Chinalog IV: Ferries and Funiculars

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I was half awake when I heard m’lady puttering around.  I cracked open an eye and saw that she was dressed and ready to head out the door.

“Where you going?” I moaned sleepily.

“To get us coffees,” she said, like an angel.  

“Do you remember the Starbucks we saw last night near the 7-11?” I asked.  

“Yep,” she replied, and off she went.

It was 11am and I could have easily laid in bed for several more hours but I felt it prudent to get up and about so I could try to get in step with time on this side of the planet.  I was showered, dressed and smiling by the time she got back with two cups of brown goodness.

We left the hotel around noon-thirty and walked to the Star Ferry terminal.  For just fifty cents each we rode the ferry across the picturesque harbour, once again marvelling at the astounding array of skyscrapers on both sides of the water.

On the other side we traversed the labyrinth of raised walkways until we finally found the HSBC Building, one of the stars of last night’s light show.  When the HSBC Building was built it was the most expensive ever, construction costs for the architectural wonder soared to a billion dollars.  We went inside and rode the angled escalators up to the first level.  Underneath us was all glass, above us air.  For such an expensive project they sure sacrificed a lot of floor space to make room for their extremely open concept.  Much of the building is essentially hollow nothingness.

The HSBC Building

We searched for an antique poster shop that m’lady had read about, discovered it had moved online-only and decided to make for Victoria Peak, the pinnacle of the mountain that lines the west side of Hong Kong.  We rode the funicular up (the oldest funicular in Asia, it started in 1888), which was a gravity-defying G-force blast and spent the afternoon enjoying the astounding (yet unbelievably smoggy) view from the top.  

We explored the complex up there (we had paid extra for the Sky Terrace 428, which gave us access to the open-air top floor of the angular concrete complex, the highest elevation 360 degree views of the city, which wasn’t really worth it) and after some humming and hawing decided on eating dinner at BubbaGumps, just one floor below the rooftop terrace.  It was my first time experiencing the franchise, which I’ll rate just a millistep above the Hard Rock Cafe for food, which isn’t a great compliment, but man, the view from our window-side table was delicious.

The windows of BubbaGumps just below the rooftop of Sky Terrace 428

We lingered over an extra beer until it got dark specifically so we could enjoy the night view of the massive city.  After an appropriate number of oohs and aahs we paid the bill and got in the prodigious line to board the funicular for the ride back down.  I’m sure it would have been quicker to shun the line and walk down the mountain like many people do but I’m glad we didn’t – my legs and feet were already feeling the pressures of the day.

The night view from our table

We arrived back at the bottom just as the nightly laser/light show was going off.  It’s so not a thing that we almost didn’t notice that it was even happening, although to be fair that’s mainly because the skyscrapers are lit well before and long after the light show and they are plenty impressive on their own.  The lasers add but a smidgen to the already sense-exploding skyline.  

Notice Victoria Peak rising up in the distance

Mostly ignoring the lasers we meandered in the direction of the ferry and stopped by a wine-tasting expo on the waterfront.  We discovered that there was an admission charge so we didn’t go in which is too bad: when we got back to the room later I noticed that the flyers we had been given when we purchased our tickets for the funicular were in fact free passes to the wine fest with free drink tickets included.  Oops.  Instead I merely posed with a giant great white shark statue and we moved on, boarding the ferry to take us back across the harbour.

Finally we completed the slow plod back to our hotel and gave our gams a much-needed rest.  Along the way I toyed with the idea of a foot massage/reflexology session but was too tired to even stop for one.  It’s not like I didn’t have the opportunity; there are probably more foot massage places than restaurants in our area, and there are a lot of restaurants.  Regardless, it wasn’t yet 10pm when we made it back to the room and flopped into our rock-hard beds for the night.

All in the name of beating the jet lag.

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