Our China Tour in 2006
Gene and Norma Maas
Saturday, May 6 Hong Kong
Our day started with a ferry ride to Hong Kong Island and then a bus ride up to the top of Victoria Peak for spectacular views of the harbor, islands, and the vast arrays of skyscrapers including the world’s 5th tallest building. The only disappointment was the haze which tended to obscure our view of Kowloon as we looked across the bay. On the way back, the bus took us to see the beach at Repulse Bay and then to Aberdeen where we boarded a sampan to tour the famous harbor. Our lady driver took us past the Jumbo floating restaurant and then on a circuitous route through the bay crowded with fishing trawlers, pleasure junks, and a hodge-podge of houseboats on which people live their entire lives. The disparity between the old beat-up houseboats and the modern high-rise condominiums on the hillsides behind them was quite striking.
Our day’s tour ended with the obligatory visit to a jewelry factory and store. We didn’t buy anything but we did partake in the free sandwiches and drinks. In the evening, we walked down to the Avenue of Stars on the Promenade to watch the laser light show put on every night at 8 pm. It was a beautiful evening to be out strolling about, but I was much more impressed by the lights around the Shanghai harbor.
Sunday, May 7 Hong Kong
I went out this morning for a walk through Kowloon Park which was only a block away from the hotel. This beautiful park seems to have something for everyone – various flower and botanical gardens, a maze, fish pond, bird sanctuary with flamingos and multicolored ducks, a huge swimming pool, pavilions, and areas for citizens to exercise or practice tai chi, among other things. This was one of the few times I didn't have my camera with me.
An optional tour through the eastern part of the New Territories was offered today but we declined and spent our time in the Hong Kong Museum of History. This is an interesting and well designed museum that depicts the history of Hong Kong from 400 million years ago to the return of sovereignty of the territory to China in 1997. Exhibits in eight galleries cover the Natural Environment; Prehistoric Hong Kong; Dynasties from the Han to the Qing; Folk Culture; the Opium Wars and the Cession of Hong Kong; the Birth and Early Growth of the City; Japanese Occupation; and the Modern Metropolis and Return to China.
Our day ended with a Western-style farewell dinner. James, in his usual humorous way, did a very nice job summing up all our experiences during the past 20 days.
Monday, May 8
The day we dreaded finally arrived and so at 7:45 am we boarded a van to the airport for the 12-hour flight to San Francisco and a connecting flight to Los Angeles. Since we gained back the day we lost, we arrived in LA at about the same time as we left Hong Kong, about 11:45. After collecting our baggage and a 3-hour, frustratingly long trip on the Super Shuttle, we finally arrived home about 4:15 pm.
Gene Maas 5 Jun 2006
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