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Anniversary Trip to Hong Kong 2005 & Happy 30th Birthday Shorel!

2005-07-05_Victoria Peak2
We just got back from our anniversary vacation to Hong Kong. Every year, Sandra and I take turns planning our anniversary trip. This year, she surprised me with a trip to Hong Kong. It’s really not a big deal to get there from here. From Yichang we take a 15 hour overnight train to Guangzhou Main train station. Then, we take the subway to the Guangzhou East train station. And from there it’s an hour and a half train ride to Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Here are a few highlights from our trip. If you’d like to see more, check out this album in the gallery.

We arrived in Hong Kong on the afternoon of the July 4th, so we celebrated my (Shorel) 30th birthday with dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Dan Ryan’s. I had lasagna. The wait staff came out and sang some birthday song. They brought me a huge slice of carrot cake with cream cheese icing…it took two days to finish it.

The next day we went to Hong Kong island. I brought my GPS with me so we tracked down a geocache box (think of it as a high-tech scavenger hunt) on the island which had a number of English books that could be exchanged. We exchanged a few books and returned the box to its hiding place.

We found this fantastic Mexican restaurant called Taco Loco. I think living in California for four years made us crave good Mexican. Taco Loco fulfilled that need (we went back there again later in the week.) We found a great used bookstore (Flow) and went crazy buying used books to carry back with us. We loaded down with two large paper bags full of books.

After finishing with the used bookstore we decided to go to a nearby import store. There we were happy to discover amongst other things powdered Gatorade (bought 4 containers for bike riding) and Lever 2000 soap (bought a 16 pack). Needless to say, we drew a lot of stares in the subway with all the bags we toted back.

One of the great advantages of big cities in Asia is fast food delivery. Of course you know that Pizza Hut delivers. But did you know that in some cities McDonald’s and KFC delivers as well? And all deliver by scooter or bicycle.

We also took a day trip to Macau. There we visited the main square, a milk bar, a Portuguese restaurant, the front façade of St. Paul’s Cathedral (the rest burned down) and the old fortress.

We sampled some of the famous Macau almond cookies.

We declined trying the famous Macau jerky however.

Back in Hong Kong, the next day, I wanted to take Sandra to a scrapbooking store that I had found online. The address led us to one of the tallest skyscrapers on Hong Kong island. When we entered the titanium elevator and found ourselves watching a huge flatscreen TV above us, Sandra commented that we might not be able to afford whatever they’re selling in this scrapbooking store. It turned out that the address was for the corporate office. So we’ll try to track down the actual store on our next visit.

Later on in the week we had a chance to explore some of the touristy streets of Hong Kong.

Goldfish Street…where you can find USD$1000 goldfish amongst a myriad of other fish and aquatic animals.

Bird street…thousands of birds and oriental cages. This man is watching two birds carefully in order to decide which one is worthy to buy.

The Jade market…hundreds of small stalls of all sorts of shaped and unshaped Jade.

The flower market…thousands of different types of flowers, potted and not. A sea of flowers down one small street.

Of course, Hong Kong has plenty of camera and gadget shops…but we didn’t spend much time in those. We did go into a Chinese clothes store once to try on some of the expensive Chinese shirts there. Sandra even got a few pictures of them to have our tailor make back in Yichang…for considerably less.

Of course, we did plenty more in Hong Kong and felt refreshed after the vacation, which was the goal. I’m not sure how refreshed we were after traveling back to Yichang by train however. Our rolling duffel bag weighed some 80 pounds (mostly books and western food). I was carrying a huge box with a bicycle in it (it was light, but awkward to carry). Getting through the mob of a train station to get onto our train in Guangzhou was a fun (and hopefully not to be repeated) experience.

We managed to make it onto the train alright. I had to straddle the bicycle box between the luggage rack and part of the upper bed berth. It looked odd, but it worked. We made it back to our apartment alright (managing to cram the box into a small taxi) and crashed for a good nap.

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