Along the Natchez Trace

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hello to Hong Kong

The ship stopped at a couple of ports in China... Shanghai and Hong Kong.  China was the most difficult country to enter/exit.  Way last summer we sent in our passports to a company that applies for visas....  not cheap.... cost $619.13 plus the UPS fee to send it to them.   This visa was mandatory for all passengers on this cruise but after talking with others in our genealogy group we found that different companies apparently charge different rates.  No matter, we were allowed to visit these places in China and that's what this trip was all about.

We arrived at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal early in the morning...
It was quite foggy but we could see the Hong Kong skyline across the bay.  And...  what the heck is that long thing that looks like an airplane?  My goodness, we're going to "park" right beside it!

We find out that this IS the port.... and the building is a very modern structure designed to look like an airplane.  This spit of land was the old airport which has now been relocated to another part of the city.  Look back at the photo as we're coming into port...
See the trees on top of the building?

The whole top of the terminal has been made into a park.  Not just a little postage stamp size park, but a gorgeous, well landscaped area with lots of paved walks, beautiful flowers and shrubs and various sculptures relating to airplanes and the old airstrip.

The building itself is huge...
Not only does it house areas for Customs and Immigration...  and a visitor information center...  and a huge area with seating for folks to use the free internet, but it also has an up-scale shopping center with places that sell Gucci, Rolex, perfumes, cosmetics, handbags, very expensive clothing and... even a wine shop.  We were permitted to each take a 1 liter bottle of wine aboard and so we bought some of the cheapest wine they had...  about $15 a bottle...  but still a far cry from what the ship charged for their wine at dinner!

One thing I wanted was to find at least one geocache in each country we visited.  With the internet being what it was, that wasn't an easy thing to do.  We did find a few in Hong Kong, but I don't think that these days this is actually China.  We found several caches around that park and in the park that surrounds the outside of the terminal, but they all just say "Hong Kong"...  not Hong Kong, China.  Guess I'm going to have to check my Asian history again.

I'll write a bit about the internet here...  it's not that these countries don't have the latest and best technology...  part of the problem was that the ship just didn't have adequate satellite service installed, and part of the problem was that the ship had over 3,500 passengers.  When we docked I have no idea how many folks rushed to the dock terminals to use their service, but can say that the huge rooms where internet was available would be packed with folks like us wanting to get on line.  No wonder we'd get knocked off line or not even be able to log on.

You could see in the topmost photo the skyline of Hong Kong...  I don't have the figures to tell you how many millions of people live here.  But it's a very "vertical" city...  tall... very tall... buildings, many of them housing.
I cannot imagine living here.....  
But it's obvious that an effort is made to provide some "green"...
If you don't have space on the ground, create your greenspace where you can!

Shopping seems to be the biggest pastime no matter where we're at.  The big thing here in Hong Kong is to go to the malls...
Huge Malls!
Malls as many as 7 stories high.  Looking down from the escalator into the huge atrium at all the Christmas decorations was dizzying. 
Neither Bill nor I are much at shopping and I think we lasted about 20 minutes in these crowds - just long enough to buy some toothpaste - before we had had enough! 

We'd so much rather be outside...
and, as you know, we're always looking for birds...
We didn't see many here, but loved seeing this guy with the crazy mustache.
I wonder if he's related to the myna birds we've seen in nearby countries?

Tomorrow is another chapter in this latest adventure, but..
That's All For Today!


  1. Interesting trip , but like you cities and malls are not for us country folk.

  2. No, I couldn't live there either. My heart was thumping loudly before I reached the last picture.

  3. I'm thinking that bird is related to Groucho Marx. ;)

  4. The density of people in Hong Kong might drive me nuts like malls do, after about 20 minutes.