Results tagged “Sleep” from Hong Kong and Taipei 2014

The Ambience Hotel sometimes had *ambience* in the form of a violinist playing during breakfast!
The Ambience Hotel sometimes had *ambience* in the form of a violinist playing during breakfast!

After breakfast I walked up to the Regent Hotel so I could make a "been-there" out of the opening scene in Lucy.

Statue in Linsen Park
Statue in Linsen Park

The Regent Hotel
The Regent Hotel

Me standing where Scarlett Johansson did at the beginning of Lucy.  <br/>Forty years ago yesterday that Lucy was discovered.
Me standing where Scarlett Johansson did at the beginning of Lucy.
Forty years ago yesterday that Lucy was discovered.

Street down from the Regent Hotel, seen in Lucy
Street down from the Regent Hotel, seen in Lucy

Regent Hotel entrance, as seen in Lucy
Regent Hotel entrance, as seen in Lucy

Then came back and we packed and sorted ourselves out for coming home.

We went back to the Evergreen Hotel to catch the shuttle bus to the airport.

Elevated railway outside of Taipei
Elevated railway outside of Taipei

Arrived at the airport at around 12:20, and the lady checking us in said we only had an hour turnaround in Hong Kong, and normally our ticket wouldn't allow for an earlier flight but she got approval from her supervisor and put us on a flight two hours earlier. This turned out to be brilliant because our other plane ended up being an hour late and we'd likely have missed our plane back to Australia.

Taipei airport departures hall
Taipei airport departures hall

Orchids in Taipei airport
Orchids in Taipei airport

Had lunch at the airport in Taipei before boarding. Turns out the plane was quite empty - there were only like half a dozen people in the whole back section. I played (and won) a game of p0ker.

Our lunch at Taipei airport
Our lunch at Taipei airport

This, believe it or not, is an *airbag* !!
This, believe it or not, is an *airbag* !!

A very empty plane
A very empty plane

Leaving Taiwan
Leaving Taiwan

Lunch on the plane (the opened box looked quite *blah* for a photo)
Lunch on the plane (the opened box looked quite *blah* for a photo)

I loves me any plane that has power points in the seats!
I loves me any plane that has power points in the seats!

I think the air traffic controller was playing Flight Control for our approach into Hong Kong
I think the air traffic controller was playing Flight Control for our approach into Hong Kong

Park Island, approach into Hong Kong
Park Island, approach into Hong Kong

Looking towards Hong Kong Disneyland
Looking towards Hong Kong Disneyland

Forward cam view
Forward cam view

Hong Kong airport
Hong Kong airport

Our plane from Taipei to Hong Kong - Cathay Pacific A330-300 - B-HNI
Our plane from Taipei to Hong Kong - Cathay Pacific A330-300 - B-HNI

In Hong Kong we had time to go to the Qantas club for a couple of glasses of bubbly (after we found it - I don't know if they're in a temporary spot, but there's no signage whatsoever to welcome you)..

Don't look only at your mobile phone
Don't look only at your mobile phone

Hong Kong airport
Hong Kong airport

Sunset at Hong Kong airport
Sunset at Hong Kong airport

Sunset at Hong Kong airport
Sunset at Hong Kong airport

Our plane arriving at Hong Kong airport - Qantas A330-300 - VH-QPG
Our plane arriving at Hong Kong airport - Qantas A330-300 - VH-QPG

Christmas tree in Hong Kong airport
Christmas tree in Hong Kong airport

Then the tortuous trip home. Mum cursed me with restless legs, so couldn't even sit still, let alone get any sleep :(

Can you tell the sweetie is thrilled to be on another plane?
Can you tell the sweetie is thrilled to be on another plane?

I watched Lucy first up, because "been there!". Then Blended, which I liked a lot more than I thought I would, on account of it being an Adam Sandler movie and all.

Dinner on the plane
Dinner on the plane

Then just sat there miserably for a few hours.

We flew over Manilla and Darwin which was pretty cool.

Over Manilla
Over Manilla

They turned the lights on for breakfast at 2:50. Urggghh. I could barely stomach breakfast. Far too early to be eating a full meal.

Breakfast on the plane at 3:27am
Breakfast on the plane at 3:27am

Bendigo, Victoria
Bendigo, Victoria

Got to Melbourne and had some juice in the Qantas club.

A380 landing at Tullamarine
A380 landing at Tullamarine

Then our last plane home.

Calder Park, Melbourne
Calder Park, Melbourne

Lake Hume
Lake Hume

Talbingo Reservoir
Talbingo Reservoir

Approaching Canberra
Approaching Canberra

Our last plane - Qantas 717-200 - VH-YQW
Our last plane - Qantas 717-200 - VH-YQW

Got home and mostly unpacked, then crashed for a couple of hours.

Sorted out all the various paperwork from the trip, then we had pizza for dinner (on account of no food in the house).

So a pretty good trip. The weather was certainly fantastic, if a little hot sometimes. Saw lots of cool stuff and did some hot but good hikes. And towers, always towers :)

6:30 - woke up from a dream I was on tour in outback queensland and there was complications with flooded roads and then I found the Holy Grail. Yup. But tried a different pillow and slept somewhat better.

Got up at 7:30 and we went down for breakfast at 9:15.

South-east Asia doesn't really do dairy - too many people just never got the mutation that lets people digest lactose.  This was pretty much the only cheese we saw.
South-east Asia doesn't really do dairy - too many people just never got the mutation that lets people digest lactose. This was pretty much the only cheese we saw.

At 10:00 we met two of Stu's friends from when he was studying Japanese in Japan two years ago. They brought along a friend who spoke better english, and one of the girl's dads, who became our chauffuer for the day. Yup we got driven around all day :) The drive out of Taipei was a crazy crazy mix of English, Japanese and Mandarin. Fun stuff :)

They first took us up to Jiufen, a little tourist village in the hills. We walked up the "old street" seeing lots of cool stuff, and tasting all sorts of food including taro balls, pineapple cake, peanut and ice cream rolls, bubble tea and Stu got an ice coffee.

North coast of Taiwan from Jiufen
North coast of Taiwan from Jiufen

This dude is shaving off peanut brittle onto ice cream in a wrap - sooo good!!
This dude is shaving off peanut brittle onto ice cream in a wrap - sooo good!!

The peanut brittle ice cream before being wrapped
The peanut brittle ice cream before being wrapped

The group at Jiufen
The group at Jiufen

Then the real foodie tour began. At the end of the street they took us into a "local" place (apparently the tourists don't know about it) where we had taro balls and beans on ice (I think I would have preffered them warm but they were nice enough anyway). Also a moichi cake with a radish filling which was a nice mix of sweet and savoury. I forgot to take a photo of the taro ball dish, but we had an amazing view from where we sat.

View from lunch
View from lunch

Then we dropped in to see the old Shengping movie theatre which used to entertain the gold miners.

