Day two is on the books and all I want to do is sleep! However, I'm being a good blogger girl as something tells me I won't be any more energetic to blog at 11pm tomorrow after another full and exhausting, yet fun day.
Today I woke up at about 7:30 (my phone in the hotel plays an obscenely happy 'its the morning, rise and shine' song. if I wasn't on vacay I'd probably want to beat it up). However, I happily bounded out of bed (or, well, eventually dragged myself up) and ended up in the lovely lovely shower here. Its a rain shower, but also includes a regular hand held shower. Basically no chance of that annoying 'I'm cold cos I'm wet but I have to rinse my hair and there's not enough 'spray' to do all of that'. Very nice! After that I headed down for a lovely buffet breakfast at one of the hotel restaurants. There is a huge selection, including all of your typical 'western' breakfasty foods, fruit, pastries, etc., plus all the sushi and fried rice you could ever want at 8am.
After that I headed on the MTR to Central to go to the Japanese consulate and get my visa sorted. Other than having to get yet more photos taken it was pretty straight forward. Central and what I saw of the surrounding area on HK Island is much more what I was expecting I think--a big, clean, modern city with British things like pret a manger and 'mind the gap' on the trains, but some kanjis thrown in as well. Its pretty businessy and I didn't spend too much time down there before jumping on a double decker bus to Stanley. (Thanks to Jordon for the suggestion). It was a gorgeous ride out there, along the water, on this twisty winding road with somewhat of a cliff on one side and a mountain of rich greenery on the other. There were gorgeous bay views, peekabo looks at the city, and glimpses of absolutely gorgeous mansions along the way.
Approximately an hour later we pulled into Stanley Market, which was pretty cool. I got my shopping bug out today! I got a couple of leather(ish?) bags, and then a bunch of presents so I can't talk about it! I spent an hour or so wandering around all the stalls in the market and then walked along the promenade thing by the water. It kind of reminded me of the Bahamas almost, with the colorful and tasty-looking eateries right by the water. At the other end of the walk is a cool building, with tons of columns. Apparently, they had to dismantle it for some reason and keep it in storage, so they wrote numbers on all the bits. Except the ink washed off, so when they 're-mantled' it they weren't quite sure where it all went, and managed to end up with 6 columns spare! They're now just standing there in a pretty row.
In said building is a really nice martime museum that I went in on a total impulse as they were having an olympics exhibit. In the end, that part was cool, but the heritage stuff was really cool as well. They had some GORGEOUS models and artifacts and stuff. Some cool history but not to much and also some nice interactive displays. In the modern gallery, as well as the Olympics stuff (all concentrating on rowing/sailing/canoe-kayak, etc), they talked about shipping and modern boating. There was a morse code game (its harder than it looks!) and a full size bridge deck from a shipping boat in front of a huge three-screen simulator so you can try and steer into the harbour. unfortunately i had no idea where i was going so settled for crshing into a star ferry instead, which made for a lovely shudder and crunch.
Following that, I got back on the bus, wound my way back to central, and happily listened in to the conversation of the Calgarian tourists in front of me. Nothing interesting, just a wrap up of their shopping, but passed the time :)
From Central I jumped on the MTR and came back to the hotel to grab my other camera and headed down to the club lounge for a snack and a chance to quickly deal with any urgent emails and finish up an article before jumping back on the MTR to central to get on my 7:20 Star Ferry boat tour. It was really nice! We went around the harbour and then paused to watch the light show. It was incredibly hard to photograph, but pretty cool looking. I met a lovely couple from the Netherlands who were beside me on the open air deck. They'd also gone to Stanley and the Maritime Museum today! They're off to Sydney and Perth after this before heading home.
After we bobbed our way back to port I went back to the mall by the hotel and got a pretty silk shirt from H&M and then grabbed a picnic of a sandwich and chips at the huge grocery store in the basement of the mall. I also got a pear, but it was funny cos there were like a dozen or so pears strewn in with whatever was next to them, and so I just reached over and grabbed one, and the lady that was over in the 'main' part of the pears stepped over to me and grabbed it out of my hand! I guess she was saving those ones. It was hilarious. (Things like this are the subtle differences between here and Japan, where there's no way that pear would have been taken back off me!)
After all that, I *still* wasn't done, and took my computer up to the pool for a lovely lovely swim (la mac stayed on a comfy cushion under a cabana) before I toweled off and settled in under the stars (er, smog) to upload some photos and start this blog. When the pool closed at 11, I came back to my room, had a picnic in my bed (what vacations are for, really), and finished this.
(click the pic for pics)