Wednesday, June 18, 2008

China Day 19: We Cover the Waterfront

Today's plan is a whirlwind tour of Hong Kong Island proper. We started from the bottom and will work our way up, concluding on the literal high point of Victoria Peak.

The bus here is nice and new, though it's so cold in there you could hang meat, and the humidity keeps condensing on the windows and running down them. It's really sort of refreshing in contrast to the 85/85 temp/humidity of the outside world. This is actually the farthest south Dad and I have ever been; it beats Abu Simbel by .05 minutes of latitude if I found the right numbers. That's less than a mile, though, so pretty darn close.

We drove to the dock for a ride on the famous Star Ferry.
It took practically no time; I didn't realize our hotel is all of a mile from the waterfront. Our views across the harbor were interesting:
the cloud cover is so low it's cutting off the tops of the buildings.
This is Frankie, our Hong Kong guide. The building under construction behind him is the International Commerce Centre building; when complete it will be the tallest building in Hong Kong and the fifth tallest in the world. Freddy spent a lot of time telling us how tall particular buildings were - it seems to be a point of pride!

The waterfront area had some old-world touches like this lovely clock tower:
and they are not immune from Olympic Fever here either:
Once we got on the ferry itself, (Like the blind upside-down life preserver photo?)
we sat around enjoying the breeze and the views.
The benches are cleverly designed: the back rest is hinged and flips to either side of the seat so you can face whichever way the ferry is moving at a given time. The water was pretty choppy but the ride was still comfortable. And now I can say I've crossed Victoria Harbor on the Star Ferry!
The harbor's actually a lot smaller now than it was back when they were making all those movies about the place. These days it only takes seven minutes to cross, because they've reclaimed so much land: they go out to small uninhabited islands in the China Sea, dig them up and dump the rock and dirt in Victoria Bay. Then they build a skyscraper on it!

No comments: