Well, where to start?! This has been a most memorable year for me, not least with moving to New Zealand! I decided to throw caution to the wind and go to Hong Kong to spend Christmas with my sister Rachel (oh and Jessica!!) – Poor Rachel…I think jessica may have got more of my attention the my “real” sister…hehe anyways, Sunday after I arrived saw the real start of events at Ocean Park. The three of us headed there mid morning after a nice breakfast =P
First thing I saw were the Panda’s and a first time for seeing them so close in the flesh too! It’s such an amazing thing to see animals of this ilk, in this day and age of increasing extinctions!
After a morning wander around the first half of Ocean Park; Rachel excused herself to go and visit a friend called Dilly who had just given birth to a baby girl called “Zanzi”, leaving Jessica and I the rest of the day to explore Ocean Park. This of course involved my first “REAL” cable car ride that challenged my vertigo:-
Anyways; before that AND just before Rachel dissappeared we managed to see some baby Dolphins (youngest only a couple of months old!) showing off in the Dolphin University…
Just goes to show, you don’t have to be that old to show what you are made of! So, we head over the cable-car to the other side of the island and the other half of Ocean Park. for you lot in the UK if you thought Alton Towers is big, then think again! We took in some of the aquariums and I must admit, though not the largest in the world, certainly the largest I have ever seen, spanning more than three floors! On this trip I think we even located Nemo’s family :-
Of course if that wasn’t enough, Jessica even MADE me face my fear of Jelly Fish:-
All of this and on my first day in Hong Kong too! Of Course on the other side of the island we saw how the grown up Dolphins do it, with the Sea-lions (ooooh that sounded kinda naughty?!) :-
The day wound down to the climax of the Christmas light ceremony, before we headed back to meet Rachel, which involved desending four long escalators down the side of the hill (which is pretty high ok!!!) and takes 25 mins to get from top to bottom; yes I timed it sad but true…
This pretty much signalled the close of events for us at Ocean Park as we needed to catch the last Cable Car back, whilst waiting for Rachel, Jessica and I munched on some Squid; who needs burgers and hot dogs!! meh…
Anyways, I may have mentioned Dilly who had just given birth. Hospitals in Hong Kong are a little different than back in the UK, for example; the interior is decked out like a 5 star hotel, and if you are in the maternity ward – your view is like this:-
The following day – CHRISTMAS EVE – Rachel suggests we go for a walk. This turns out to be a 2 hour hike up to the peak of Mount Butler (1440ft high) unfortunatley I didn’t take my camera, but will grab some photo’s of rachel as soon as I can to prove to you the Vertigo popping views! This beats the normal touristy Peak hands down, and i am so proud we did it! There are a number of walks you can do on Mount Butler but the one we took, involved a set of steps amiably called “Jacobs Ladder” which is 500 steps in succession, NICE! If anyone wants to see a side of Hong Kong that most tourists miss, then I recommend this to all…
In the evening, we popped round to Lisa (one of Rachel’s best mates) and Dan’s to experience a belated “Thanksgiving” roast since these guys are American (but don’t hold that against em) – cos these guys are cool!! I in my red wine fuelled and predictable way bopped the night away, you may track some pictures of this down on Facebook if you are interested to do so…
Christmas Day saw us heading to Top Deck, the most famous floating restaurant in Hong Kong, if not the world!! This involved free flowing champagne all afternoon until about 4pm, lots of amazing food and Rachel’s singing!!!!
See?! I guess I’m not the only musical sibling in the family after all eh?
The view of the harbour from Top Deck looks like this:-
And to finish my speil about Christmas Day, here’s a nice photo of my sister Rachel and Jessica (MY OTHER SISTER =P) :-
There’s not “much” else to tell about the trip other than we chilled out a lot, and drank A LOT in the first half of the week, towards the end we just shopped in Stanley and explored Lantau Island a bit.
On my penultimate night we took in the cinema and I saw “The Golden Compass” which I had been waiting ages to see!!! First impression is that it was a good adaptation of the book, despite a rather weak ending where it moves slightly away from the books ending (which in my opinion would have offered a greater cliff hang for the next installment anyways!!)…
On my last day we headed back to Stanley to do some last minute shopping, and then chilled out on the beach at Big Wave Bay, a little further round the coast from Stanley; I dozed off…. I got sunburned…. I still am…..
What can I say? A top Christmas indeed. I’ll hopefully upload a few more images of my experiences soon. Though this lot should keep you picture hungry lot going for the time being?!
Oh and in other news – YES – I start training in the New Year, to have a go at some “half” marathon running, first the Wellington Half-Marathon, and (leave and finance willing) the Macau Half-Marathon so watch this space for my progress towards this too!