Wednesday 4 June 2014

Hong Kong Harbour

I'm finally back from my travels, and am a couple of weeks behind still. Whilst birds did feature, they were very much a sideshow to actual travel, i.e. the experiencing of new places. This makes a refreshing change actually, as many places I have been recently have involved purely the avian highlights, and skipped where they were entirely. Take Morocco for example - I've flown to Marrakech three times in the last year or so, but I've never actually set foot anywhere in the city other than the airport and its car park. Given how interesting it must surely be, this is a bit odd, and a big gap. Apparently Saint Augustine said that the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. Whilst I'm definitely doing a lot of reading, I've been skipping loads of pages, and I need to go back and see what's on them.

Not so in Hong Kong though, where birding took a back seat during most of my visit, and where instead I explored the city widely, admired many incredible views, ate lots of Dim Sum, wandered through loads of markets, and bought a knock-off Rolex. All things that most tourists do in other words. And it was great! Even the watch is a pretty decent effort, if a tad bling.

The best part about HK has to be the water. In addition to having pink Dolphins (what's not to like?), water is central to life in HK, as essentially it is a series of islands. Ferries run everywhere - from the five minute Star Ferry between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, to journeys of up to an hour as far as Macau. I never made it that far, but I did spend a very enjoyable day taking four of five different boats to get from Lantau and back via a series of smaller islands. Inevitably I was drawn back to Victoria Harbour though, and the incredible and skyline of Hong Kong Island as viewed from the Kowloon side. There is a promenade known as the Avenue of Stars (a statue of Bruce Lee, and then hand prints of loads of people you've never heard of) that gives superb views across to Central, and even though it's been done millions of times before, and a whole lot more competently, I had to try and get a photo. Sadly I forgot my tripod, so all of these are with the camera balanced on my bag, which in turn was balanced on a life ring on the sloping sea-wall - you have to be creative in these situations, and overall it all worked out. I picked a pretty good evening, as there were a succession of thunder storms rolling in from the south, meaning that whilst I got wet every now and again, the sky became quite dramatic. Sadly I wasn't in position on the day that the sky turned black at 4pm and lightning fizzed horizontally across the sky, instead choosing to get back to Lantau before it all went horribly wrong, but I'd bet that you could get some simply sensational landscapes if your timing was lucky and you were prepared to die in the attempt. Anyhow, all these photos are basically the same, but they serve as a great reminder of a fun trip and a great ending to a day spent wandering around Tsim Sha Tsui. Anyone want a quality watch? 

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