On Saturday, we took a tour of Hong Kong Island. It was really a tour that first time visitors would do, but we haven’t seen many of the places on the tour for some years and it suited us to see them again without having to exert a lot of effort.
The weather is still very cloudy / foggy and for most of the day, the view across the harbour is as if you were looking through a set of scrim curtains. It doesn’t clear much at all and even with a bit of a breeze yesterday this fog still seemed to just hang around.
The first stop was at Victoria Peak, from where you can see that rather stunning view of Hong Kong Harbour. Over the years, the park has been heavily modified. What once you to be a simple lookout area and a little building that formed the terminus of the funicular and a kiosk, there is now a grand multi story building and shopping arcade. On a clear day, the view from here is quite incredible and you could see right over to the old airport (that is now being redeveloped into a shipping terminal and apartment complex). Today it wasn’t so good but it was still impressive
The tour continued on to Aberdeen where the harbour behind the typhoon shelter houses a large fleet of marine craft. This is also a place that is experiencing change. Once, it was the home of a large fishing fleet but many of the current generation do not want to engage in the laborious work of fishing. The fishing fleet now occupies only a small part of the harbour. Most of it is now taken up with moorings where large multi-million dollar yachts and pleasure craft are kept. We chortled around the harbour on an old, but well cared for bum boat. The driver was a retired fisherman who only knew two words of English – “Pay Money” which he uttered as we were 50 metres, or so from the dock at the end of our little trip. I assume that without paying money, we might have finished the last part of the tour by swimming!
The tour then ended with some shopping time. I guess that retail therapy is necessary for everyone! We visited a very plain building in an industrial area that, while very ugly on the outside, housed a very elaborate jewellery business on the inside. This was the famous ‘stop at the jewellery factory’ part of the tour. From there we had a stop at Stanley Market which was originally established by soldiers selling second-hand gear from the nearby fort. Now, the market houses hundreds of little stores selling all the normal tourist junk from clothes, souvenirs to electronics.
We added to that experience by including one of our own during the last part of the day by walking through the Ocean Centre which houses over half a kilometre of shops on three levels along the terminal area where the Chines gambling ships come in. The Chinese are intrepid gamblers and the only legal places to do that in Hong Kong are at the Hong Kong Jockey Club (Horse racing) or on an overnight cruise in a ship with a casino that sails out into international waters.