Lanterns in Jiufen Old Street
Lanterns in Jiufen Old Street

Entrance to ShengPing Theatre
Entrance to ShengPing Theatre

Restored ShengPing Theatre interior
Restored ShengPing Theatre interior

Announcing a movie - or something - we don't actually know what!
Announcing a movie - or something - we don't actually know what!

Next foodie stop we had these jelly meatballs which had a jelly coating around some meat. Also a rice cake which was quite nice.

Rice cake and jelly meatballs
Rice cake and jelly meatballs

And finally another place that did fish balls, which had four different things in it.

Fish balls
Fish balls

All three restaurants were those crazy places that are always super crowded, but they specialise in one thing and it's super quick service so you're in and out quite quickly so doesn't take too long to get a table of six free. Otherwise you just join some other people until they're done and leave heh.

After that we were quite full, and then we went down to the Gold Ecological Park, a museum setup on the site of an old gold mine. That was all quite interesting.

The group at the Gold Mine
The group at the Gold Mine

Gold mine entrance
Gold mine entrance

Gold in the museum
Gold in the museum

Gold crabs in the museum
Gold crabs in the museum

Gold bar in the museum
Gold bar in the museum

Air compressor used in the mine
Air compressor used in the mine

Chamber used by Crown Prince Hirohito for his visit in 1922
Chamber used by Crown Prince Hirohito for his visit in 1922

Chalet used by Crown Prince Hirohito for his visit in 1922
Chalet used by Crown Prince Hirohito for his visit in 1922

Chalet used by Crown Prince Hirohito for his visit in 1922
Chalet used by Crown Prince Hirohito for his visit in 1922

Jiufen village
Jiufen village

Further down the valley we stopped at a nice waterfall (in a no stopping zone, but everyone else was stopping anyway).

waterfall north of Jiufen
waterfall north of Jiufen

Us at the waterfall
Us at the waterfall

And then onto the coast. It was such a lovely day and the mountains and the ocean looked glorious.

Mountains in northern Taiwan
Mountains in northern Taiwan

Mountains in northern Taiwan
Mountains in northern Taiwan

We dropped off one of the girls at the station as she had to go to work, then headed back into the mountains. We ended up at Pingxi where - Sky Lanterns!! We actually decorated this huge sky lantern with wishes (I couldn't think of anything to write so wrote something pretty inane). Then they lit it and we set it off. So much fun, but there must be hundreds of the things littering the surrounding countryside!

Siguangtandiao Bridge over the Keelung River, near PingXi
Siguangtandiao Bridge over the Keelung River, near PingXi

Us on the Siguangtandiao Bridge
Us on the Siguangtandiao Bridge

Keelung River in PingXi
Keelung River in PingXi

Railway bridge over the Keelung River
Railway bridge over the Keelung River

Sky lantern in flight
Sky lantern in flight

What the different colours are supposed to mean
What the different colours are supposed to mean

Us painting wishes on our lantern
Us painting wishes on our lantern

Stu's wishes
Stu's wishes

Train approaching
Train approaching

Lantern alit, about to take off
Lantern alit, about to take off

Letting go
Letting go

Flying away
Flying away

Flying away
Flying away

Lantern sculpture in PingXi
Lantern sculpture in PingXi

Then a fairly long drive back into Taipei. It was nearly 6pm by this point and we went to Din Tai Fung for dumplings (xiaolongbao). This place was very much organised chaos. You (apparently, I didn't see this part) go and get a number for the number of people in your group (1-2, 3-5 or 6+), along with a menu and an ordering sheet, then wait around outside. When your number is called you can go in. The restaurant is like four storeys high! Although the room we were in was fairly small - it had tables for six. We didn't have to wait long outside, but apparently the wait on the weekends can be like two hours! We got six dishes - three lots of dumplings (pork, chicken and vegetable), as well as some sort of chicken schnitzel, a noodle dish with "pork mince" that had some beans and tofu in it, and a noodle dish with peanut sauce. All thoroughly delicious.

Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung

Xiao Long Bao - soooo good!
Xiao Long Bao - soooo good! NT200 ($8.50AUD) for ten pieces - amazing value

Eating a Xiao Long Bao
Eating a Xiao Long Bao

Chicken schnitzel
Chicken schnitzel

Pork mince noodles
Pork mince noodles

Taipei 101 from near Din Tai Fung
Taipei 101 from near Din Tai Fung

Coloured pool in Daan Park
Coloured pool in Daan Park

And finally we got dropped off at our hotel.

It was a wonderful day and we saw stuff we would *never* have seen doing things by ourselves.

Collapsed in front of Jack the Giant Slayer before bed.

Slept like crap. The pillow was too squishy, my spine kept hurting, the bowels decided to get upset, and it was either too hot or too cold depending on if I had the doona on or not.

And it turns out the bathroom *does* have an interior blind that you can close to the bedroom. But there's almost nowhere to hang anything and no spare toilet paper. And the Tripadvisor website is blocked here. Go figure.

The view from our hotel room by day
The view from our hotel room by day

We had a very slow morning. We went downstairs for the hotel breakfast which was ok, but then the sweetie wanted to take it easy because he was feeling anxious and overwhelmed, and he wanted to do some uni reading. I, on the other hand, was feeling anxious like a caged animal might.

The breakfast room in the hotel
The breakfast room in the hotel

Taipei currency
Taipei currency

Left the hotel around 11:30. We walked up to Songjiang Nanjing station and caught two trains to Shilin. Turns out passport stamps are just as big a thing here as in Japan. Really kicking myself I didn't bring a nice Field Notes notepad to put them in!

Station sign in Songjiang Nanjing
Station sign in Songjiang Nanjing

From Shilin we were meant to catch a R30 (or I30 on all the timetables) bus to the museum, but according to the timetables they only went every 30-60 minutes on weekdays. So we decided to jump on a 855 which said it was going there anyway. It went straight there so glad we did that.

Entrance to the National Palace Museum
Entrance to the National Palace Museum

Stu at the National Palace Museum
Stu at the National Palace Museum

The National Palace Museum
The National Palace Museum

We had to put our bags in a locker (10NT deposit) and I think it was 250NT entry each ($10). Except we went in before we realised we didn't have any sort of guide book or map. And Stu didn't really even know what was in there either. So we were kinda flying blind. We ended up in the pottery/porcelin section and took a good long while to walk through and look at all the beautiful porcelin. We stopped then and looked up the internet for what else was at the museum and where things were. Had a bit of a look at the calligraphy then split up to do things at our own pace. I had a quick walk through the paintings and the bronze work, then found the snuff box exhibition which was super cool.

Met up with the sweetie for a late lunch of steamed pork buns and dumplings in the tea house upstairs.

Dumplings in the museum cafe
Dumplings in the museum cafe

Steamed pork buns in the museum cafe
Steamed pork buns in the museum cafe

Continued on, having a look at all the Jade (this was super popular with the tourists) and the orientation room, and finally the stunning collection of "precious crafts" in a special collection downstairs. I've decided "openwork" was my favourite thing. Just amazing.

