Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hongkong Getaway 2008

Multiply blog
April 2008

We've just concluded our summer get-away.  This year's very special because we spent it out of the country--the kids' first time ever.  We booked economy but Lady Luck smiled upon my kids. PAL overbooked for Hong Kong in their 8 am flight that day, and a lady flight attendant approached us with quite a sumptuous offer: should we agree to be bumped off to take the 2 pm flight on the same day, we'd be given free roundtrip ticket each to Hong Kong plus 3,000 bucks ( I dunno if per pax) consummable any time after.  But my hubby declined it because we already had a tight schedule planned on budget.  So the lovely stewardess moved on to the next prospect.  

We checked in our luggage and got our boarding passes, proceeded to the departure area to wait for the boarding call.  Not too long after that, we heard our names being paged at the information counter.  We went there worrying there might be a problem with our flight after all, but we all heaved sighs of relief when we found out why:  we were being moved up to business class to give room to others in the economy.  Really wow!  The kids were ecstatic: imagine, first time out of the country in business class, a real treat indeed!

Once in Hong Kong Airport, a middle-aged, good-humored Chinese tour guide who could speak just-about-good English came to pick us up, boarded us all in a travel agency's bus and drove us to the hotel. After receiving instructions for the next day's tour, we went up to our rooms, unpacked and rested.  Found a diner just across the hotel.  First pick of the day--roasted duck.  Yummy!  

Spent the next day in Disneyland.  Got aching feet with all the walking, but enjoyed sight-seeing.  The highlighter for me was the Space Mountain ride.  Dark, scary, thrilling--I screamed my lungs off.  Held Ken by the wrist lest I lose him although I knew we were safely buckled up.  

The Winnie-the-Pooh ride was delightful.  I became a child once again (Well, I never had such rides when I was a kid).  The Interactive Ride was also sooo, sooo fun--I got to laser-shoot at bull's eyes hung all over the place; I  earned a fairly good score.

The Jungle River Cruise was fine.  We didn't get wet like I did in the US version.  The Railroad Train gave us the chance to get some rest while viewing the whole site, although we had to peep hard through lush greens.  They should have placed the tall trees behind the railroad tracks so riders could have an open view of the whole place.  

The High School Musical Show which he kids were eager to see came late in the afternoon. It was fantastic. Some dancers are definitely Pinoys, so are many of the crew around.  The Lion King show was also very spectacular! Really awesome!!! 

The best treat ever, though, was the 20-minute fireworks display at half-past-seven. Everybody gathered in front of the castle, sitting on the pavement or standing up. We all waited patiently for the moment.  It was the culmination of the day, a flabbergasting send-off to Disney visitors. Super awesome!!!  

We went home happy but my kids wished there were more exciting things to do, something more than the Space Mountain.  They're already teens, I must always remember.  Kiddie stuffs are ho-hums for them now. 

Next day we went on  a cross-border train to take a city tour of Shen zhen, a special economic zone of China.  Nothing much except we learned that it was a fairly new city, that the housing there was less expensive than in Hong Kong that is why a number of Hong Kong Chinese buy dwellings there and keep their businesses in Hong Kong.  The Hong Kong Chinese made prices of housing in Shen zhen go up a little, which the ordinary Shen zhen Chinese could hardly afford.
There is a park in Shenzhen that houses the miniature versions of famous landmarks of various countries--the Louvre, the Coliseum, the Eiffel Tower,  the pyramids and many more.  Its concept resembles that of the Nayong Pilipino of the Philippines, except for the global theme.

The following day we spent whole day at Ocean Park.  We found lots of exciting places to go there.    The Shark Aquarium was superb-- all kinds of fish and sharks, and manta rays, too!  All swimming over and right in front of you! An excellent under-the-sea experience for the non-scuba divers.

The sea lions/dolphin shows were good. Just like the one we saw in Subic's Ocean Adventure show which I liked much better.  Because that was Pinoy.  I couldn't really understand Chinese.  I clapped when others did.  But hte dolphins and sea lions were delightful.

I liked the cable car rides most especially.  We had three takes.  Really top-of-the world experience.  The boys lined up for the roller coaster ride with the three loops (!!!).  After Space Mountain, no more daring rides for me. 

There were more sights to enjoy and areas to go to but we had little time left to get back to the hotel and pack up for home.  Besides, those were the kiddie stuffs we could skip anytime.  We took the double-decker bus this time instead of the travel agency's bus, then we took the MTR (Pinoy's MRT) and walked  some blocks to get to the hotel.

Hong Kong roads are in much better condition compared to the Philippines' multi-million peso roads.  They have better fly-overs.  High-rise buildings are all around.  Even the residential buildings which looked like tenements. They are already very expensive condominiums by Philippine standards, but for Hong Kong those are regular.  But each unit must have been small.  Space is very expensive in Hong Kong, I've learned. 

If you're planning to go to Hong Kong for the first time, especially for a short visit like we had, my advice: Wear comfy sneakers or rubber shoes with soft socks.  Never try heels (like I did at the Ocean Park!)  At this time of year, it gets too cold in the morning but gets warm to hot during the day, so wear light clothes.  You can wear sexy during the day, spaghettis, sleeveless, etc. But bring jackets/ sweaters to keep your shoulders warm late in the afternoon when it gets cold again.  Don't forget to bring hats (bullcaps, wide-rimmed, bonnets, etc.).  I don't think I'd seen anyone using umbrellas there. It's too cumbersome anyway; you'll need free hands.  Just take with you a small/light  shoulder bag for your essentials. Bring extra batteries and large-memory  cards for your cameras as you'd want to just click away to preserve memories of the breath-taking views.  Load up on water.  You can bring your own baon (snacks/meals) as they are mighty expensive in the amusement parks.  You can sit anywhere and eat.  Nobody cares. 

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