Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hong Kong – 10-13 Décembre 2009

Thursday 10th December

We land at around 3pm at make our way directly to the Tsim Sha Tsui area, where we have booked a room for 3 nights. 
Navigating your way around Hong Kong using the underground tube station is as easy as a walk in the park.  So after a train ride, a long walk through stations and a couple of tube rides, we arrive in about an hour.  The whole is system is so well organised, and surprisingly clean!

Our room is a match box; there are two miniature double beds, separated by a space of about 30cm, a desk with a match box TV on it, so small that we didn’t notice it until later that evening, and the shower room is the toilet, a two in one job, where you shower almost standing on top of the toilet.  We are told that this is the norm in Hong Kong, for all living quarters.

We go off to explore the area a little, especially with the aim of finding somewhere to eat, as our difficult experience in the Philippines had left us craving all sorts of lovely things to eat.  The difference in quality is shocking, but then, so is the price.  The rest of the evening is spent walking about the night market on Temple Street, where you find millions of street food stalls, antiques, gadgets and souvenirs of all kinds!

Hong Kong is one of a kind.  A city, both delightful and frightful, for already we’ve witnessed thousands of skyscrapers to make up for the lack of space and huge population, every sign is lit up at night (and there’s a lot of them) displaying what looks like almost an electrical fireworks show ... and in the middle of all this you find pagodas and temples, some more than an century old, and parks especially set up for relaxing, meditating and generally creating an atmosphere of peace.  The mix and interconnection between modernity and tradition is astounding.

Friday 11th December

We have a lay-in today, leaving the hotel late morning; we make our way to the north of Kowloon to take a walk in the enormous gardens of Nan Lian.  Inspired by traditional Chinese gardens, this park was constructed in 2003, and offers an area of serenity in the middle of the Hong Kong rush life, that could be likened to the activity of an ants nest.

From here we take the tube towards Temple Hau Wong, walk through Kowloon City park and have lunch in a little restaurant where the menus are in mandarin; we choose our meals in a picture menu J

The rest of the afternoon is spent walking around the jade market, where Celine and Renu try not to purchase the entire market.  That evening we go to see the Lights Show at Victoria Harbour, which is quite unimpressive on a cloudy evening. 

Saturday 12th December

We leave early to visit Shau Kei, an old fishing village, where there are a few shops that remind you of its past, but otherwise most houses have been here too, replaced with enormous concrete towers. 

We then try to escape a ten storey(!) shopping mall we found ourselves in (it makes you feel dizzy!),  then we have lunch in Soho (Central District) before continuing through the antiques market (which is something quite special) in Lascar Row.  We also make a short stop at Ko Shing, a street where all shops specialise in Chinese herbal medicines.

That evening, we take a dip into local life.  We visit the goldfish market, where you find hundreds of little shops selling a multitude of different species of fish in tiny plastic bags.  It all looked quite cruel to us.  It seemed that they live the same life in Hong Kong as what they had forced onto these poor fish, all cooped up, with no room to move.

After the goldfish trauma, we walk through a gigantic clothes market and then go back to Tsim Sha Tsui for dinner.  We go to a soup place, where the food is super spicy.  The lady rechecks with Celine when she orders her dish;
“Ok, so you order fry noodle with vegetable, but you like penis?”
 We answer with;
“Sorry!!! Can you repeat, we didn’t catch what you said”
The waitress looks puzzled and replies ;
“Penis, it has penis in it, you like penis?”
We look at each other in shock and disbelief.   She continues;
“You don’t like penis, you know what is penis?”
Nico, slightly agitated, replies;
“Of course she knows what’s penis!”
Celine looks at Nico disapprovingly for making her out to be ‘that kind of girl’.
Renu cannot stop giggling.
The waitress continues;
“You know, I ask if you like penis, because some people are allergic to penis”
Then it suddenly hits Nico what she means;
“Oh, PEANUTS, yes that’s fine, she eats PEANUTS, no problem!”
We laugh out loud as we wipe the sweat from our brows!