There's no photography which was a bit of a bummer, but you can kind of understand why. The place was *crawling* with people. Soooo many people. Many of them in tour groups that would all rush to a window, pushing you out of the way so they could all see, then they'd be off again to the next thing. I found it all to be super stressful. The sweetie was worn out by it all too, so instead of seeing what else there was to see around the place, we just headed back to the hotel.

The National Palace Museum
The National Palace Museum

Entrance to the National Palace Museum
Entrance to the National Palace Museum

Traffic control at Songjiang Nanjing station
Traffic control at Songjiang Nanjing station

We picked up some snacks and a sandwich and a salad and some beer from a 7-Eleven on the way and then flopped in front of You've Got Mail before bed.

Dinner at the hotel (we didn't have all those beers at once!)
Dinner at the hotel (we didn't have all those beers at once!)

Grape flavoured beer
Grape flavoured beer

Woke up first at 5:30 but got a bit more sleep til 6:30. Up at 7:00.

Maccas got my order correct hurrah.

Final Hong Kong Maccas breakfast
Final Hong Kong Maccas breakfast

Still took us a while to get out the door. After 10:30 by the time we got away.

Saying goodbye to our hotel
Saying goodbye to our hotel

The Butterfly Hotel
The Butterfly Hotel

Took the train to Hong Kong station and did the in-town checkin thing. Then got the sweetie a coffee at Starbucks. Had a quick stop in Dymocks before catching a train to the airport at 11:50. Goodbye Hong Kong! We'll be back one day very probably.

Hong Kong station.  At busy times this whole corridor is full of moving people
Hong Kong station. At busy times this whole corridor is full of moving people

Hong Kong station
Hong Kong station

Red velvet cake (I think) at Starbucks
Red velvet cake (I think) at Starbucks

Hong Kong from the Airport train
Hong Kong from the Airport train

At the airport it was the usual get through security and immigration then we had to take a train along to the fork of the big Y and our gate was in the right hand arm waaaaay out the end.

Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airport

World clocks in Hong Kong Airport
World clocks in Hong Kong Airport

Right at the very end - in the fork in the Y
Right at the very end - in the fork in the Y

We weren't rushing, but we weren't really dawdling either (other than stopping for coffee), so it was a bit of a shock that we arrived at the gate just as they started boarding. So it took nearly two and a half hours to get to the airport :(

When we booked our flights, we couldn't choose seats at the time, so I put a preference in for a window seat for me. On Tuesday morning I went online to see about selecting seats and saw that they'd put us at each end of a row of four. Above the wings. Almost the worst seats on the plane. So I chose some seats for us up the back. As it turned out, the flight was only half full, and most of the back of the plane was emtpy. So seating preference requests don't mean a thing, and they'll just pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey to allocate you a seat. Fail Cathay Pacific, fail. Anyway, Stu could have had his own window seat but chose not to.

Our plane to Taipei - Cathay Pacific A330-300 - B-HLW
Our plane to Taipei - Cathay Pacific A330-300 - B-HLW

Us on the plane to Taipei
Us on the plane to Taipei

There were plenty of seats free
There were plenty of seats free

We actually pushed back right on time at 13:30. The flight was pretty boring. We took off to the west so no views of Hong Kong. I played p0ker on the in-flight entertainment system and was doing well until they turned it off for landing. Lunch was a very small wrap and some oolong tea (no choice in drinks and we were quite thirsty :( ).

Saying goodbye to Hong Kong
Saying goodbye to Hong Kong

Food on the plane
Food on the plane

Mailiao Power Station
Mailiao Power Station

Air traffic control tower at Taipei airport
Air traffic control tower at Taipei airport

Once in Taipei it took *ages* to get through immigration. Don't know why it was so slow. Maybe it just felt slow because each agent had its own queue, rather than how they do it at other airports where it's one long line that's always moving. Finally got through and went and got our bags.

Arrivals hall, Taipei airport
Arrivals hall, Taipei airport

Arrivals hall, Taipei airport
Arrivals hall, Taipei airport

From there we went down the side of the arrivals hall to get our local sims. That was really quick and easy. Then we went downstairs to find the ticketing counters for the buses into town. We took an Evergreen bus because that went fairly close to our hotel. Only 140NT each too (~$6 each). The bus left at 16:45 and we were off it in town at 17:55. Then a five-ten minute walk to the hotel.

So all up it took eight and a half hours to travel 1000km :(

First view of Taipei 101
First view of Taipei 101

The hotel is nice. It's got a pretty funky bathroom with a Japanese style toilet and a huge bath/shower area. But there's a see-through curtain between the shower and the bedroom - weird!

Our room at the Ambience Hotel
Our room at the Ambience Hotel

Our room at the Ambience Hotel
Our room at the Ambience Hotel

The bathroom had a window for a wall between it and the bedroom
The bathroom had a window for a wall between it and the bedroom

View from our hotel room
View from our hotel room

After we'd settled in briefly we went out to find some dinner. Wandered up and down and eventually stopped in a fairly popular restaurant because they stopped us and said they had an English menu heh. Stu chose some.. interesting.. dishes... There was one of vegetables and these little fish. I wasn't a fan of the fish, but it did have some interesting little fruits that we thought might have been pickled unripened plums. Then there was a stirfry squid dish that didn't have much squid but had a big black chunk of *something* that reminded me a bit of black pudding. Then some "stinky tofu" which was ok but again a bit too spicy (*everything* was spicy which was challenging for me). And finally a "little fish" dish which was actually two whole small fish. This was actually quite nice, but super fiddly to get the meat off without taking bones.

The first 'little fish' dish
The first 'little fish' dish

Stir fry squid dish
Stir fry squid dish

Stinky tofu
Stinky tofu

The second 'little fish' dish - this was actually my favourite dish of the night
The second 'little fish' dish - this was actually my favourite dish of the night

Stopped in a 7-Eleven for some supplies then back to the hotel. I watched the last two thirds of the Corpse Bride before going to bed.

6:00 wakeup, 6:30 get up. I slept reasonably well, sadly the sweetie didn't get to sleep for hours :(

Battled with the laptop in the morning - the poor thing only has a gig of memory, which is barely enough to run windows, let alone half a dozen chrome windows. So it spent the morning swapping and going slowly :(

9:30 - went for maccas. This time they gave me sausage mcmuffins instead of sausage and egg mcmuffins. It's like McDonald's Fantasia - every time you go you get a different version.

Maccas breakfast
Maccas breakfast

So another very late start. It was after 10:30 when we got out the door. Wandered down to the Central ferries, but arrived at 11:10 - just after a ferry had left. So had to catch the 12:00 ferry to Lamma Island.

