Friday, May 7, 2010

A surprisingly good sleep. No jet lag whatsoever! Up at 8.30 am and off for breakfast in the Club lounge. Great selection of wonderful breads and pastries. Catherine was particularly impressed with the almond croissants! The service at the Inter-Continental is probably the best we have experienced anywhere - the concierge in the lounge even took it upon herself to make up a sightseeing package for us without us even asking. We went to check out the outdoor pool deck and were amazed at how wonderful it was. This place is truly an oasis in one of the great cities of the world. Upon deciding today would be Hong Kong Island day, we jumped on the world famous Star Ferry for the trip over to the island and took the Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak for some breathtaking scenery of the city below. The extensive shopping facilities at the Peak were completely unexpected and over the top! After taking in the view from the observation deck, we set off on the 3 km Peak Trail hike. The hike took just under an hour and was the highlight of the day. Lush vegetation and wonderful views of Hong Kong. We took the tram back down and then walked over to the Garden Street shopping area. Felt like London but with thick vegetation and tall buildings. After a stop at M&S, we made our way to the Mid-Level Escalator system. We took the escalator the whole way from bottom to top, stopping in the Soho district for a late lunch. Upon reaching the top of the escalator system, we walked back down again and wound our way through the elevated pedestrian system back to the Star Ferry for the trip back to Kowloon. Had a relaxing cup of tea back in the Hotel Club lounge with some snacks for dinner. Time to rest up for tomorrow’s walkabout.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Arrived at 5.45 pm. What a great airport! Huge and teeming with people but very clean, modern and super quiet. Grabbed our bags and jumped in a cab to head over to Kowloon and the Inter-Continental Hotel in the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront district. Wonderful hotel with a fantastic location. We checked in and couldn’t believe the view from our room. Only problem was that the room was a smoking room so we asked to switch it hoping that we could keep the same view. The hotel came through for us. We went down to the lounge for some snacks and a drink while they sorted the room out. Very impressive lounge and great snacks - including vegetable samosas and strips of beef with mushroom sauce. At 8.00 pm, there was a laser light show on the various buildings lining the waterfront. Perfect view from the lounge. After getting settled in the room, we decided to go for a walk nearby. We went up Nathan Road, a busy shopping district and Catherine successfully bought a pair of shoes in the first shop she went into! We were approached several times to purchase knock-off bags and watches but were a little concerned about checking out the merchandise when they wanted to take us off to some second floor rooms just off the main road. We decided to skip it. After walking along Nathan Road, we headed back to the hotel to walk along the waterfront which was named Avenue of the Stars. Fantastic views of the Hong Kong Island waterfront across the water. The walk and fresh air made us tired so we made our way back to the hotel to rest up for a day of exploration on Friday.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Up at 4.00 am. Showered, dressed, checked out and ready to check-in for San Francisco at the United Counter by 4.30 am. Quite impressive for non-morning people! Flight left at 6.00 am - first flight of the day. Got the dreaded middle seat but slept most of the way so no big deal. Landed in San Francisco by 8.00 am - early. Looks like a beautiful day and a great time for a Starbucks. But alas, there is no Starbucks in the San Francisco airport! Settled for a macchiato instead at some local coffee bar but not quite what I had in mind. We headed for United’s business class lounge where we rustled up some toast and cereal, and checked a few emails. Fired up the laptop and logged into our tv back home where we watched the Biggest Loser - need to log in again later when we get to Hong Kong to catch Survivor - Go Russell, Go Parvati! The Hong Kong flight was called at noon and we made our way to the departure gate. We are in business class for the rest of our trip - the flat beds are a real treat. Left on time and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the flight is only thirteen and a half hours - was expecting something closer to fifteen hours. Sometime in the middle of the afternoon, Wednesday became Thursday. We are almost flying over Tokyo now and have four and half hours to go. Catherine is asleep and I’m listening to Coldplay. Should be on the ground by 5.45 pm. Where did Thursday go?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Left a cold, snowy, blustery day in Calgary at the beginning of May (go figure) to head to Vancouver - the starting point of our trip to Asia. The plane left an hour late and Catherine used the extra time to get familiar with her new iPad. This was our first time back in Vancouver since the Olympic Games and it was weird to see the airport back to normal again after all the Olympic activity a few weeks before. We stayed at the Fairmont Hotel in the airport. What a great place! Really good mini slider sampler plate for dinner - comprised of a mini hamburger with cheese and bacon, a mini pulled pork roll with BBQ sauce and a mini chicken roll with provolone cheese. This was so good we have already planned to come back for lunch when we get back to Canada in a couple weeks time! Off to bed now. Need to be up at 4.00 am to catch our 6.00 am flight to San Francisco and then the marathon flight to Hong Kong.