Monday, November 13, 2006

Transits of Delights!

HongKongDay2 132
Originally uploaded by Avant Game.

Hong Kong, Day Two. Summary: There are myriad transits of delight. Nevertheless, our primary means of transit--our legs!-- are very, very tired.

We get up around 7 AM and start the day with a trip to the hotel's pool/fitness center. I run 5K and Kiyash swims laps on the roof... then we have a sushi breakfast, coffee, and it's off to Central via our first trip on the Hong Kong subway, the MRT!

The MRT works just like the BART, only better announcements, maps and lines to get on and off the train. Also, as Kiyash marvels at, the train cars have no partitions... it's infinite train in both directions! (Transit of delight #1)

On arrival in Central, which is the business district on the island (our hotel is on the mainland) we start a loop of the Hong Kong Land Company's aerial concourses. The Land Co. has connected all of the Central properties they own via aerial walkways, which collectively pose a kind of 7-bridges problem: How can we cross all the walkways without doubling back on any of our paths? Unfortunately we do not solve this riddle as we are not really sure how many walkways there are total. Still, a fun puzzle. ^_^ (Transit of delight #2)

Next we take the urban escalator up the mountainside, which has been so densely developed that they have built an outdoor public escalator going block after block after block... imagine San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood with escalators up all the hills! Crazy. We love it. It goes on for 792 meters (Transit of delight #3)

Now we're in a neighborhood called mid-levels and we follow signs to a secret playground, which turns out to be a giant soccer court cut into the side of the mountain, nothing else around in view except for the distant city skyline. Crazy. We love it.

There is a free, open zoo in this area. We see a jaguar, buff-cheeked gibbons monkeys and more.

We make our way to Hong Kong Park, where we see a SARS memorial, a tai chi court, an audio art installation (all about the sound of interior air conditioning!), amazing water sculptures, and more.

We find a supermarket that specializes, apparently, in junk food. Aisle after aisle of international cookies and chocolates and candies (tim tams, Picnic, wine gums...) that inspire us to box up a ton to ship home. So that's our plan for tomorrow: woo! Also, I find the perfect cookies for cookie rolling. Yam cookies, made right here in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The word I'll be rolling... "mountain". We already asked the hotel concierge to show us the Cantonese character so I can install it in the correct language.

There's more, but that's enough for now. :) We still adore Hong Kong, although I had a small ping of panic realizing how far from home we are... and how much further we have to go before we are home. It's a long trip and we are literally flying around the entire world. I will try to ignore the small travel anxiety that tends to creep up on me...