ICC from Hong Kong ferry terminals
ICC from Hong Kong ferry terminals

Hong Kong from the ferry terminals
Hong Kong from the ferry terminals

International Finance Centre from the ferry
International Finance Centre from the ferry

Hong Kong from the ferry
Hong Kong from the ferry

South-west Hong Kong Island
South-west Hong Kong Island

Pagoda on Lamma Island
Pagoda on Lamma Island

We took the ferry to the north end - Yung Shue Wan - and wandered south east. We missed the main track turn off at the beginning and had to detour in between houses in the village. But the track is actually relatively well signposted (except for the fact they don't give you any distances).  And if you're not sure where to go, just follow the constant stream of people doing the same walk.

The only vehicles on Lamma Island are emergency vehicles
The only vehicles on Lamma Island are emergency vehicles

Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island
Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island

Egg puffs (Kai Dan Zai)
Egg puffs (Kai Dan Zai)

Hanging flower
Hanging flower

We took a detour up to "Lamma Winds" - a wind turbine imported from Germany. It would have been nice if there was a sign at the bottom that said it was about 800m, as it was a very long hot climb and we really had no idea how long it would go for. But the views of Hong Kong at the top were pretty cool.

The signs could use some distance markers!
The signs could use some distance markers!

Lamma Winds
Lamma Winds

View of Hong Kong from the top of Lamma Island
View of Hong Kong from the top of Lamma Island

Us on Lamma Island
Us on Lamma Island

View of Hong Kong from the top of Lamma Island
View of Hong Kong from the top of Lamma Island

Pagoda on Lamma Island
Pagoda on Lamma Island

Lamma Island Family Walk
Lamma Island Family Walk

Kept on walking. Came across quite a nice little beach. With a rather "interesting" view of the power station.

Hung Shing Ye beach
Hung Shing Ye beach

Hung Shing Ye beach - looks lovely doesn't it?
Hung Shing Ye beach - looks lovely doesn't it?

Hung Shing Ye beach - with a lovely view of the power station
Hung Shing Ye beach - with a lovely view of the power station

Then up and over the middle of the island to the other side.

Lamma Power Station
Lamma Power Station

Lamma Power Station
Lamma Power Station

Pagoda and Sok Kwu Wan
Pagoda and Sok Kwu Wan

Sok Kwu Wan
Sok Kwu Wan

Pagoda
Pagoda

Sok Kwu Wan
Sok Kwu Wan

Kamikaze Cave - used by Japanese during the war
Kamikaze Cave - used by Japanese during the war

Tin Hau temple, Sok Kwu Wan
Tin Hau temple, Sok Kwu Wan

When we got to Sok Kwu Wan and were walking up through the restaurant strip, we saw a fridge full of beer and the lady there said the next ferry wasn't til 16:05 (a little over an hour away) so we decided to stop for a couple. They went down a treat after the long hot walk. They even had free wifi, so I could check the beers in.

Relaxing with a beer
Relaxing with a beer

What a lovely place to enjoy a beer
What a lovely place to enjoy a beer

Harbour at Sok Kwu Wan
Harbour at Sok Kwu Wan

These beers went down really well
These beers went down really well

We shared five different beers
We shared five different beers

Then took the 16:05 ferry back to Central.

Got back to the hotel and chillaxed for a bit, then headed out to find some dinner. We went to Sister Wah for their highly recommended beef brisket. It was indeed very nice.

Beef brisket at Sister Wah
Beef brisket at Sister Wah

Sister Wah
Sister Wah

Dumplings at Sister Wah
Dumplings at Sister Wah

And finally we met up with Chris and Anne and went for a walk down to the water to see the lights (we dawdled long enough to see the start of the Symphony of Lights, but the view wasn't the best from Causeway Bay with all the freeway dredging works going on). Ended up at King Ludwig at Causeway Bay where had a drink and chatted before walking back to the hotel through the park.

Kowloon from Causeway Bay
Kowloon from Causeway Bay

Wan Chai buildings
Wan Chai buildings

Dredging works in Causeway Bay
Dredging works in Causeway Bay

Symphony of Lights from Causeway Bay
Symphony of Lights from Causeway Bay

Symphony of Lights from Causeway Bay
Symphony of Lights from Causeway Bay

Symphony of Lights from Causeway Bay
Symphony of Lights from Causeway Bay

Beer at King Ludwig's
Beer at King Ludwig's

Collapsed into bed around 22:00.

Woke up at 5:45 but got a bit more sleep.  Spine was annoying me. Up at 7:00. Had a very slow start. They got my order right at Maccas though which was useful (it helped that they were a lot less rushed). Didn't get out the door til 10:00.

Maccas brekky
Maccas brekky

First up, we dropped all our laundry off at the local laundry. $120HKD for the both of us - a bit pricey, but saved us having to do it ourselves in the hotel sink.

Then we went on a bit of a train adventure - three different trains to get to Kowloon Bay.

Stopped at a Starbucks so the sweetie could have a coffee.

Then we jumped on a #86 green bus down to Kai Tak. They've converted the old runway into a passenger terminal for cruise ships. But there's also a little park at the end of the runway, the approach checkerboard is still there, and there's a "remnant" of runway 13 - a stylised mosaic of the 13 that used to be there.

Model paper plane with history of Kai Tak airport
Model paper plane with history of Kai Tak airport

Buildings in Kwun Tong
Buildings in Kwun Tong

Stu reading about the airport history
Stu reading about the airport history

Oriental Dragon
Oriental Dragon

Kai Tak Cruise Terminal
Kai Tak Cruise Terminal

Checkerboard for the approach for runway 31
Checkerboard for the approach for runway 31

Looking north-west along the path of the old runway
Looking north-west along the path of the old runway

The 13 (which was actually located at the other end of the runway)
The 13 (which was actually located at the other end of the runway)

Pearl of Oriental dinner cruise ship
Pearl of Oriental dinner cruise ship

We stopped so Stu could do a drawing of the view
We stopped so Stu could do a drawing of the view

You can also go up on top of the passenger terminal where they have a rooftop garden. Sadly they don't let you get anywhere near the edge, so not great for unobstructed views of Hong Kong.

Control tower of the cruise terminal
Control tower of the cruise terminal

Looking down the length of the cruise terminal
Looking down the length of the cruise terminal

The garden prevents you getting close to the edge to take photos
The garden prevents you getting close to the edge to take photos

The garden and view
The garden and view

Looking towards the ICC
Looking towards the ICC

Hong Kong from the cruise terminal
Hong Kong from the cruise terminal

Back on a #86 minibus back to the station.

Took another train up to Lok Fu where we stopped and had some lunch at a Japanese place.

Then into Lok Fu Park to try and get to the top of Checkerboard Hill. This was where they had a checkerboard painted onto the side of a water reservoir which was part of the approach to the old Kai Tak airport. Pilots had to head for this hill and make a visual sighting of it before making the sharp right turn down to the runway. I'd hoped to be able to get on top of it and see down to the old runway, but there were too many fences and trees in the way for a good view. So that was a bit of a waste of a very steep climb up a lot of steps (sorry sweetie!).

