Quick Tour on Happening Hong Kong有惊无险游香港

九龙旺角维景酒店 Metro park Hotel- Mongkok

浅水弯Repulse Bay

IFC2, the tallest building in HK.

长洲Cheung Chau Island

炸鲜蚝 Deep-fried oysters

抢包山比赛在这里进行。The marked area for the start of “scrambling for peace buns”.

三座高耸的包山与香火弥漫的神庙遥遥相对。See the height of the Bun Hills. It is even taller than the temple’s roof.

All “peace buns” were strung together with gunny strings.

演大戏,台前坐的都是上年纪的戏迷。Most of the onlookers at the front seats who watched the opera show were senior fans

新鲜出炉的平安包。Would you like to try some “peace buns” fresh out of the steamer?

Yung Kee’s famous roasted goose.

蛋心软滑 Century eggs with soft centers, beautiful tasting.

The famous roasted goose.

冬瓜盅Soup in winter melon tureen.

Dinner with Grace, Richard’s eldest sister Ivy and her family.

The Peak Tram has seats that incline 30 degree to the front.

Illuminated view from Victoria Peak.

At the Peak Tower and tram station.

由酒店出发Leaving from hotel.

Arrived at the Disney’s carpark.

The main entrance.

The Mickey’s fountain.

Tickets please.

Rode in a vintage car.

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

Visited Tarzan’s treehouse home.

Stage play of “The Lion King”.

Took a mini cruise to the jungle.

简单午餐Simple lunch.

My daughter - Cynthia shaking hands with Mickey.

花车游行 Street parade with a carnival air.

Stage play of “Golden Disney”.

烟花表演 Fireworks display.

Five ambulances were parked outside Metro Park Hotel - Wanchai where the tourist was tested positive for influenza A.

Meet our contributor Florence Tee at HK.

Quick Tour on Happening Hong Kong

By Catherine Chia

Our eldest son is twenty-two and daughter nineteen this year. As parents, we find it hard to believe they are now adults so the state of childlike obedience will be a thing of the past. All through their childhood and teenage years was a blurry scene as we were ever so busy. Our children may missed having us close at hand but we really did our best to provide them with a stable family environment despite our tight timetable.

Recently, my daughter brought up the subject of wanting to visit Disneyland Hong Kong. We thought if the family can travel together, this could be a well-balanced attitude towards family-bonding. Call this ‘compensation time’ for togetherness.

We decided to set a short break from work to visit Hong Kong. My son’s girl friend came along.

29-04-09 (Wednesday)
Our flight by Cathay Pacific was delayed from three p.m to seven p.m. It was a tiring wait at KLIA.

After a long day, we finally arrived in Hong Kong around midnight and stayed at Metro Park Hotel, Mongkok. It was a close location to the city centre. As land is so scarce, the rooms though pleasant were very small. But being in a convenient area, the hotel proves its worth.

30-04-09 (Thursday)
Spring is a beautiful time as the climate never gets really cold or hot. Temperature hovered around 16°C to 22°C.

After a nice breakfast at a café besides the hotel, the tour guide took us on a half day trip to beautiful Repulse Bay. This brought back memories when I came here some 20 years ago walking along the coast of the best known beaches.

Next, we visited the floating town of Aberdeen Fishing Village. Once, thousands and thousands of people lived on packed sampans here but most of them have been rehoused on land. We took a boat ride and it was a rewarding experience as we saw how people lived in a strange mixture of ancient traditional and modern ways.

It was close to lunchtime when we met up with Richard’s eldest sister Ivy and nephew (their family resides in Hong Kong) at Central Pier. They took us on a ferry ride to Cheung Chau Island to get a feel of rural Chinese life.

Cheung Chau Island

Hong Kong is divided into four main areas namely Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, the New Territories and the Outer Islands. More than 200 islands dot the waters around the colony and Cheung Chau lies 10 km south-west of Hong Kong.

The ferry ride took 40 minutes to shuttle across the island to the normal arrival point. There’s more to enjoy on the island as it coincided with the annual Bun Festival also known as the “Festival of The Bun Hills”. The celebration starts from the eighth day of the fourth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. This include special religious observances at Pak Tai Temple. All over the normally quiet island was a fiesta atmosphere.

These white buns with red characters of “Ping Ann(Peace)” stamped on the surfaces belonged to a ritual custom. Three high towers were constructed and fastened with ropes. Buns were stacked on the structures making a giant bun hill. The whole place gave a carnival atmosphere, a sharp contrast to the temple where worshippers came only in a handful to pray. A stage was erected for staging opera shows, witnessed by senior fans only.

As this is a major religious event, all food sold on the island had to be vegetarian. But the menu at an eatery had deep-fried oysters, mussels and other seafoods. It seemed strange so we queried the boss. He gave us a quirk answer as islanders here regard seafoods without visible eyes as vegetarian food. How strange!

After lunch, I bought some “peace buns” fresh out of the steamers. Skins tasted rather dense but came laden with fillings of either lotus paste, red beans paste or milled groundnuts. All souvenir sold here have the “peace buns” as the main theme.

