Friday, February 13, 2009

HongKong: Part One of Day 2 (Feb. 6, 2009)

Our tour guide, Mr Lee from Win's Travel picked us up from our hotel at 8:25am for our HongKong city tour.

First stop was The Avenue of Stars promenade in the Tsim Sha Tsui district of Kowloon island. This long walkway near the shore is a popular tourist attraction. It features the cemented hand prints of some HongKong celebrities like Jackie Chan, Jet Li among others. It has a huge statue of the late Bruce Lee. From that vantage point, you can clearly see a picturesque view of Hongkong Island with its imposing skyscrapers and their modern architecture. It was a rather windy day with gloomy overcast skies. So my hair was all over my face, flying away.

After that rather windy encounter, we were heralded to the factory outlet of an outfit store then a stop at a jewelery shop. I believe that it is customary to include visits to stores where the tour guide will be entitled to a commission if their customers buy something from the shop. My mother and my sister bought a jade pendant and pearl set but me well I'm not into really expensive jewelry. I merely admired the shiny flashy gems and tried to ease my way out of the sales talk of the staff who can be quite pesky and aggressive in trying to convince you to buy something. But during the presentation portion, D correctly answered a question posed by the presenter so he won a loose garnet stone which is now in my possession which I can convert into a ring or an earring (since my sister gave me her garnet stone) customized to my liking.

Our next stop was the Sampan sightseeing tour in the Aberdeen area of HongKong island. It is a sampan boat ride which last for about 20 minutes. You are taken to see up close the famous Jumbo floating restaurant owned by Stanley Ho. The ride is quite refreshing as the sea breeze is crisp and cold. Plus you get a gorgeous view of the high rise condominiums dotting that specific area of HongKong. The sampan is navigated by an old woman who according to our tour guide has been doing it for several decades now. It is a life long career that is slowly losing its 'purpose' with the younger generation who all prefer to work in offices instead of steering tourists around a sampan.

It was just a half day city tour. The rest of our afternoon was spent in a "free" city tour of Macau (which was included in our package). On our way to the ferry terminal, we stopped by a midlevel viewing deck near the Peak for some breathtaking snapshots of both the Kowloon and HongKong island area. A fitting way to end our half day HongKong city tour!

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