Tin Hau Temple, Lok Fu Park
Tin Hau Temple, Lok Fu Park

Looking up towards Lion Rock
Looking up towards Lion Rock

The edge of the water reservoir - the checkboard is right below this
The edge of the water reservoir - the checkboard is right below this

This is the best view I could get looking towards the old airport, and you can't really see it
This is the best view I could get looking towards the old airport, and you can't really see it

We went down then to get some photos of the front of it. There's a lot of trees in the way and it hasn't been maintained in sixteen years so it's not as pretty as it used to be.

Checkerboard hill from below
Checkerboard hill from below

Checkerboard hill from below
Checkerboard hill from below

Checkerboard hill with Lion Rock in the background
Checkerboard hill with Lion Rock in the background

Then we walked down to Kowloon Walled City Park to have a wander around. There's some interesting photos and information boards about the place, and one of the original fortress buildings - the Yamen - is still there. Quite interesting.

Wall of Kowloon Walled City
Wall of Kowloon Walled City

Entrance gates to Kowloon Walled City
Entrance gates to Kowloon Walled City

Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon Walled City Park

Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon Walled City Park

Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon Walled City Park

Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon Walled City Park

Bonsai in Kowloon Walled City Park
Bonsai in Kowloon Walled City Park

Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon Walled City Park

Model of Kowloon Walled City Park
Model of Kowloon Walled City Park

Yamen (Almshouse) in the model
Yamen (Almshouse) in the model

Yamen (Almshouse)
Yamen (Almshouse)

Yamen (Almshouse)
Yamen (Almshouse)

Yamen (Almshouse)
Yamen (Almshouse)

Yamen (Almshouse)
Yamen (Almshouse)

Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon Walled City Park

Remants of the South Gate
Remants of the South Gate

South Gate plaque and Kowloon Walled City plaque
South Gate plaque and Kowloon Walled City plaque

Then another three trains back to the hotel (after we picked up our laundry).

We got back to the hotel a bit after 18:00 completely exhausted. Sat down for a while before going to get some supplies and meat on a stick for dinner.

Meat on a stick!
Meat on a stick!

Charging station - three phones and a battery
Charging station - three phones and a battery

In bed just after 20:00.

My best sleep in so far - 6:30! Got up at 7 and did photo/blogging stuff.

Breakfast was McDonalds again. They're a bit hopeless though. Saturday I asked for three hash browns and got four. Sunday I asked for four and got three. They were trying to be helpful and save me money by combining things into a meal, but the people reading off the receipts and even computer boards couldn't get it right. Sigh.

Maccas breakfast
Maccas breakfast

After breakfast we got ready and headed back to Kowloon to go up Sky 100 again (we got a Sun and Stars ticket which gives two admissions). It was pretty hazy, so looking towards Hong Kong island wasn't the best, but it was still pretty cool.

Sky 100
Sky 100

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

Our hotel from last time is on the left
Our hotel from last time is on the left

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

The old Kai Tak airport is now a passenger terminal
The old Kai Tak airport is now a passenger terminal

The passenger terminal
The passenger terminal

Right in the middle is the checkerboard pilots had to visually line up with
Right in the middle is the checkerboard pilots had to visually line up with

The checkerboard is being lost amongst the buildings
The checkerboard is being lost amongst the buildings

New Yau Ma Tei typhoon shelter and view north-west
New Yau Ma Tei typhoon shelter and view north-west

Stonecutters Bridge
Stonecutters Bridge

Looking north
Looking north

Looking north
Looking north

Crazy Hong Kong apartment buildings
Crazy Hong Kong apartment buildings

Then we met up with Chris and Anne at the Central Ferry Piers where we took a fast ferry out to Cheung Chau. We were almost last on the boat, so didn't get a window seat, although the windows were pretty grimy anyway so wouldn't have been great for photos.

ICC from Central
ICC from Central

The Hong Kong Observation Wheel - not quite open yet
The Hong Kong Observation Wheel - not quite open yet

Central Ferry Piers
Central Ferry Piers

The ferry we took to Cheung Chau
The ferry we took to Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau
Cheung Chau

Once we got there, we wandered down the main drag until we found somewhere to have some lunch.

We went to "Delicious Seafood Restaurant" and had quite a nice lunch of squid, prawns with cashews, fried rice and vegetables (after travelling for several days and eating generally bad food, I was having vegetable cravings).

Our view while we ate lunch
Our view while we ate lunch

Squid
Squid

Prawns with cashews
Prawns with cashews

After lunch we had a good long wander around the island, visiting a temple, walking along the beach, walking up to a pagoda, then back through the middle of the island.

Temple in Cheung Chau
Temple in Cheung Chau

Insence
Incense

Temple in Cheung Chau
Temple in Cheung Chau

Anne and Stu in Cheung Chau
Anne and Stu in Cheung Chau

Beach in Cheung Chau
Beach in Cheung Chau

Headland north-east of Cheung Chau
Headland north-east of Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau
Cheung Chau

Fa Peng Rock
Fa Peng Rock

Pagoda on the Mini Great Wall walk
Pagoda on the Mini Great Wall walk

Chris, Stu and Anne in the pagoda
Chris, Stu and Anne in the pagoda

Pagoda on Cheung Chau
Pagoda on Cheung Chau

Timed our arrival back at the ferry pier perfectly to get on a slow ferry back to Hong Kong. It was a bit crowded in the departure hall, but we made it on. And got some fairly nice sunset type photos over the water.

Locals carry dogs, not babies, around in strollers
Locals carry dogs, not babies, around in strollers

Departing Cheung Chau
Departing Cheung Chau

Departing Cheung Chau
Departing Cheung Chau

Sunset
Sunset

Sunset
Sunset

Lighthouse on Green Island
Lighthouse on Green Island

Sunset
Sunset

Hong Kong from Victoria Harbour
Hong Kong from Victoria Harbour

Hong Kong from Victoria Harbour
Hong Kong from Victoria Harbour

Ferry and ICC
Ferry and ICC

Central Apple Store
Central Apple Store

Walked back to Central station from the ferry and trained it back to Tin Hau. We picked up some beer from 7-Eleven and had that while cooling off from the walking. Then we went out to find some food, but disaster! Meat on a stick place was closed! So we got some fried chicken from "Hot-Star - Large Fried Chicken" which was ok, but not the same as meat on a stick. Then went to bed.

Fried chicken
Fried chicken

5am wakeup. 6:20 up. Slept fairly well I think.

Went and got takeaway maccas for breakfast.

Maccas breakfast
Maccas breakfast

At 10:00 we were out the door. We stopped in at 7-Eleven for some sandwiches and chocolate, then headed out on the train to Chai Wan.

In the corridors at Tin Hau station
In the corridors at Tin Hau station

From the train you walk up the hill and then through a cemetery on the side of a hill. A very steep hill. With a lot of stairs. A *lot* of stairs. A couple of hundred metres straight up. But the view was pretty good :)

The start of the big climb - in the cemetery up from Chai Wan station
The start of the big climb - in the cemetery up from Chai Wan station

We have to climb all the way to the top of this mountain!
We have to climb all the way to the top of this mountain!