Accordingly on Sunday (3-05-09) or final day of the festival, there will be a mad scramble up the Bun Hills to grasp the most number of buns within a stipulated time. Of course, the
victorious winner who obtain the most consecrated buns at the very top will receive ample good luck according to folklore. So this will be the highlight and normally crowds will spill over.

Yung Kee Restaurant
It was already early evening when we reached Hong Kong Island after the Cheung Chau trip. On reaching the Central District by foot, I noticed many white-collar workers walking very briskly and looked energetic after a full day at the office. They are really a tough breed.

Our local friend, Grace had booked a table at Yung Kee Restaurant. This classy décor place was a street away from the famous trendy pub hub area of “Lan Kwai Fong”. Yung Kee belongs to an old-school establishment.

Started in 1942 by Kam Shui Fai, roasted goose dish has remained to be their signature point. The restaurant has resisted modernization of their menu and Cantonese food remained as the main trend. Many foodies and Hong Kong gourmets have put in a word of recommendation so patrons should make reservations ahead.

We tried the first dish of an appetizer – “Century Eggs With Pickled Ginger”. The eggs have very soft centers which melt on your tongue without any piquant flavour. Pickled ginger had a sharp taste, truly a tasty pairing.

“Roasted Goose” was a rich dish laid on a bed of braised peanuts. The skin was crispy but rather fatty yet the flesh was tender. It can taste heavy eating the goose flesh on its own but was a delight when eaten with fluffy fragrant white rice.

Apart from this dish, there were other wonderful options. We were served dishes like “Soup In Wintermelon Tureen”, “Steamed Stuffed Beancurds”, “Fermented Black Beans Chilli Fresh Cuttlefish”, “Small Plants Of Nai Pak”, “Spring Rolls”, “Sweet & Sour Pork”, “Bitter Gourd Braised Goose Webs In Claypot”.

Obviously, we found this treat well worth our anticipation.

Victoria Peak
The night excursion to Victoria Peak by the Peak Tram was a good idea. Seats on the tram were a little inclined to the front at 30 degree adjustment, making it a bit akward to view the great sights. All tall skyscrapers looked peculiar angled due to the seating position.

The Peak at 552 metres above sea level stands tallest on the island. Such an illuminated view silent of cars, traffic or human voices became tranqulizing. As the peak became wreathed in cold winds, temperature took a dip.

Upon descending the Peak, we took a ride on a high-speed MTR (Mass Transit Rail) to Kowloon. After a tiring day, we slept well as tomorrow will be another big day.

Disneyland Hong Kong
1-5-09 (Friday)
Many locals kickstart their breakfast with noodles. This should be a must-try food but since we were on the run so we have no wish to look for the best stall. Apparently the soup base at this stall down the street was nothing to shout about. Each piece of wanton had two pieces of marinated prawns and chicken meat as filling. Not too bad but the wanton noodles gave out a strong alkaline taste. Very commercialized product, I was not impressed.

Disneyland Hong Kong
At 10 a.m, the coach picked us from the hotel front. After 20 minutes ride, we reached the theme park in Lantau Island, the largest of all islands in Hong Kong. This must be one of the happiest places on earth - Hong Kong Disneyland, opened in 2005.

Weather was fine with a clear blue skin, littered with white fluffy clouds. The three big kids flashed big smiles and as they radiated such happiness, Richard and I felt our spirits uplifted.

It was a public holiday on that day (Labour Day) so you can imagine the crowd’s turnout. Admission fee for a one day ticket costed HK$350 each. But the total space area was much smaller than what we had in mind.

It was divided into four zones like the “American World” of small towns and big cities. There were the “Adventurous World”, “Dream World” and “Future World”. We entered the American theme first and rode in a vintage car to visit Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

Later, we trooped into jungleland. We ride on a raft to a manmade island and visited Tarzan’s treehouse home. Next, we watched a gigantic stage play of “The Lion King”.

Before lunch, we took a mini cruise to the deep jungles for some adrenalin pumping thrillers. Everything looked so real, we were spellbound.

Took a break from the fantasy world for a midday meal and gathered for a handshaking time with Mickey Mouse. All the kids’ faces glowed and you can hear it in their voices too, they have truly enjoyed themselves.

But the heat in the afternoon around three p.m became rather oppressive. We walked the streets but there was never a dull moment as we watched parades complete with many cartoon characters, brass band shows, flower processions.

At eight p.m, there was the grand finale of fireworks display which was entertaining.

More news awaited us as we switched on the television in our hotel room. A tourist was infected with influenza A (H1N1) and all hotel staff and guests needed to be quarantine.

The name Metro Park Hotel was similar to the one we stayed in. Quickly I dialled to the broadcasting station to check. It was a relief as it was the sister hotel in Wanchai, ours was in Mongkok. I can imagine how the affected people would go all panicky.

We packed our bags as we will leave Hong Kong tomorrow. It may have been a short trip but we have enjoyed ourselves so much that we plan to come back again.