There was a short line at the visitors
entrance, and we breezed right through. Not only were no questions asked, I
donít remember any words being spoken at all. Collecting baggage was equally
quick. There are some advantages to a
By the time we collected our luggage, we were early for our
hotel shuttle, and had 30 minutes to kill hanging around the airport. By , the airport is jumping. All of the stores
and restaurants are open. The new, (to me), Chek Lap Kok airport is like every other big, modern, airport, so it
is not much of a culture change. Lorraine
was relieved to see a nice coffee place, and the kidís first look of Asia
was McDonalds. 10 year old Michael, reports that so far, nothing different
about being in a new country.
Soon our shuttle came, and we had a scenic drive from LantauIsland
across the new Tsing Ma suspension bridges to our
hotel.† I think the new SF Bay Bridge
will look like these?
We arrived a little early for stores to be open, so we spent
some time napping, checking in, and checking things out. The Metropole Hotel is in the Waterloo
district of Kowloon, and is nice enough. A little
more Chinese than I remembered Hong Kong hotels to be,
but it will be a good transition to the rest of China.
They require you to insert your card key into a slot, or else you have no
electricity. This made for some interesting experiments before we figured this
out. By now, it was 9:30am CST, and getting close to
dinner time PDT. I wasnít hungry, but that biological clock said to eat, so we
sat down to an American breakfast buffet in the hotel. It was a good thing I
wasnít hungry, as the food definitely had a local interpretation. The sausage
and eggs were rather oily, but the fruit and breads were delicious.
After breakfast, the teenagers, including my daughter, took
off, and we never saw them again until dinnertime. About this time, Grandpa
made the call to my dadís cousin, for arrangements for our visit to the
village. It was good that Chui Sum was friends with Lorraineís
mother. Grandpa went to meet his photolab manager,
and the other elders went to rest. The rest of us went exploring.† We just went up Waterloo,
which is a main street, and ran into McDonalds within a block. We looked to see
if the teenagers had discovered this yet, but they were not to be found. Later
we would find out why.† They had grabbed
a taxi, and led by Barnaby, had taken off to Times Square,
wherever that is. Lorraine and
Josephine went straight to the little concession stands, and bought various
snacks, and alternated this with diving into shops for a little air
conditioning. Not all the stores were open yet, and we went back to the hotel.
Back at the hotel, it was time for me to start my cyber
adventure, and see if I could get power and internet. The first thing I
discovered is that my US
to HK adapter doesnít accept the 3 prong, grounded plug of my Dell. I tried
plugging my modem into the phone, but I couldnít get a dial tone. 2 challenges, and 2 failures. I tried Patís 220 to 110 radio
shack transformer, since the plugs fit better but it promptly sizzled, and
smoked. While it was working, the LCD on my laptop was flickering, and this did
not look like a viable solution. The dell handles 240, so the adapters without
power conversion are better. After some futzing, I was able to jam the 2 prong
into the adapter, ignoring the grounding prong, so now I have power.† I spoke to the front desk, and they said the
phone works for data, and gave me an adapter to try. The HK phone plug is like
a cross between and RJ11 and an RJ45. By using this adapter, and dialing 9,
just like at a US
hotel, I was able to reach the local HK earthlink number I wrote down before
leaving the States.
For our afternoon exploring, we took a taxi to TsimShaTsui,
and Nathan road. This is where we stayed 20 years ago, (our old Holiday Inn
hotel was still there), so I was familiar with this
shopping district. We went for a ferry ride on the Star Ferries, just like 20
years ago, to Hong KongIsland.
I donít remember having air conditioning, back then, but now they have it in
the higher priced seats, and it was a welcome relief. The one-way fare is
$2.20HK, about 35 cents US$. I think it was a nickel before. By now we were
pretty hot, and Lorraine wanted
to go to the air-conditioned mall where she spent a lot of time on the last
trip. Ocean Terminal Shops is right next to the Star Ferry. In addition to the
air conditioning, we also found a floor dedicated to computer shops. Here, I
was able to get information on how to solve my power and connection problems.
That little RJ45 to RJ11 cord is only good in HK, as China
does something different, but I bought one anyway. China
also uses a different AC plug, so I bought one of those adapters too. I found a
128 meg smart media card for 380$HK, so I got one of
these and that completed my purchases in HK. Pat was looking for an AC adapter,
that he forgot to bring for his iPac, but they were a
few dollars more than the states, and not a good deal.
We tried to bargain for a some
pirated game boy games for Michael, but we realized we would not be informed
enough for a purchase, without some research from an expert. After Trond educated us, I think we can buy on the way home.
I had forgotten about the Hall curse, until Lorraine,
Josephine, and Pat (in that order), were lost. From now on, I would be sure to
look at the map myself, and carry my GPS, which had our hotel saved on it.
Taxis donít stop on Nathan road, because it is too busy, and as soon as we were
told this, by a policeman, we were able to catch a taxi on a side street.† All of the taxis were red, right-hand drive
Toyotas. That yellow cab, I almost got into, was a hiway
By the time we were meeting for dinner, at , some serious jet lag was kicking in,
and half our party overslept, and had to be fetched. Michael fell asleep at the
dinner table, and I was feeling like a zombie. We decided to ward off the jet
lag, and digest by going to one to the night markets. Not the big one on Temple
Road, but a smaller one near
our hotel. This is where all of the Rolex copies, and
pirated game boys are. I was falling asleep while walking, so I bailed and went
back to my room. These rooms are too small to accommodate a family of 4, so we
got 2 rooms for our family. When I got back, I fell asleep on top of the
covers, and just woke up. It is
Friday, CST, but Thursday, PDT.
I am wide awake now, so I guess I am still on California
time. As soon as I post this, Iíll try to get back to sleep, as we are checking
out tomorrow, and taking a hovercraft to Nanhai, to
see the HallVillage.