Hong Kong and Australia 2003

Last update January 27th 2004

July 19th and 20th 30 C

The day started well enough, sunshine and blue skies. The previous evening I saw on BBC teletext that British Airways staff at Heathrow's Terminal 1 went on a wild strike. By late evening however, signs were that all would be OK for the very busy holiday weekend. Saturday morning BA's website showed two cancelled flights in the morning and normal operations later that day. However, by noon our flight for London was also cancelled. A quick call to the travel agent was made and we were told to get to the airport anyway and try to get rebooked as soon as possible. Tens of people were in front of us at the BA ticket office, some accepting the offer to take the Eurostar train to London. Bad idea... By evening the international flights also were cancelled. We were lucky (sort of...) We got new tickets for the following day, flying to Hong Kong via Rome and Bangkok on SN Brussels Airlines and Thai Airlines. Instead of flying out on Saturday afternoon, is was a morning flight.

As usual in Brussels, no one asked what the electronics were in my backpack, no problems for the HF transceiver and VHF/UHF handheld... who said security was increased since September 11th?

SN Brussels airways brought us to Rome on time, we had 4 hours to spend there, enough for eat and take a look around the shops. Thai Airlines welcomed us aboard on time also but then an announcement was made that there was a problem with the cargo. 90 minutes later they gave up trying to solve this problem and we headed for Bangkok. The 90 minute delay meant we lost the connection to Hong Kong (we had just 55 minutes to change planes). Thai handled this excellent, ground crew was waiting to get us to the transfer desk where our new boarding passes were prepared already. We hurried to the gate and little later we were on our way again for the 3rd flight in less than 24 hours.

Monday July 21st 32C

Hong Kong buildingsBecause of the delay the company that was to pick us up was no longer waiting for us, this was quickly fixed and an hour later we checked in in the hotel on Kownloon. We were a day later than planned so jetlag would have to wait until later, we were going to see as much of the city as possible in this short time. First stop the waterfront and the Clock Tower for a view of Hong Kong City. We took the ferry across and walked to the Bank of China building where, from the 43rd floor, we had a good view over the city. Just behind the BoC building is Hong Kong park, a place of tranquility in this busy city.

Hong Kong panorama

One of the best places to see a panoramic view of Hong Kong is The Peak. Getting there is easy, there's a bus or (more fun) the Peak tram. In a short time we were taken up the hill and looking down over the Hong Kong skyscrapers. Once the sun begins to set it doesn't take long before it's completely dark so we waited around and took some pictures of the city lighting up. Dinner in the Hard Rock Cafe ended this (very long) day.

The Peak

Tuesday July 22nd 32C

Hong Kong Central subway station

Getting up in the morning was not easy but there was still a lot to see and do. First we needed to get the suitcases ready and put them in storage. Then we continued the sightseeing. We took the MTR (subway, an experience) across the water and changed to the bus to Aberdeen. Here people live on boats and we took a trip around the harbor on a sampan. We drove back to the MTR station and went underground to Kowloon again to the Sik Sik Yuen Won Tai Sin Temple. Besides the temple itself there's a beautiful garden.

Sik Sik Yuen Won Tai Sin Temple

Birdmarket

In the Mong Kok area there's the Yuen Po Street bird market. Many people gather here to sell, buy or just look at different species of colorful birds. We also saw bags with very large grasshoppers, as we suspected, these were used as birdfeed. As we walked back to the hotel we passed the many photo and electronic shops on Nathan Road. Just out of curiosity I asked a few prices of cameras I knew the Belgian prices of, it seems most of the stuff there costs less than half of what we had to pay at home.

Birdmarket

Traffic in Hong Kong

 

Then it was time to get on the bus to the airport, our flight on Qantas would take off at 21:00.

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