know a few people who have moved from Hong Kong to Shanghai and now I can say I understand their grief a lot better. IT ROCKS! IT ROLLS! It is breathtakingly expensive; it is for the elite; it makes no apologies. I am underdressed and I am trying my hardest. But no matter. There is not the apparel disdain of Paris. In short, Hong Kong is an Expat Princess’s Holy Land. Think Rio without the dirt and crime, way better shopping, and a finely tuned infrastructure. Think San Francisco and Vancouver but with a lot more Chinese people.
On the first day of the 2008 we took the Star Ferry, a rather rickety ticket, from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. Our first stop was Marks & Spencer. Disappointment. We only bought tights for Thing 3. Tights! After the Christmas glut, we had no imagination. We tried to take the Peak Tram but the line was long and laborious. Ix Nay! Then we went to Hollywood Road where we went into our very first ever Buddhist temple, the Man Mo. The Luxe Guide, a handy dandy pocket reference folio, correctly states that one will choke on the incense. Fascinating. There were a lot of freaky comparisons to Christianity beyond the incense and beyond the scope of this post. Between the skulls on the altar headdresses, offerings of roasted chickens in styrofoam containers and whole oranges, and prayers written in gold calligraphy on strips of red paper hanging from the ceiling I had a flashback to Patzcuaro, Mexico and the Church of Bonfim in Salvador, Brazil. On to the Cat St. Bazaar where Thing 2 was instantly gypped of his pocket money with fake coins. This was the fault of Mr. Understanding who convinced him they were real. As if! Good Lord. I can see that my work is cut out for me this year. The junk in the stalls was the same as in Shanghai, only more expensive.
Then we got in a cab and headed for Stanley Market which, I did not realize, was clear on the other side of the island. My last post displayed my shopping ignorance. Mr. Understanding, in all fairness, tried to dissuade me and counseled me that the trip would take at least 20 minutes. He said I would be disappointed. Did he think he was some kind of know it all? I endured the half hour cab ride with Thing 3 planted squared on my bladder and a smile on my face, emerging to dart across the road to the public squatter potties faster than a roadrunner on speed. Lunch was Humble Pie, served with a slice of crow. The cab ride, however, was totally worth it as the views were spectacular. I think we passed the Hong Kong yacht club where my grandfather was a member, albeit temporarily, but it was sort of hard to see with Thing 3’s head in the way.
Today was Child Appeasement Day at Disney. A miniature version of the real deal, we covered the park in a spectacular 4 hours. Mr. Understanding refrained from the Space Mountain ride as he was still traumatized by a kiddie roller coaster in Buenos Aires almost exactly 3 years ago. Wise choice. Climbing Tarzan’s treehouse today, the flashbacks continued, as I watched Thing 3 climb ahead of me in her ratty hand-me-down sweatshirt, pigtails swinging with glee. Climbing the Swiss Family Tree House in Disneyland circa 1971 a woman asked me if I was wearing a Partridge Family dress. It was a blue rayon jumper [the American word, meaning dress, not the British, meaning sweater] with the little trail of multicolored partridges marching across the bottom, a recent Christmas present. I proudly answered “Yes!” making it for sure the Happiest Place on Earth for me that day. Brand name recognition might start at an early age but Thing 3 was just as happy today.
Tomorrow it is back to try the Peak tram and to see the pandas at Ocean Park. We are going to try to squeeze in more shopping, tea at The Peninsula, and an evening harbour cruise before we leave too. This is only a vacation in the sense that we are away from the Stinky Glama Villa and the miscreant pets. This is hard core touring, folks. Somebody’s got to do it. Now, if I can just nip over to Canton Road and see if I can afford a Tod’s purse…