Day One – Hong Kong

After about a 30 minute cab ride (~$30), we arrived at the Intercontinental. We were quickly helped with our bags. Walking into the lobby, we were immediately struck by the stunning view of the Hong Kong skyline. The Intercontinental is in Kowloon which is across from Hong Kong island. As we quickly learned, it’s very easy to get back and forth between Hong Kong and Kowloon via the Star Ferry (named one of the fifty sites you must see in your lifetime by National Geographic). But I digress… there was no line at the check-in counter and and the check-in agent was helpful in directing us to Victoria Peak and a few other sites that we knew we’d want to visit. She also offered a few suggestions that hadn’t made it on our list. She wished us a happy honeymoon (ooops, apparently anniversary was lost in translation?) and informed us that our room was not yet ready. No matter, we had decided to push through jet lag and had planned on seeing sights immediately anyway. She promised to call when our room was ready and we were on our way.

Right in front of the Intercontinental is the Avenue of Stars. This is the Chinese version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The view of the harbor and skyline was amazing, but I must say, we weren’t really into the “stars” as we had never heard of most of them. What struck us right away was the humidity. The temperature wasn’t bad, but the humidity was gross. Just standing still you’d feel sweaty…

After checking out the Avenue of Stars, we meandered over to the Star Ferry terminal where we were two of three passengers over to Hong Kong. Upon arrival we decided to take a taxi to Victoria Peak to take the tram to the top. We had misunderstood the logistics of the tram so we ended up taking a taxi to the top of the peak and took the tram back down. The view from the top was stunning. The buildings here are huge and the peak dwarfed every single one of them. The tram was really cool, given its age, etc. but the views weren’t as great as I thought they’d be. You couldn’t really see past the trees that lined the track. But the pitch of the track did not disappoint. It is very steep in places.

After the cab ride that made Ken feel sick, we decided to walk back towards the Star pier. It didn’t look like a long distance and in the end it was a nice walk. It appeared to be women’s day out as there were groups of women sitting on cardboard all over the city eating, doing each other’s nails, talking, etc.

We decided to take the ferry back to Kowloon as we’d received a call letting us know our room was ready and we desperately needed a shower. After arriving back at the Intercontinental, we quickly received our keys and made our way to our room on the top floor. We were struck by the size. It had a separate desk with a sitting area and a bed that was set back. Given what I’d read about rooms at the Intercontinental, I think we were upgraded to an executive room. The bathroom had a tub with separate shower and a toilet separated from the rest of the bathroom. Given that we’d essentially paid $49 per night, this certainly worked for us!

We spent the next several hours resting and getting cleaned up. We were pretty tired but around dinner time we decided to make our way to the Lobby Lounge to secure a seat for the infamous Hong Kong Symphony of Lights. I ordered a Strawberry Daquiri and Ken got something with pressed limes. I emphasize the pressed limes because he wasn’t able to drink through the straw as it would clog with lime everytime. For dinner I had a toasted cheese sandwich (exciting, I know). Ken, in an effort to go healthy, had a mushroom burger which he claims is the third best burger he’s ever had. It had a Portobello mushroom for a patty instead of beef. He loved it and will likely try similar burgers in the future. At 8pm sharp, the Symphony of Lights began. It was far more lackluster than we expected. There were a few laser lights shining from the tops of several buildings across the harbor, but I think I was expecting something similar to the light show in Vegas, and this just wasn’t that.

After the show ended, we settled our bill (super expensive, but we considered it an anniversary celebration) and returned to our room. I think we both were sound asleep within 6 minutes of entering our room. All in all, a great day. We rested more than we probably intended to, but sleeping on our schedule isn’t something we get to do very often!

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