Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Last Post

Thursday 4th November 2010

Our last morning began with a bang! Literally. John went to switch the light on at the washbasin and it exploded. Neither of us was hurt and the hotel staff were most concerned and cleaned it up immediately. Not an auspicious start to the day.

We had arranged a late check out at the hotel so were able to enjoy the morning in the sun on the roof terrace. Donnie even braved the pool. Real bravery as it was only 12 degrees. Hope the video clip with the sound effects comes out! In the afternoon we did last minute shopping. I wanted to take home ginger.  It's £1.50 a kilo in Hong Kong and £9.50 in Tesco! We then treated ourselves to a last massage. Although we had to check out by 3pm they very kindly allowed us to stay on the roof terrace until our transport at 6pm.

We got home at 12.30 today  - 26 and a half hours after we set off from our hotel in Hong Kong. We had 90 minutes on the plane in Bangkok for a brief stopover. I was disappointed that we couldn't get off the plane as I was hoping to buy orchids in the Duty Free shop. We then had a couple of hours in Dubai when we changed planes to fly direct to Glasgow. As least we were able to take advantage of the Duty Free shopping there. It is a huge area. It seemed a long slow flight back. Cath drew the short straw and had children beside her who took it in turns to scream for most of the way.

Now we're home and have plenty time to reflect on the whole trip. We have loads  of photos and the dvd to jog our memories and make us smile for a long time to come. I am so pleased that John was finally able to live the dream he has had since he was a boy. All four of us appreciate how lucky we are to be able to have had such a wonderful experience. Everything went just as planned and John and I both enjoyed sharing our exciting adventure with such good friends.

Where to next? We have ideas and hope that we will have more adventures while we are still able to enjoy them.

I hope you have enjoyed reading the blog. It has been a challenge for me but now that I'm not working it's one I have relished. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Last Full Day

2nd November 2010

We had another leisurely start on this our last full day. It was Cath's turn to be not well so she decided to chill out here. the 3 of us went to the flower market which was a wonderful riot of colour. It was only 11am when we got there and I stupidly bought Jenny something that I had to lug aroung all day. Hope you like it Jen.

We then went to the bird market. I had forgotten how sad it is. I did take video of tiny cages filled with masses of beautifully coloured birds.

The plain and dowdy sparrows were hopping around. I wonder what they were chirping to the pretty birds crammed in their cages. The most awful sight that I don't remember from our last time there was bags of live crickets being sold as bird food. It just turned my stomach.

We love to hear them in France. There were also tanks full of them, presumably waiting to be bagged. I fear that will be the focus of my dreams tonight.

We then had a walk in Kowloon Park and admired all the sculptures, most of which are bronze.

 It was very hot walking around in the sun so - 3 guesses what we needed! Hong Kong, like China, is far more a gambling culture so bars are few and far between. We gave up and were heading for the Star Ferry when we spotted a bar. It looked very upmarket but after all we are clebs! 3 large beers were $HK200! (£16!!!) Ouch. We enjoyed them.

I am having a Chinese style blouse made and had a fitting this afternoon so we called in there on the way back to the hotel. Cath was feeling lonely and fed up by then. At least she had the use of my netbook and the benefit of sun on the roof terrace until early afternoon.

Just back. Canapes and drinks in the Sky Bar then dinner in the hotel. In ways it would have been nice to have had a real chinese meal somewhere but the hotel was good and convenient. Happy hour in the lobby bar was the perfect sociable end.

Tomorrow will be a strange day. I will post one last blog when we get home just to round this off.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Stanley and Macau

1st November 2010w
Early breakfast then the guys set off for Macau.

Cath and I set off for Stanley market. We wanted a bit more of a brouse than male tolerance would allow on Saturday. Success. Wandered. Browsed. Bought. Doubt if Chloe will see this blog but just in case I wont detail our brill brill buy for her for Christmas. Delighted. It's just fantastic. She'll love it.

We had a lovely girly day. Drinks on the terrace. Cath and I were enjoying our drinks when this very loud American woman spoke/shouted/deafened us. She was part of a tour and had travelled fairly extensevly. I know she was just being friendly but Cath and I were quite enjoying quiet time on our own. She and husband had been to the UK a few years ago so we had to hear all about that. She wanted to know where Cath and I had learnt our English! Had we learnt it at school! We were more than a smidgeon confused but it turned out that she meant our very pc Queen's English. I think not! I said to her that we considered ourselves to have an educated Scots accent. It's true. I would love to think I had an educated Scots accent. It's just so..... everything I would love it to be.

Showers before the guys came back then canapes etc. That was disappointing. Too many people encroaching on what we had come to view as our private space. Would be lovely if they were only staying one night but doubt that.

As the guys were so late back we decided to have dinner in the hotel. It was a buffet and was just perfect. Given all the free canapes we had already gorged on we actually didn't need a full buffet dinner. Nevertheless it was lovely. When we had finished dinner we discovered the lobby bar was still doing a 2 for 1. Gosh! Quelle surprise! 2 bottles of good red wine for 200 Hong Kong dollars - £16. This was such a real treat for us. Not that we like wine! We all thoroughly enjoyed our wine in the posh hotel lobby bar.

