Hong Kong: Typhoons, Markets & Magic

Our time in Bali was almost serene and somewhat spiritual as we immersed ourselves in observing the daily rituals that the locals performed. We reluctantly caught our shuttle to Depensar which wound us to the Cathay Pacific counters and another border exit and security check. I never mind those too much as I prefer that all passengers go through the rigorous scanning so that all are as safe as possible. We seemed to go seamlessly through check ins, check points and screening to be able to confirm our exit of Bali and entry to Hong Kong - flying time five hours. We did notice that a few flights to Hong Kong had been cancelled, but took little notice. However, as we were nearing the city we were told to sit down and strap up. and the plane began to rock. I lifted the window shades to view dark skies, lightening and lashing rain. As we seemed to drop through the sky, the lights of Hong Kong glittered and sparkled in the rain. Our next adventure had begun.

Hong Kong is a vibrant, exciting, buzzing city full of markets, people, shopping opportunities, people and nooks and crannies to explore and discover. Did I just right that? I did and after all my disclaimers that Hong Kong and Chinese would be a place and people that I couldn't relate to, I fell in love with just about everything in the city. Food, shopping malls, people.

With only three days there and a typhoon (grade 8) to deal with we dashed through squalls from one space to another. We were fortunate that we managed to sightsee through the downpours and visited some wonderful places: a cruise on Victoria Harbor, the view over the city from the Aberdeen side of the island. Stanley market where I met a calligrapher who wrote Good Luck in calligraphy with his paint brush. I had my name carved into the bottom of a chop and interacted with the locals in the stores.

Always polite and helpful the locals seem to go out of their way to welcome foreigners. This is where I took a step back and wondered how I was going to reconcile what I know the government has done to the Tibetans and the way we were treated. Not an easy thing to do and yet I loved every moment we spent in Hong Kong. The 'real' shopping malls are magnificent with only the best exclusive stores displaying their merchandise. Then of course there are the markets where you can buy YSL, Gucci and other makes, all copies of course. All for a bargain and bargain you can.

We did a night sampan sail to view the laser light show which was touristy but delightful. On our last afternoon we went to the Sky 100 building which is the 10th tallest in the world. An amazing feat of engineering where we 'met' Bruce Lee and gazed into next year from the vast windows - well we could have had there been clear skies.

Our last real meal was at a cafe which we discovered in the Harbor City Mall. Fortunately it was a franchise which serves delicious cakes, sandwiches and cappuccinos which we enjoyed at the ICC building complex - a fitting ending to a frenetic stay.

We flew out of Hong Kong at 12 midnight and landed in Johannesburg at 6 in the morning - a mere 12 hour flight. David and I almost never go to movies in South Africa - I can count on my one hand the movies we've seen together. he always says that I can watch all the movies I can manage on any flight when we go away. Which is true, but I am fortunate that I fall asleep on planes, so I don't get to see as many as I would like to. This time I watched Beauty and the Beast (don't groan - this is for grandchildren research). The Young Pope - an intriguing series with Jude Law in the lead (I would really like to discuss the series with someone) and The Man Who Knew Infinity, about the Indian mathematician - Srinivasa Ramanujan - who was invited to Cambridge and died extremely young (another film I would like to discuss).

Back home we are settling slowly back into our routine. It is rather luxurious to be back in our own bedroom and sleeping in our own bed. Today was Father's day and we were fortunate to have our whole family with us to celebrate all the dads with all their children. It's cold in Johannesburg and after the hot, hot, boiling weather we've been experiencing it's rather pleasant to pull on a cardigan to keep out the chill.

Oh, did I tell you we are off to our cottage in the Free State tomorrow morning. Just for a few days we will be really chilly and may even experience some snow. Now that will be another adventure.

As always keep well and warm. Till next time.