Sunday, October 12, 2008
The weather gods have been kind to us again. Yesterday was bright, sunny and hot, perfect weather ofr our journey to the top of Victoria Peak. We were able to see for miles as we looked out over Hong Kong Island toward Kowloon. Today, on the other hand, is overcast and foggy, far from ideal for a trip to the Peak.
We started out around 10:30. Our only goal was to see if someone could explain a puzzling red indicator light on the video camera. As we walked through the Ocean Mall, we spotted Ed and Roxanne coming toward us. Roxanne was returning to the ship to shower after a passing pigeon mistook her for a public lavatory. Ed joined us because he needed extra batteries for his camera. Off we went, pretending to know where we were going. We discovered that the mall is divided into neighborhoods -- all of the women’s clothing stores were grouped together; sporting goods and athletic wear were together; and all of the electronics and camera stored were in the same area. We found our way to the third floor and went into the first camera store we saw. D’s video problem was diagnosed as a failing battery, so he bought a replacement as well as extra AAs and Ed bought more AAs, too.
We separated then and continued walking the mall. We tried to find the Toys-R-Us we had seen advertised but had no luck. We went out of the shopping center onto Canton Road and walked around before finding our way into the mall via a side entrance. We had passed other little junk stores as well as another high-rise shopping building but still didn’t see the toy store. We asked when we returned to the mall and got directions to the biggest Toys-R-Us we have seen. We did a little shopping [no hints for the readers in Indonesia] and decided to go to an early lunch.
MA had heard about a Chinese restaurant called the Jade Garden. She thought it was in the Ocean Mall but we realized, upon asking, that it was in the shopping tower we had been in earlier. Back we went to Canton Road. We found the restaurant without trouble – it was on the fourth floor and there were other Chinese restaurants on floors two and three as well. We were seated at a table for two, a change from yesterday’s adventure. English menus appeared complete with pictures and we selected, and shared, fried won tons and steamed dumplings.
The Jade Garden was several steps above the place where we ate yesterday. At no time did we wonder about our continued good health. The view from the windows was of Hong Kong Harbor. Like yesterday, though, we were the only Westerners present although a few others arrived while we were eating. The fried won tons may have been the best we’ve ever had because they were made with a very thin wrapper, not the heavy, doughy won tons we have come to expect in the State. The steamed dumplings were hot and flavorful, full of shrimp but a little sticky. Again, the wrappers were different from dumplings we have had in China and the US. We celebrated our adventure, for that’s what it was, with Diet Cokes. Do we know how to live?
There was only one show tonight, presented at 7 o’clock. This was a “tribute” to Chinese culture and contained four different acts. The first was a duet of piano and uher [sp?], the traditional Chinese violin which is played vertically, not held under the chin. Its sound was almost like the human voice and the musicians presented a varied program of four works. The first and last numbers were traditional Chinese but the middle two were definitely Western – Brahms’ Hungarian Dance #5 and Pachelbel’s Canon. This was a definite hit.
Next came the dragon dance. Accompanied by a rhythm section of drums and cymbals, ten young men made a forty-foot cloth dragon dance, chase a ball and slither over the stage. The performers were dressed all in black so they wouldn’t be visible while they worked, but so many people took flash photographs that it was impossible not to see them. As the dragon, held aloft by sticks, twisted and contorted, the handlers had to duck, turn and jump over the dragon. Since the dragon glowed under black light, it was really impressive.
The third act consisted of a pair of girls who did a traditional ribbon dance. The girls and their costumes seemed more Thai than Chinese to us and the routine they presented reminded us of the streamer portion of a rhythmic gymnastics competition. However, Olympic competitors would have been more synchronized. They were followed by an illusionist who moved about the stage waving his cape and changing his mask without blinking. It was impossible to tell how he did it which made his performance fascinating.
We were all at the table for dinner tonight [Patti and Russ had had other plans Friday and Saturday] and we exchanged stories about our adventures in Hong Kong. After supper, there was a farewell performance on the dock – another rhythm band and dragon performance. It was difficult to see because of sight lines and leaning people, but D thinks he was able to video enough of it to interest Carter.
Tomorrow is a sea day with plenty of time to work on that gigantic book and Tuesday we will be in Danang, Vietnam. Time to rest up for the hard part of the trip.