Hong Kong Day 12 (January 5, 2006)

6 01 2006

We went to Ocean Park today. 

Woke up at 0800, and watched a bit of the news. Apparently Hong Kong is under a sever cold weather warning.  Emergency shelters are being opened up.  The highs during this time are expected to be…. 15C  Yup.  Extreme cold warning.  I had to chuckle.

We took in our laundry to the cleaners.  Then we headed off to Ocean Park.  We walked down to the bus stop, and hopped on the bus to take us to Ocean Park.  We got there quickly, and were into Ocean Park by 1015.  Pleasant place, clean, and well kept.  It was a Thursday, so the crowds were thin.  The sky was heavy.  It really felt like rain.  Humidity was over 85%. I was concerned that we’d be rained upon.   We zipped in, and got quickly to the cable cars so that we could get up to the headland area.   Once on the cable car, the views of Deepwater, Repulse, and Stanley bays were great, other than the haze.  It was pretty windy, but the cable car ride was smooth.

Once up on the headlands, we headed over to the shark tank.  It was cool. They had sawfish, a great white, rays.  All gliding smoothly through the water, effortlessly.  The teeth on  the sharks were huge, and numerous.  You definitely didn’t want one of these guys chomping on you. 

Ray:

We then continued over to the atoll reef.  It was very interesting.  you started at the tide pool,  and then you get to spiral deeper and deeper to see larger and larger animals as you descend around the coral reef. 

Reef fish pics:

Barracuda!

From the atoll reef, we went for a ride on the ferris wheel.  It was a gentle wheel, and afforded some great views over the Hong Kong area.  Unfortunately the wind and haze really put a damper on the beauty. 

View from the Ferris Wheel:

After the ferris wheel, it was over to the “Pacific Pier” to see the seals and sea lions.  After much walking, we arrived at the pier to find it closed. 😦  We could see them through the construction fence, but there really wasn’t any vantage point.

We went down to the “Mine train”, and I tried to convince Mrs D to ride the ‘coaster.  She would have none of that, so I rode it by myself.  They don’t make these coasters particularly roomy. I’m pretty sure I don’t fit the profile of the average asian customer, so my knees pushed up against the front of the car and the safety bar, when pushed down all the way, pretty much seemed to crush me.  I was obviously not going to slip out of this car, that’s for sure.  It was a great ride.  Short, but great.  The neat thing is that the majority of the rides in the park are free!

Me on the mine train:

We headed to the cable car again, and went down to the lowlands.  Once there, we checked out the two giant pandas and went over to the butterfly house.  The pandas are quite serene, and relaxed, but given the size of these things, it would seem unwise to disturb them.  They are very nimble with their front paws, picking up bamboo, and eating it.  They apparently spend about 50% of their day eating, 44% of their day sleeping. 

Lunch time:

The butterfly house was hot, steamy and full of aromatic flowers.  The butterflies were fluttering about, and some of the people passing through were a little freaked by all the flying insects.  I thougth it was very interesting, and took some great pictures. 

Beautiful resting butterfly:

On our way out of the park,  we stopped by the flamingos and watched as they twisted their necks in an almost rubberlike fashion. The Macaws were colourful and stately with the odd squawk at passers-by.  It was already 1500, and we had been in the park for five hours!  How  time flies!  We had to get going, so stopped only briefly at the souvenir shop, and headed out.  On to the bus, and a stop at the laundry.  We were home by almost 1630.  Mrs D suggested we head out around 1800 and try a “Steak Specialty” restaurant near the apartment.  Basically, it was pretty much like a restaurant we have back in Vancouver (Richmond), Pestos.  We had a good set meal, Borsch, Argentinean beef with veggies and fries as well as a nice iced coffee.

Christine called while we were finishing dinner, and came over to the apartment with us to give us some RMB for our trip to the mainland.  She also took the time to go through the itinerary with me, so that I could do a quick ‘Net lookup on the key points, since the tour will be all in Cantonese.

After getting the last two days of blogging caught up, I went to sleep at 2330, and had the alarm set for 0700, so that we’d be ready to go in the morning.

It appears that while I’m behind the great firewall of China, I am unable to get to my Google Mail (among other websites), and not able to use MSN 😦  If you wish to get in touch with me, please use the comment form on the blog.  It’s the only way.

Some more pics up on http://www.fotothing.com/dragonspeed

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