Now posting this late at night. Scary that we only have one more night here. Can't believe this wonderful trip is nearly over. Because most of the Blog has been by email proxy courtesy of Graham we're really looking forward to reading it and reliving all the memories.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Down time

31st October 2010

It's been a different kind of day for us. We had a leisurely start with a super breakfast. I'm amazed at my will power. It's too easy to eat too much when it's all lovely and included in the room rate.

We headed off out with our shopping list of electronics, hoping for real bargains. No. The days of really cheap cameras etc are long gone. Having been unsuccessful we took a tram to its terminus and back again then back to the hotel to chill. Cath and I had discovered a massage place just beside the hotel with prices that made it a definite "had to have". The guys did their own thing while we went for massages. Cath had an aromatherapy one while I had reflexology. Mine cost £9.50 and was just wonderful. At one point early on I nearly yelped in pain but it was just fantastic afterwards. The power these tiny girls have in their hands is unbelievable. Think we'll have to go back tomorrow - just to make sure that neither of us was exaggerating how good it was!

After that it was up to the roof terrace for a drink by the pool. The guys were already well settled by the time we got there. Because of the high buildings there was not actually a lot of sun but it was really nice relaxing anyway. Holidays are such hard work!

Early drinks and canapes then off out.

We wanted to take the Star Ferry at night so did that then walked down Nathan Road. That's where the visual and commercial action is at night.
We had a really nice inexpensive meal in a restaurant full of Chinese people. It was interesting that most of them were eating steaks and we being the only westerners were eating chinese.

This is the end of another lovely day. Time is going way too quickly.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stanley Market

Saturday 30th October 2010.

Happy Birthday Aunty Jane! We're thinking of you enjoying Rome as we enjoy our day in Hong Kong.

After breakfast John and I headed off to find a tailor to make me a Chinese style top. We didn't find one locally so decided to return to the place where I had my cheong sam made all these years ago. Surprisingly enough we eventually found it. Still in business 13 years later. Prices had gone up but we knew the quality we would get. Chose, ordered and had measurements taken. I go back for a fitting on Tuesday and they will post the top to me at home.

We then met Donnie and Cath at the bus station for the trip to Stanley Market. What can I say? Christmas shopping done and John and I are still speaking! My Christmas shopping trip with Aunty Jane will be rather one sided this year. The perks however will be well and truly shared!

There was apparently a rugby international between Australia and New Zealand taking place in Hong Kong today so traffic was exceptionally bad. We had wondered about going out tonight to see the Star Ferry and Nathan Road at night but decided to leave that until tomorrow. Free drinks and considerable canapes may be the extent of our intake tonight.

Our days are so full that I'm struggling to find the time to text you girls. Thank you for the comments on the blog that we can at last read.

Donnie's Birthday

John's better today. Birthday Boy is in good spirits and pleased with his cards. We had a leisurely start and a lovely breakfast. It was a good clear morning so we decided to head for The Peak. John and I have been up before on both occasions when we have been to Hong Kong. We have never been lucky enough to have good visibility but today was perfect. We took the bus because it has far better views than the tram. It was spectacular.

We lingered for quite a while then felt, after all the exertions of the escalators, we deserved a beer!

We then headed for the Star Ferry. It was clearly a "must do" for Donnie and Cath. By the time we got back to the hotel it was way later than we had expected. All we had time for was a quick in and out of the shower before complementary drinks and canapes. I had bought Donnie one of these tiny 60th birthday cakes that one can buy in the card shops and had taken candles and matches. I produced it while we were in the Sky Lounge and we sang to him.
This of course flagged it up with the management. While we were finishing our drinks the staff brought a big cake with candles and everyone in the lounge sang Happy Birthday to him. Good move on the embarrassment front! Unknown to Donnie we had booked dinner on the Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen Harbour. We ordered a taxi and we're soooo glad.
He was delighted and the whole experience was every bit as good as we had remembered. It was a truly memorable 60th birthday. We were not late back at the hotel, in time for a nightcap.

The End Of The Line

Thursday 28th October 2010

We all slept ok but it was John's turn for the runny tummy. We arrived in Guang Zhou just after 11am and after more charades we managed to get 2 taxis to take us to Guang Zhu Dong where we were to get the train for the final leg of our journey. Lady Luck smiled on us. There was a train leaving for Hung Hom in less than 2 hours. Having got our tickets we went for lunch -our first Kentucky Fried Chicken. None of us had ever had one anywhere so didn't know what to expect. There was nothing in English so we just pointed at a picture without knowing what we were ordering. It was really good. Spicy but good. John passed on all food or liquid intake and the 3 of us had our fill for less than 8 GBP. Value!

The train to Hung Hom was only 2 hours. We all felt full of anticipation and a sense of achievement.
Taxis again to our hotel. Everything just keeps getting better. We chose our hotel so well. It is real luxury, even better than Chong Qing. We went for upgraded rooms with a harbour view. We really do have a full view of the harbour with floor to ceiling windows.

Our room also gives us eligibility to the sky lounge where there is unlimited tea, coffee and soft drinks all day. In the evening from 5.30 till 7.30 there are free drinks and canapes. Needless to say we are taking full advantage of it. What a fantastic way to end a fantastic trip.