Part way up, and already a great view
Part way up, and already a great view

Ossarium at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery
Ossarium at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery

Radio transmitters at the top of Mt Parker
Radio transmitters at the top of Mt Parker

Going up!
Going up!

Nearly there!
Nearly there!

At the top we stopped for a water break then we walked along the road for a while which was very flat and easy.

View along the road at the top of the hill
View along the road at the top of the hill

Zoomed in a bit
Zoomed in a bit

Then it was onto a track, which again was mostly flat and easy going. Except for the constant *stream* of people coming the other way. Busiest walk I've ever been on. I suppose it would have been quieter on a week day.

Marker indicating the way to the Dragon Back hike starting point
Marker indicating the way to the Dragon Back hike starting point

View south towards Red Hill
View south towards Red Hill

Then finally the start of the Dragon Back hike proper. You go up. And up :) But then you get to the ridge line, and that's where it gets really pretty. Spectacular views and a bit of up and downs as you go along the top. Just lovely and worth the effort. And we had an amazing day for it too which was great. And it was very windy on the ridge but we found a sheltered spot to eat our sandwiches.

Us at the start of the Dragon's Back hike
Us at the start of the Dragon's Back hike

Looking along the Dragon's Back
Looking along the Dragon's Back

View from the top of the Dragon's Back
View from the top of the Dragon's Back

Remote control glider
Remote control glider

Local dude with his remote control glider
Local dude with his remote control glider

Stu holding the remote control glider
Stu holding the remote control glider

Looking back along the Dragon's Back
Looking back along the Dragon's Back

Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir
Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir

Looking across to Stanley
Looking across to Stanley

Shek O Country Club
Shek O Country Club

Stu at the top of the Dragon's Back
Stu at the top of the Dragon's Back

Dragon's Back peak marker
Dragon's Back peak marker

Us at the top of the Dragon's Back
Us at the top of the Dragon's Back

Starting to head back down.  We're on our way down there to Shek O
Starting to head back down. We're on our way down there to Shek O

Shek O village
Shek O village

Made it to the end of the Dragon's Back
Made it to the end of the Dragon's Back

Then we headed all the way back down. When we hit the road we caught a number 9 bus down into Shek O. We got changed and had a swim at the beach. I was a little (a lot) paranoid about all my stuff on the beach so didn't go out very far. But it was super refreshing.

Beach at Shek O
Beach at Shek O

Stu body surfing at Shek O beach
Stu body surfing at Shek O beach

After a swim we went had some very expensive beer at Copacabana and a fancy hot dog before catching a bus back to the train line.

Relaxing after our swim
Relaxing after our swim

Expensive hot dog
Expensive hot dog

Shek O beach
Shek O beach

Catching the bus back
Catching the bus back

Shek O from the bus
Shek O from the bus

Sunset over Stanley
Sunset over Stanley

On the train back we messaged @Chrispycon to see what they were up to. We met up with Chris and then later Anne and Bronte for a drink at Oaky bar.

Chris and Stu enjoying beers at Oaky Bar
Chris and Stu enjoying beers at Oaky Bar

Then we wandered down to find some dinner. We went to Saigon, a Vietnamese place. We ordered a bunch of dishes to share which were all delicious. A great evening, probably better than just going back to the hotel and going to bed ;)

Woke up at 5:30. Played on my phone til up time at 6:00.

At 8:00 we headed out the door to Sham Shui Po for a foodie tour! This was by the same people that we did the foodie tour with last year.

Seems all the wine you get in Hong Kong is from Australia! <br/>Yellow tail, Jacob's Creek, Wolf Blass, Wyndham Estate, Penfolds are just some of the brands
Seems all the wine you get in Hong Kong is from Australia!
Yellow tail, Jacob's Creek, Wolf Blass, Wyndham Estate, Penfolds are just some of the brands

Our first stop was at Kowloon Restaurant, a Hong Kong style cafe, where we had a "pineapple" bun and milk tea. The pineapple bun doesn't have any pineapple in it, but the rough surface on it looks a bit like a pineapple. It was fresh and light and the crunchy topping (a mix of sugar, butter and egg) was much like the topping on the bbq pork buns. Yum yum yum, loved this. The milk tea was ok too, although I did add a little sugar to it.

Pineapple bun and milk tea
Pineapple bun and milk tea

Pineapple buns before being baked
Pineapple buns before being baked

Filtering the tea
Filtering the tea

Our second stop was at Hop Yick Tai for a more Chinese style breakfast. We had these rice rolls which had a silky smooth texture and a lovely peanut and hoisin sauce. Wanted a spoon so I could gobble the rest of the sauce.

Rice rolls with a super yummy sauce
Rice rolls with a super yummy sauce

The third stop was the A1 Tofu Company, which is a soy product shop. There we had a "hot tofu dessert" which had a tofu jelly with sugar and ginger sugar that was sweet but not over poweringly so. Very nice. We also got to see out the back where the dude makes the smooth tofu.

Hot tofu dessert
Hot tofu dessert

Next was Lu Goose Restaurant for some braised goose and braised pork knuckle. I really liked the goose, but the pork knuckle was a bit too sinewy for my tastes. It didn't help that they don't serve these dishes hot.

Braised goose and braised pork knuckle
Braised goose and braised pork knuckle

Fifth stop was at Eight Angels Cake Shop for some walnut, almond and sesame cookies. I was fairly full at this point, so brought them home to have later (still haven't had them yet, but Stu said his were good).

Eight Angels Cake Shop
Eight Angels Cake Shop

Cookies
Cookies

And the last stop was at Lau Sum Kee Noodle for some egg noodles with shrimp roe. The noodles were a little dry, but had a good firm texture, and a little red vinegar or soup helped with the dryness. The shrimp roe wasn't really my thing. But it was served with a nice soup on the side.

Egg noodles with shrimp roe
Egg noodles with shrimp roe

In between we looked at various other shops and buildings, it was all really interesting. The whole tour took a little over four hours, but definitely worth it.

Beads!
Beads!

Shiny things!
Shiny things!

Buttons!!  This entire store was filled with rows and rows of buttons
Buttons!! This entire store was filled with rows and rows of buttons

Funky buttons
Funky buttons

Wet markets - fresh meat
Wet markets - fresh meat

Knife shop.  We went out the back and saw the dude sharpening knives
Knife shop. We went out the back and saw the dude sharpening knives

Our tour guide
Our tour guide

When we were done, we had a bit of a wander up and down Apliu Street - the "men's" markets. I bought a couple of little cables. Then we went into the Golden Computer Centre. The basement was a rabbit warren of computer and peripherals stores. Quite amazing. We wandered through there for quite a while.

Strip lighting.  I sooo want some of this!
Strip lighting. I sooo want some of this!

