from NUS who had emigrated there to work. Why would she want to work there? Because as a trader, she works for only four hours, 10am – 4pm, with a two-hour lunch break, leaving her with plenty of time for recreation, something that would be impossible in Singapore.
She is a staunch Buddhist and took us to our only tim sum in HK, a vegetarian restaurant. Needless to say, it just wasn’t the same not eating braised chicken feet 凤爪 and pork ribs in black bean sauce when eating tim sum.
Aunt E also wanted me to check out the Farragamo shoes there. As we walked along Canton Street, we noticed queues outside the branded shops like Chanel. Oh! They restrict numbers going in, so one would have to wait for your turn to enter. Wow, so good business meh?
Luckily, there was no queue in Farragamo. We went in and was greeted by a blast of warm air from the heater. I searched through my backpack for the elusive piece of email containing the model, colour and price of the shoes she wanted, while the salesmen hovered besides me, probably wondering which village from China I was from. I’m being unfair. They were very professional and knew from our English that we were from Singapore. They took a look at my email and pointed to the shoes displayed. My human calculator was abit slow that day and the salesmen quickly calculated the Singapore price for me. Aaron worked out the sum finally and suddenly exclaimed, $660 for a pair of shoes? We did not buy it since it was the same price as Singapore.
I had been having bad hair days while there and I also did not fancy washing my air in the cold. So while Mike and Aaron waited for me at a dessert cafe in Temple Street 女子街, I found a hairdresser with reasonable price (HK$58 for wash and blow) and a handsome stylist as well.
So, other than these, we managed to squeeze in two tourist sites Mike wanted to photograph. Victoria peak was hazy and crowded with people. Aaron and I went to Madam Tussuad located at the peak. We also managed to watch the light shows at the harbour, something we enjoyed very much.
Our main aim was to feast in HK and I’d say we found some pretty good restaurants/cafes/茶餐厅 just by chance, which I shall write about in another blog.