We’re on our own today and we have BIG plans. This is Gerrit’s day and it’s also “Let’s find all the Hobby Shops we can”! One of Gerrit’s Ferrari buddies has given him the name and address of several different hobby places and Gerrit’s interested in buying some airplane models that he can work on. Many of the shops are in Kowloon (north east of the port area) and we’re off to find a subway system, find out how to use it and find our way to the address we’ve carried with us for months!
The city is just alive with people and the energy is uplifting. The sights and sounds are intoxicating and it’s very easy to just “get lost” in the city. We have many first time visitors on the ship to Hong Kong and they are amazed to find that Hong Kong’s power was founded on the opium trade. Hong Kong was under the rule of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and was mainly inhabited by farmers, fishermen and pirates. The British took control in 1841 following the Opium Wars. The history of the country is vast and tumultuous and in 1997 after 156 years as a British colony it was handed to China and is officially known as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. The total package handed back to China included the mainland on the south eastern coast and about 235 islands.
Hong Kong is just amazing, it is a forest of skyscrapers and is a truly modern city and very clean. The total land area of Hong Kong is 1092 square Kilometers. When we were here in 2009 we took tours so we’re very comfortable with the city and it’s people. Much of the architecture is modern with rounded shapes (Fung Shei). The use of natural stone is evident everywhere. There are parks everywhere and usually they have a water feature present.
As soon as we reach Mong Kok it’s obvious why this area is the hobby or play area. There’s shops selling all sorts of models from Radio Controlled, to replica guns (which I really didn’t think is a good idea) and of course models galore. While Gerrit is off playing in the many stores, I tour the immediate area and discover a little gem, it’s a “ Michelin One Star Restaurant”. I put our name on the waiting list and 1.5 hours later we’re in for lunch. It was just amazing – the food was terrific and the chef himself was cooking in the kitchen. We were seated at a tiny table with 2 stools right in front of Chef cooking in the kitchen. AWESOME!! For a total of $83 HK dollars ($11US) we had a marvellous meal of Sticky rice in lotus leaf, fried noodles with soya sauce, turnip cake, mixed vegetables, vermicelli roll stuffed with BBQ Pork, steamed beef ball with bean curd skin and copious amounts of Chinese tea. It was truly worth the wait and of course we’ve now eaten at a Michelin restaurant, albeit a 1 star!
Gerrit was VERY successful in purchasing models, mostly airplane models, he’s very pleased with the quality and of course the price. We had good luck finding great market places (Ladies Market, Temple Street Night Market, Electronic Market and on day 2 the Jade market). In essence we spent the day going from market to hobby shop. Of course, when we’re overnight in a city we always try to eat all our meals off the ship and Hong Kong has the most amazing places to eat.
In the evening we found this noodle house on one of the side streets. Again the food was very tasty, good sized servings, hot and very affordable. This shop is one over from Lock Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
On Day 1 we were lucky enough to be in a prime place to see and hear the “Symphony of Laser Lights”. It was truly delightful to see the lasers and listen to the wonderful music that accompanied it. We had actually seen the lasers last time we were here but weren’t sure what it was all about as we didn’t hear the music.
Day 2 was filled with more shopping and eating. Gerrit found this incredible stationary store with pens that he’ll use for his art work and at only 1/5th of the cost that we’d pay in Toronto. He also got handy sketch pads that he can put in a pocket. These 2 shops are on Lock Rd,Tsim Sha Sui, Kowloon
It’s difficult to describe the energy this city has. The people are friendly and it’s amazing how well they speak English. When we went to find the Jade market on Day 2, we were checking our map when we got out of the underground when this man who spoke such good English approached us to ask if we needed help. Even in restaurants where Gerrit and I were the Caucasians the staff were only to willing to help us – they would show us the food where we pointed or nodded and immediately we were served great food and friendly service. The restaurants were small but clean, they were not fancy by any stretch of the imagination but we don’t go for image we go for GREAT food and that’s what we got at every place where we ate.