Monday, May 17, 2010

Hong Kong (Part 3) - That's not a seal, I know a man dressed up in a seal costume when I see one!

On our second last day in Hong Kong we went to Ocean Park, which is kind of like a cross between Underwater World, Adventure World and the zoo. It was great fun, definitely worth a whole day.

First we saw the alligators, the funny otters and the gorgeous pandas, then we headed over to the Whiskers Stage for the Whiskers and Friends show. On the map there was a picture of a seal, so of course we were expecting to see seals. However, when we got to the amphitheatre it was full of small children and there was no pool to be seen, just a normal stage. Not a good sign. When the curtain went up we were treated to four people dressed up as 'Whiskers and Friends' and two clowns who performed some juggling tricks. They also threw a juggling ball into the crowd and tried to get people to catch it and throw it back to them. We were shocked to see that not one single kid was able to catch the ball or even throw it a few metres back to the clowns! I am the first to admit that when I was in primary school I would have been just as uncoordinated, but most of the other people in the class would have been able to catch and throw a ball. But out of 10 kids, 100% of them were as unco-ordinated as me and that is saying something. Given that the Chinese population makes up 20% of the whole world, they should be wiping the floor at the Olympics. However, if all of the kids are that bad then it is no wonder that they don't! Anyway, after witnessing that debacle, we stayed for a few minutes and then escaped when we thought that no-one would notice.

Then we took the cable car, with the most amazing views, over to the other section of the park, which was located right at the end of a narrow peninsular jutting out to sea. We went to the Atoll Reef, which is an artificial reef with three viewing levels. It was pretty cool but Michael and I agreed that AQWA (Underwater World) in Hillary's is better. At Ocean Park the water was not as clear and there is no handy flat escalator (I think it's called a travelator), so people tend to hog the view. Also, it was a bit crowded with annoying Chinese tour groups who were screaming at the top of their lungs and knocking on the glass (even though the signs say not to!).

After the Atoll Reef we went to the 'Sideshow Alley' section where they had various games where you can win stuffed toys. We spotted some toys that we thought Napoleon might like, so Michael had a go at the Basketball game, where he sank 5 out of 8 shots. The first three shots were 'swishes', which is where you sink the ball without it touching the hoop, it just goes straight through the net. By the third shot he had gathered quite a crowd of spectators, and when he sunk the fourth shot people were starting to go 'ooooooo'. This shows again that people in Hong Kong are rubbish at sports. Michael has in fact never really played basketball before, and he reckons it was easy since the hoops were so much closer than they would be at the Royal Show, for example. Unfortunately, he missed the next couple, but then sunk another one before missing the last one.

Since that game seemed so easy we had a go at another couple. I tried one where you throw small beanbags at some cans to knock them off the platform, and we both tried a ring toss game. However, me being woefully uncoordinated and the ring-toss being rigged, we did not walk away with any other prizes :-(

Then we went on the scenic escalator, it is the second biggest outdoor escalator in the world apparently. This took us to the top of the hill where they had a show featuring some dolphins and seals doing tricks, like in Free Willy. It does make you feel a bit guilty though, why should they have to perform for our amusement anyway? What if they don't enjoy having to learn all those tricks? What was really annoying, however, was the Chinese tourists, who kept standing up and blocking the view. Don't they understand that if everyone stands up they can't actually see any better? We were ecstatic when it started raining and all of those people who stood up at the front got wet and had to leave, whereas we were just under cover! Some of them tried to move up to where we were and stand in the aisle, but Michael told them to get out of the way or leave. I don't think they understood English but they got the gist and soon moved :-)

By this time it was near closing time, so we quickly ran past the aviary and flamingos before heading back to our accommodation, thoroughly exhausted but content with another great day.

On our last day in Hong Kong, we took a ferry to Lamma Island, which is the third biggest island in Hong Kong. The population is only 6,000 and there are also no high-rise buildings or cars, making it much more peaceful and laid-back compared to Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. After our visit we found out that there is a sizeable ex-pat population as well as many artists and musicians, who are known for having 'alternative lifestyles'. Apparently this has given it a bit of a reputation has being a 'hippie' island.

Where the ferry landed was a fishing village, with heaps of seafood restaurants lined up along the foreshore (incidentally, I read that Chow Yun-Fat grew up on Lamma Island and his family still run one of the seafood restaurants). For those of you who watched Masterchef season one, remember when Lucas came back and they did the Rainbow Fish challenge on a floating pontoon in Hong Kong? Well, that was where we were! In fact, the dish was demonstrated by a chef from the Rainbow Seafood Restaurant, which is where we had lunch!

It was pure luck that we choose this restaurant, since I recognised the pontoon from Masterchef but didn't realise that the chef was the same one that did the demonstration. We just chose the busiest restaurant, and this was the busiest by far.

We enjoyed a seafood banquet of battered squid, seared scallops, garlic butter lobster, a whole steamed fish (best fish we've ever had), veggies, fried rice and fresh fruit, all for about AUD$25 each. It was one of the best meals that we've had on the trip, right up there with the Japanese Traditional Inn in Mt Fuji and the Peking Duck in Beijing. If you are ever in Hong Kong I would definitely recommend going to this restaurant, and if you make a booking they will pick you up and drop you off using their private ferry.

Then we tried to walk some of it off by walking from one side of the island to the other, to catch a different ferry back to Tsim Shar Tsui. It was one of the hottest days that we had experienced so far on the trip, so we took our time and had plenty of stops along the way to admire the view. After a couple of hours we made it to the other side of the island and caught the ferry back to our accommodation. We celebrated our last night in Hong Kong at a very expensive Irish pub with some drinks and the most delicious deep-fried Brie skewers. We were sad to leave Hong Kong, and will definitely return when I am able to bring an empty suitcase in order to fully appreciate the fantastic shopping!

No comments:

Post a Comment