Finally our departure day has arrived. I am packed and ready to go and it is only 4pm - our flight departs at 2:20 am so still a long wait. I managed to occupy myself until time for us to leave. We picked up Cathy enroute to getting Pam & Roger at the Horseshoe Bay ferry.
Traffic to the airport was good and we were checked in and at our gate at 10:30pm. Lois arrives shortly, followed by Margaret & Caryl. Still a long wait but we chatted and before we knew it, we are on board.
The flight was good and most of us slept for a good chunk of time. We landed in Hong Kong at 6am to a beautiful clear, sunny, warm day. Customs was as efficient as always in Hong Kong and we were at our hotel, the Sheraton Hotel Towers by 8:30am. Check-in is not until 3pm so we checked our luggage with the concierge, and used the pool facilities to shower and freshen up.
Feeling much better and catching our second wind, we proceeded to the Star Ferry to cross over to Hong Kong Island and eventually make our way to Stanley Market. It seems it would be a simple task to get a ticket for the ferry and jump aboard. Nope, jet lagged minds take much longer to assimilate simple instructions and I felt like the Three Stooges all rolled into one.
All of us had large denomination Hong Kong dollars, so first plan of action is to get change, and lots of it. So each one of us purchased a coffee (badly needed by this point ), much to the chagrin of the cafe stall, and received change. Coffee 18HKD ($3) to get 4 HKD ($.80) for the ferry - not very good economics, although the coffee did hit the spot!
Next step, coax the ticket machine to produce 7 tokens & change to cling clang into the bottom of the machine. Success! 7 tokens in 7 hands and through the turnstile and on to the ferry. Rather reminiscent of the Seabus in Vancouver.
The Star Ferry is a historical ferry founded in 1888 and is now a great tourist attraction - it gives you a great perspective of the city. The ferry used to take much longer, however with so much land being reclaimed on both the Kowloon and Hong Kong Island sides, the channel is narrowing. The Hong Kongers joke that before long they will be able to walk across.
Once on the Hong Kong Island side, we walk to the bus terminal (with the odd "oops wrong turn") and the #6 Stanley bus is just about to leave. 4 HKD into the machine and we scramble up on to the top deck for our 45-60minute ride over the hills of the Island and down into Stanley. The roads are narrow two-lane streets that wind first through the frenetic business area. From here we snake up through the neighbourhoods and down the other side, past incredible homes and condos with the most amazing views. Every corner takes your breath away - sometimes due to the close calls and crazy traffic. Quite the experience! We arrive safely and make our way down to the market stalls first.
Stanley is an ex-pat community and has a very British feel to it. The Market has anything and everything, grocery stores, flower stalls, electronics, leather, linens, and ever type of clothing you can imagine. We do a brief walk through and head to the Main Street to settle down for lunch. It is getting quite warm, 28C, and we need a cool place to sit.
The Pickled Pelican tickles our fancy, has a great comfort food menu and a very persuasive waiter. Done, we climb up to the second floor for the view of the bay, oh yah, and for the air conditioning! The food was exactly what we were looking for and we lingered over lunch and great conversation. Then our bills arrive. Not too much of a surprise until those of us that ordered tea were shocked to see a simple cup of tea was 50 HKD ($9). And we were even more mift when we realized for 58 HKD we could have had a Somersby Apple cider which was delicious! A c'est la vie, lesson learned - better to drink cider than tea .
From this point forward, all purchases were based on "it was the price of 2 cups of tea". In our jet lagged addled minds this brought on great laughter each time we said it.
Retracing our steps back to the market we shopped a wee bit and then caught the #6 back to Central station and caught the Star Ferry back to Kowloon. We have had a great day, but we are slowly fading and we head back to the Sheraton for a rest until 6pm.
Some of us head up to the 17th floor for a drink and watch as the sun sets and the millions of lights come on across the harbour. Every night at 8pm the city displays a short 10minute light show coordinated to music. It was quite pretty, and then it was time to say good night.