Golden Computer Arcade
Golden Computer Arcade

Bitcoin vending machine!
Bitcoin vending machine!

Inside the Golden Computer Arcade
Inside the Golden Computer Arcade

But then Stu's back was killing him, and our feet hurt, so we went back to the hotel to chillax for a while.

At 16:30 we headed out again - to go up the Sky 100, which I wanted to do last time but we ran out of time. We got there in plenty of time for sunset, but the sun doesn't really set in Hong Kong, it just gets hazed out. Stayed up there while it got dark and enjoyed the lights for quite a while. Didn't have the energy to stay for the Symphony of Lights though :(

Shopping centre done up for Christmas at the bottom of the Sky 100 (ICC) tower
Shopping centre done up for Christmas at the bottom of the Sky 100 (ICC) tower

Stu at Sky 100
Stu at Sky 100

Hong Kong from the Sky 100
Hong Kong from the Sky 100

The building on the left is the hotel we stayed in last time we came to Hong Kong
The building on the left is the hotel we stayed in last time we came to Hong Kong

Getting darker
Getting darker

Inside the Sky 100
Inside the Sky 100

Hong Kong Convention Centre
Hong Kong Convention Centre

Hong Kong by night
Hong Kong by night

Hong Kong by night
Hong Kong by night

Hong Kong by night
Hong Kong by night

Hong Kong by night
Hong Kong by night

Hong Kong by night
Hong Kong by night

View north-west from Sky 100
View north-west from Sky 100

Stonecutters Bridge
Stonecutters Bridge

Sky 100
Sky 100

Us in the lift on the way down
Us in the lift on the way down

Shopping centre done up for Christmas at the bottom of the Sky 100 (ICC) tower
Shopping centre done up for Christmas at the bottom of the Sky 100 (ICC) tower

Back to the hotel, then out to find some dinner. We were both exhausted though, so trying to find something that wasn't too complicated was, well, too complicated. In the end we picked up some beer from 7-Eleven and got meat-on-a-stick from a vendor next to the station - duck on one and pork on the other - delicious!

Meat on a stick store!
Meat on a stick store!

Beer and meat on a stick! (we didn't drink all that beer in one go!)
Beer and meat on a stick! (we didn't drink all that beer in one go!)

Hong Kong currency
Hong Kong currency

Hong Kong currency
Hong Kong currency

Then crashed straight after dinner.

So went to sleep very quickly on Wednesday night. Slept really well but woke up at 3:30 local time. Managed to sleep for about another hour before getting up and doing all the day before's GPS downloading, photo downloading and blogging.

Stu had a very slow start. Then we contacted @Chrispycon to see if he wanted to go have breakfast with us. This was a bit after 8, when I'd been awake for nearly four hours. Hrmmm!

Anyways, Chris and family live about two buildings away (he can see the back side of our hotel from his window), so he came over and we went for a walk to get breakfast. Went to a little cafe (Peace Square) he sometimes goes to lunch at. I had some pasta which was nice with a bit of bacon and mushrooms.

Stu and Chris at Peace Square
Stu and Chris at Peace Square

Breakfast at Peace Square
Breakfast at Peace Square

I dropped into a 7-Eleven to see if I could swap out our sims, but the guys didn't really understand me. But then another tourist explained to me how the sims work and the data plan can be taken out of the prepaid value, which meant they were going to work for us after all. So we went back to the hotel to sort ourselves out. Stu's old HTC One Android is completely retarded, and once again I had to battle with APNs on it. It didn't actually create an APN at all for the new sim, so had to make one for it. Stoopid stoopid phone.

Anyway, got that sorted and went over to Chris' to see their apartment. It's small, but it's quite light and airy and there's all sorts of hidden storage in all the furniture.

The view of our hotel from Chris' apartment
The view of our hotel from Chris' apartment

Cosy living room
Cosy living room

Chris' apartment
Chris' apartment

Small kitchen
Small kitchen

Yes, they have lost washing off here!
Yes, they have lost washing off here!

Then we headed out. We wandered through Victoria Park, where there was some big Buddhist event happening. And saw the Causeway Bay Occupy tents (there was barely anyone there though). Then we hopped on a train to Central.

Ceremony in Victoria Park, Causeway Bay
Ceremony in Victoria Park, Causeway Bay

Occupy Hong Kong
Occupy Hong Kong

Keep Calm and Join Us
Keep Calm and Join Us

Fake Milk Powder - Fake Election
Fake Milk Powder - Fake Election

Those people on the footpath are selling cheap Chinese-imported iPhones.  Right outside the Apple Store.  !
Those people on the footpath are selling cheap Chinese-imported iPhones. Right outside the Apple Store. !

Times Square
Times Square

From Central we climbed up and up to the Botanical and Zoological gardens. We stopped for a drink, because while the temperature was lovely, it was very humid, so we were all sweaty. Then we had a bit of a wander through the gardens, but really just near the fountain. Then through the zoo bit. There's a lot of birds and monkeys but not much else. So that was quite a pleasant excursion.

Fountain in the Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Fountain in the Zoological and Botanical Gardens

Very red looking ibises of some sort
Very red looking ibises of some sort

Fancy ducks
Fancy ducks

A silver pheasant
A silver pheasant

Hong Kong buildings from the gardens
Hong Kong buildings from the gardens

De Brazza's monkey
De Brazza's monkey

Cute monkey
Cute monkey

Black and white ruffed lemur
Black and white ruffed lemur

Orangutans
Orangutans

By then it was about 1:30, so I suggested we go get lunch at Dim Sum Square - because I wanted crispy pork buns! So we had a good long wander down the hill.

When we got to Sheung Wan, we couldn't find it! We thought it might have closed, because it wasn't where we thought it should be. The maps we had kept saying it was on the next block though, so went for a walk around the block. Then we saw it - it had moved across the road into a prime corner spot and had stickers all over the front of it showing the awards it had won. We had to wait a few minutes to get in (there was a bit of a queue). The interior was a lot more up-market than its last venue, so it didn't have quite the same rustic feel to it. But it was still just as cheap and the food just as good.

Chris and Stu ordering at Dim Sum Square
Chris and Stu ordering at Dim Sum Square

This is what we came for - crispy pork buns!!
This is what we came for - crispy pork buns!!

After lunch we headed back to our hotel so Stu could collapse in a heap. But it was only 4pm and I'd have gone crazy just sitting there for a couple of hours before dinner. So I thought I'd go on an Ingress wander. I walked up Electric Road, then headed down to the water. Then I thought I'd just keep walking along the waterfront. Except there's really no such thing after the first little bit. They're building a huge freeway out in the water so everywhere along the whole waterfront is a massive construction site. After much battling of limited pedestrian access, and barricade after barricade, I eventually made it to the Convention Centre, and battled my way out to the waterfront proper. It was just getting dark so all the lights were coming on and it was really very pretty. Stayed and took a heap of photos.

This is the view from our hotel.  More of the same takes up the whole view.
This is the view from our hotel. More of the same takes up the whole view.