To digest the peanuts, we take a walk to the famous Clock Tower, as well as the immense, super retro-futuristic cultural centre of Hong Kong.  We finish off in an Irish pub to remind us of the good old days, before returning to our matchbox.

Sunday 13th December

It’s time to go back to the airport, where Celine makes an emergency visit to a doctor, desperately in need of an anti-biotic and pain killers to deal with rebellious tooth that decides to give her tooth ache in the middle of her holidays and only 2 weeks before her scheduled visit to the dentist!  Our plane for Hanoi takes off around 4pm.  These three days in Hong Kong have been interesting and fun, but it must be said that life in this city is exhausts you with its noise and lights.  Three days was enough, and we’re happy to leave. 

For the pictures, click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here!!!

Jeudi 10 décembre 2009 :

Nous atterrissons à Hong Kong vers 15h et traçons directement vers le Quartier Tsim Sha Tsui ou nous avons réservé une chambre pour 3 nuits.
Prendre le train et le métro à Hong Kong est un jeu d’enfants et nous arrivons à destination environ une heure plus tard.
La chambre est une boite d’allumettes : deux lits espaces de 30cm, un bureau et la douche dans les toilettes (au dessus des toilettes).
Nous filons explorer les alentours et surtout manger quelque chose car notre séjour au Philippines fut rude niveau nourriture. La différence de qualité est frappante (les prix également). Après cela nous nous dirigeons vers le marche de nuit de Temple Street, plein restaurants de rue, stands d’antiquaires et gadgets et souvenirs en tous genres.
Hong-Kong est définitivement une ville à part de ce que nous avons vu jusqu'à présent : des gratte-ciels pour palier le manque d’espace et au milieu des temples et pagodes dont certains sont vieux de plus d’un siècle. Le mélange/interconnexion entre modernité et tradition est frappant.

Vendredi 11 décembre 2009 :

Ce matin nous partons vers 11h pour aller balader dans les immenses jardins Nan Lian au nord de Kowloon. S’inspirant des jardins traditionnels chinois, ce parc fut construit en 2003 afin d’offrir un endroit calme et relaxant au milieu de la fourmilière qu’est Hong Kong. Nous y passons environ une heure avant de prendre un métro vers le temple Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin.
De la nous reprenons un métro vers le temple Hau Wong, traversons le parc de Kowloon City et mangeons dans un petit restaurant ou le menu étant en mandarin nous choisissons nos repas sur photos.
Nous passons la fin d’après midi au marche de jade ou les filles font quelques achats et le soir nous allons voir la Symphonie de Lumières à Victoria Harbour.

Samedi 12 décembre 2009 :

Nous partons tôt pour aller promener a Shau Kei Wan, ancien village de pécheurs ou quelques boutiques subsistent mais ou la plupart des maisons ont la aussi été remplacées par des immenses tours de beton. Nous prenons un aperçu furtif d’un immense centre commercial de Hong Kong (plus de 8 étages, ca donne le tournis) et déjeunons dans Soho (Central District) avant de continuer vers le marche des antiquaires (bien fourni) de Lascar Row et la rue des herboristeries (Ko Shing).
Le Soir nous allons prendre une cure de vie locale au marche des poissons rouges ou des centaines de petits magasins vendent des multitudes d’espèces de poissons dans des sacs plastique minuscules et traversons un immense marche de vêtements avant de retourner diner dans Tsim Sha Tsui et de finir par une petite marche digestive vers Clock Tower et l’immense et super retro-futuriste centre culturel de Hong Kong. Nous finissons dans un pub irlandais pour un verre avant de retourner dans notre boite d’allumettes.

Dimanche 13 décembre 2009 :

Il est temps de repartir en direction de l’aéroport ou Celine fera une petite pause médecin pour un mal de dent rebelle. Notre avion pour Hanoi décolle vers 16h. Ces trois jours a Hong Kong furent intéressants, bien remplis mais il faut le dire, la vie la bas est épuisante de bruit et de lumières…

Pour les photos c'est: la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la et la.

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