November 30, 2008

My First Day in Hong Kong

Our first day in Hong Kong was a crazy, fun, dizzying tour of this fantastic city. Our friend and fabulous tour guide, Matt, guided us as we criss-crossed the city and experienced a the broad range of what this city has to offer.

From our hotel, we walked to breakfast and then took the tram up the peak. Overlooking the city from this height is beautiful. We were lucky to experience this view on a day with clear blue sky and sunshine, a striking view of a striking city. Next we climbed back into the tram and descended back to the bustling streets.

Late in the morning, following some time in the shops and on the streets of Central, we traveled by public transportation to Diamond Hill to visit a garden and temple. The garden and temple are situated on the grounds of a Buddhist nunnery and is an amazingly beautiful and calming place. We walked through the garden paths, enjoying and photographing the flowers, plants, trees, ponds, and buildings. Standing in front of the front of the statues in the temple I felt relaxed and quiet, even in the middle of this vibrant and hectic city. Before leaving the nunnery we stopped for a delicious vegetarian meal in the cafe in the middle of the garden.

After our relaxing and rejuvenating time in the temple and gardens we returned to the fast-paced streets. In the Mong Kok area were dove into the crowds and experienced the craziness of the Lady's Market and shops of this area. Being a Saturday the market and shops were packed with people and noise – it was an intense and fun experience! From there we continued on foot towards the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui to check that neighborhood. We continued walking and walking – exploring the shops and sights.

We eventually ended up at the Peninsula for a relaxing – and much appreciated high tea. Scones, tea, and classical music were a contradiction to the busy streets outside. As it became dark outside we headed to the edge of the harbor to watch the lights of the Hong Kong Island before riding the ferry back across the water to our hotel.

It was a great day – great food, a beautiful day, and a fun tour of the city thanks to an excellent guide (thanks Matt)!

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