Hong Kong Day 4 - Parklife

4 October 2009

Saturday 3rd October

We fancied pancakes for breakfast so we went to a place called Pancake Colour. I ordered a mango pancake and was told that I was looking at the wrong menu. So I ordered a mango pancake from a different menu and was told that Pancake Colour wasn’t doing pancakes. But they were doing crepes. I thought they were the same thing, but hey ho. Although they were indeed offering mango crepe as a valid menu selection, I was intrigued by the sweet potato option so went for that instead. It was better than I expected, but I think it is better if it sticks to its role as a vegetable. The crepes were full of cream - rather too filling for breakfast, but then I’d already stuffed my face earlier that morning with a load of brioche from the 7-eleven shop opposite the hostel.

Will then left us to spend the day with his family, so me, Rachel and Nick were left to fend for ourselves. We headed south to take the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island, a short hop of only a few minutes, but one of the top items on the “must do” lists in the travel guides.

The area around the ferry was full of hawkers desparately selling their wares. “Nice suit, nice suit?” “Copy watch, copy Rolex?” Strangely I felt compelled to buy none of these things.

On Hong Kong Island, various walkways raise you above street level and it can be a little difficult to find your way around. We strolled for a bit taking photos of the skyscrapers and the old-fashioned trams.

In the large atrium under the Norman Foster-designed HSBC building, a mass of Philipino housemaids and nannies were enjoying their day off away from the houses of their employers. They were all over this part of town, in the parks and even the subways having picnics.

We ambled around Cheung Kong park, then got somed iced coffees and explored the Zoological & Botanical gardens. It was hot and humid - pretty tiring and so a slightly worrying sign for the massive hike we’re planning for Sunday, when 31 degree temperatures are forecast.

We then went to yet another park, simply called Hong Kong Park. The viewing tower gave us some impressive views of yet more skyscrapers and Victoria Peak.

It was time for food and we stumbled across a Vietnamese place. I had lemon chicken with rice, probably the most conventional by my standards of all the meals I’ve had here - I even ate it with a knife and fork. Tasty though. Nick had Vietnamese sausage with peanuts and satay sauce. There were two chilli symbols next to it on the menu which Nick presumed was out of five. It wasn’t. It was too painfully hot for him to finish.

Today’s full moon meant it was the mid-autumn festival. We walked around Victoria Park which was decorated with lanterns and where various festivities were taking place including shadow puppets and scary people in white makeup singing in high-pitched voices.

It is a festival tradition to eat mooncake, which according to Will should have one salty egg yolk in the middle surrounded by a beany paste. The one that we bought had sugary seeds and nuts in it - not bad a bit like sweetened hamster food for me.