Stu always loves the efficient use of spaces in places like Hong Kong
Stu always loves the efficient use of spaces in places like Hong Kong

Boats in Causeway Bay
Boats in Causeway Bay

Causeway Bay
Causeway Bay

The Noonday Gun
The Noonday Gun

Buildings in Wan Chai
Buildings in Wan Chai

Fountains outside the Sun Hung Kei shopping centre
Fountains outside the Sun Hung Kei shopping centre

Dredging works next the Convention Centre
Dredging works next the Convention Centre

Dredging works next the Convention Centre
Dredging works next the Convention Centre

Kowloon from the Convention Centre
Kowloon from the Convention Centre

Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Hong Kong Convention Centre
Hong Kong Convention Centre

The Golden Bauhinia
The Golden Bauhinia

Ships that pass in the night
Ships that pass in the night

Ships that pass in the night
Ships that pass in the night

The Aqua Luna in front of some colourfully lit buildings
The Aqua Luna in front of some colourfully lit buildings

Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Then I tried to find the station at Wan Chai (it took a while - I thought I'd gone past it) and got a train back to the hotel. Just in time to meet Chris and Anne. We headed out to Zanzo, a Japanese restaurant, for some quite expensive beer, and a bunch of tasty little tapas style dishes. A very pleasant evening.

Walked back to the hotel, then realised I would need some food in the place for my early morning wakeups so headed out again. The nearest 7-Eleven was closed! For like a month. So found a Circle K near the station for some very expensive chips. Then back to the hotel to crash in a heap.

Butterfly hotel
Butterfly hotel

Foyer in the hotel
Foyer in the hotel

Monday night I slept like crap. Only about four hours sleep. Every time I closed my eyes all I could see was Ingress portals in Hong Kong or Candy Crush. Very frustrating. So fortunately I slept really well on Tuesday night. For Wednesday we departed.

We were up at 6am to get ready, and our taxi arrived right on time at 7am for an uneventful trip to the airport.

Fountain at Canberra Airport
Fountain at Canberra Airport

I grabbed a couple of pancakes and a banana from the Qantas club for breakfast and then we were off.

Our first plane - a Boeing 717-200 - VH-YQT
Our first plane - a Boeing 717-200 - VH-YQT

We had a 717, and I'd chosen the same row as my last 717 flight (I couldn't choose anything further forward of the wings - I tried), so got the same view of the engine and wings, just on the other side this time. Canberra was cloudy, so the view got boring slightly after takeoff. But then the clouds cleared and was able to see a bit of snow around on the snowy mountains.

A grey morning in Canberra
A grey morning in Canberra

Lake Eucumbene
Lake Eucumbene

I watched some of Frozen on the iPad minis (although it kept crashing on the same spot near the beginning, so the third time I skipped past that bit and then it was fine).

iPad Minis!
iPad Minis!

Snackages on the plane
Snackages on the plane

In Melbourne we were off the plane, through security and immigration, and to the next gate as they were boarding. So no time to grab any more food in the Qantas club or do any duty free shopping.

Our next flight was on an A330-300. Up the back on the left.

Our second plane - an Airbus A330-500 - VH-QPE
Our second plane - an Airbus A330-500 - VH-QPE

Us getting ready to head out of the country again!
Us getting ready to head out of the country again!

The interior of the A330
The interior of the A330

Departure from Melbourne would have had us a nice view of Melbourne CBD, but it was too hazy and polluted for a decent view.

Looking towards Bacchus Marsh
Looking towards Bacchus Marsh

Manangatang, rural Victoria
Manangatang, rural Victoria

I watched the rest of Frozen, but missed the iPad which had a much bigger and clearer screen than the screens in the back of the seats.

Lunch was more like a proper dinner, which included the option of wine so I took it. Quite enjoyed have some wine and cheese and crackers actually.

Lunch on the plane
Lunch on the plane

Wine and cheese and crackers
Wine and cheese and crackers

Next I watched How to Train Your Dragon 2, which was ok but it probably a lost a little in not having seen the first one.

At the end of that movie, four hours after departure from the gate and we were *still* over Australia. Stoopid big country :)

The red heart of Australia - the Simpson Desert
The red heart of Australia - the Simpson Desert

That's Darwin down there in the haze
That's Darwin down there in the haze

Next I put on A Most Wanted Man, but I struggled - planes are not good for that sort of movie because it's just hard to follow on such a small screen with such bad sound quality. And I felt a little dozey after the wine, so gave up on that and dozed for a while. Then watched a couple of episodes of Sherlock (The Empty Hearse and The Sign of Three). And finally a documentary on Stories of Survival.

I loved these clouds over Indonesia
I loved these clouds over Indonesia

Pulled beef sliders
Pulled beef sliders

Pretty clouds near Hong Kong
Pretty clouds near Hong Kong

Landed in Hong Kong and drove *all the way around* the terminals - a much longer taxi than last time.

Air traffic control tower at Hong Kong
Air traffic control tower at Hong Kong

As we were getting off (we're always nearly last), I noticed the cockpit door open and asked if I could go say hi. So I did :) The Qantas guys are always so lovely, and they insisted I go sit in the pilots seat, and even put a captain's hat on me and photographed me (I shoulda given them my real camera heh). So that was all super exciting. I still think it's weird that planes don't have the old flight yokes anymore, just little joysticks on the left. The poor sweetie was waiting outside for me :)

Cockpit of the A330
Cockpit of the A330

Me in the pilot's seat :)
Me in the pilot's seat :)

At the airport we got out some money then went to find sim cards. Except we got given the wrong thing, so don't know if they'll work as nicely as the sim we got last time. We haven't opened them yet, might make an attempt to swap them over.

Then hopped on the airport express into Hong Kong, and an Island Line train to Tin Hau to our hotel, which we found pretty easily.

The hotel room is nice enough, although not much of a view. We were soooo spoilt by our last hotel! The left side of the bed is a bit of a dead zone though - there's no space, no bed side table, no power point. But they do have a power adapter built into the power board on the desk, so we have plenty of options for power.

Our room at the Butterfly Hotel, Tin Hau
Our room at the Butterfly Hotel, Tin Hau

These cute little butterflies labelled the pillows as soft or firm
These cute little butterflies labelled the pillows as soft or firm

Went out to grab something for dinner (dinner on the plane wasn't very much at all). It was like 8pm here, but 11pm our time, so we were super super tired, so we just ended up getting Maccas because it would have taken too much energy to find anything else.

And then back to the hotel to crash. I plugged in a bunch of devices to charge, but didn't blog or do any photo downloading.

Who needs sleep?

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I've done almost no preparation for this holiday.  I've been far too busy with life for that.  So Stu has done all the planning.  But now, with two days to go, it's all caught up with me.  I woke up at 4:30 this morning.  It's now 2am and I haven't slept.  

Only one more day of work, and I wonder if I'll have any better luck tomorrow night (well tonight really)..