First Dispatch From Hong Kong

They say getting there is half the fun. I’m not so sure about that. My route was from Sarasota, Florida with a stop in Atlanta to JFK Airport in New York via Delta. Then flying from NY to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific. Distance covered was close to 14,000 miles and it took approximately 23 hours from take off to touchdown.  The domestic flights in the USA went off without a hitch – not withstanding a sleepless Tuesday night – I was afraid I’d sleep through my alarm set for 4:30 AM in order to prepare for a 5:30 AM pickup to drive to the Sarasota Airport.  I had a near miss for my Atlanta to JFK leg of the trip as I only had 35 Minutes between landing and boarding AND I went to the wrong gate. In Sarasota they told me I was arriving at B24 and the Flight was from A28. Only it was departing  from B14. So I had to double back chop/chop but I made it safely as boarding had already started but fortunately hadn’t concluded.

Arrived in Hong Kong Airport after the sleepless 15 hour 15 minute flight  which arrived at 6:15 PM ahead of schedule as we were supposed to arrive at 7:00 PM. However, that gain was lost in the lengthy queues to pass through the immigration/passport control. Took the Airport Express Train to Hong Kong Central Station. 23 minutes and $100 HK dollars – a bit more than $12 US . Tickets are purchased from a machine with English. Nice, quick, fast and easy. Only there was a lengthy queue for taxis at Central.

My destination was Tai-On-Terrace, in the Sheung Wan section of Hong Kong. which means it was up in the hills. It was all city but it was all uphill. Not at all doable with luggage. ‘Just tell the taxi driver Po Hing Fong’ were the instructions and they worked like a charm. It was about a ten minute taxi ride which cost about 32.5 HK dollars (a bit over $4 US). I had trouble finding the entrance to the apartment but a quick call to Estelle, the apartment owner – and she came right down and met me.

The apartment was an L-Shaped studio – with a small kitchen and a nice big shower. Actually the apartment was  beautifully furnished and came complete  with A/C , the all important and must in Hong Kong de-humidifier, a 40 inch flat-panel TV with cable and a DVD player, WiFi for my laptop, a down comforter for the bed, and fresh linens and towels. The kitchen was fully workable complete with a coffee maker, a microwave, toaster, a small fridge, and a two burner electric range plus a full range of plates, glasses, etc.

The apartment was on the 1st floor which in HK means up one flight of steps from the entrance. The only thing the place lacked was a good view. Best news of all – right downstairs, actually under the apartment was a Viennese styled coffee house called Cafe LoisL. The fresh brewed to order Caffe Americano  and the croissant were delicious. Open daily.

The apartment was owned by a lovely French woman, Estelle B who is an International Certified Personal Trainer and she is the owner and founder of her own business called – Be Fit, Be Toned, Be Relaxed, and Be Recovered – a small plug for her because she was nice, and the apartment was great. After not sleeping on Tuesday night and a long and tiring trip which took all of Wednesday and most of Thursday, sleep beckons.

The pictures are of the apartment.

Shopping trip to Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon -side) Friday morning went as planned except for the heat – 82 degrees. Bought new eye glasses and new prescription sun-glasses at Classy Optical on Peking Road, also bought a USB headphones for my laptop. On the flight over I managed to destroy the small connecting card and plug by stepping on them.  Had some lunch and did some food shopping for the apartment.

I also scouted out the restaurant for tonight – The Serenade in the Hong Kong Cultural Center which is right next to the Star Ferry Kowloon side, and the famed Clock Tower. Across the street is the Peninsula Hotel that had a flotilla of Rolls Royce automobiles in the driveway. Meeting for dinner will be my friend Jeannette who I know since 1999 and Yu Ling who I know since 2000, and her husband Steve who is a Professor in Shantou University, which is sightly more than an hour away by plane.

This morning, going down hill past Blake Gardens, a small pocket park of greenery a couple of blocks away, and then down the rest of the way to the Sheung Wan MTR Station, I noticed something – one that I wasn’t ever going to walk up to the apartment from the MTR station. Two: every one that was walking up hill was walking very slowly, even the kids. And three – the steps weren’t made for the big feet of the westerners like me. They were decidedly small for the shorter Cantonese people.

I’m still a little tired from the jet-lag so an afternoon nap is a distinct possibility.

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