A Travellerspoint blog

Our last day before returning to AUS - what to do?

overcast 31 °C

Hong Kong had a brilliant lightening storm yesterday afternoon and we watched most of it from the 41st floor of the hotel whilst we were in the gym. Mandy and I have managed to only gain about 1kg since we left which, given the amount and quality of food and drink consumed; we are astounded. Mind you, we have done lots of walking so that probably helps. We decided last night that on our last day in HK that we would get up early and walk down to the harbour before a leisurely breakfast, pack the suitcases and then a session in the Chuan Spa here at the hotel.

a great spa treatment

Great idea, the only problem is that we both had a crap nights sleep with about 3 hours max. No idea why, the room is great and the bed one of the best of the trip. We're putting it down to a big trip and go, go, go. So anyway it was up at 7AM and we slow walked (for us anyway; we still built up a fair sweat) down to the harbour. The air was clearer today thanks to the storm last night and a slight breeze coming in from the ocean. The streets were less hectic but the smell remains as does the rubbish. Hong Kong is a vibrant place all the same and we will return. Next time we will be better able to visit further afield. In the circumstances, the Langham has been really handy as we've not had to go far to see things. Did lots of market shopping and that was fun.

Had a quick breakfast and then packed our bags. We now have that down to a fine art and this leg of the journey sees us travelling in business so we have more in the way of a baggage allowance when we check in and that will help. Tired of lugging bags onto planes, trains and boats.

Off to the treatment which Mandy organised. Had one in Singapore which was a bit ordinary and one in Budapest which was a bit rough. (those Eastern European ladies are like wrestlers-I felt like I had come off second best let me tell you). Anyway here we had a foot pedicure and massage. Then onto a facial which took nearly three hours. I fell asleep in both and it was wonderful. The lady really had some work to do on my feet and she worked up a sweat.

What's with the hand gestures Mandy......

What's with the hand gestures Mandy......

You want to do what, where. With that thing; you're kidding......

You want to do what, where. With that thing; you're kidding......

This will sort him out....all those crappy comments at my expense in the blogs!!

This will sort him out....all those crappy comments at my expense in the blogs!!

Are you sure it's going to hurt him....

Are you sure it's going to hurt him....

The sessions were so good Mandy did her usual thing and caught a quick granny nap in the hotel club lounge.

She told me that the view was great.....inside of her eyelids.

She told me that the view was great.....inside of her eyelids.

What Mandy missed.

What Mandy missed.

After a late checkout we stayed in the lounge until 7pm when the hotel limo took us to the airport. It is a Sunday night so it took only 20 minutes when the normal journey can take upwards of an hour.

Tomorrow Sydney and home. It's been a trip for sure. One last blog entry to go thank god.

So here we sit in the Qantas lounge waiting for the flight to be called. It leaves at 2330 and the latest typhoon alert has us getting out before any strong winds/galeforce rain socks the airport.

The latest tracking has any storm impact missing us and delays avoided

The latest tracking has any storm impact missing us and delays avoided

Crossing our fingers and hoping for a little sleep.

Posted by mandt0413 06:47 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Day 3 Hong Kong

Missed a day somewhere - we know about the term jet lag now. I thought it was a load of crap but it's legit ......

overcast 35 °C

We slept very little on our first night in Hong Kong and consequently we were out pretty early to find cameras for Ellie and Tyson. Apart from that our second day was spent in a haze.

And now it's our third day, Hong Kong is literally in a haze. The weather is very hot and humid and whilst the smog is dreadful, it will clear later this evening and tomorrow. Mainly due to a Typhoon which is bearing done on the Island.....great and a storm expected tonight.

Hong Kong from the hotel lounge-bad smog

Hong Kong from the hotel lounge-bad smog

This compares to Hong Kong on our arrival and on the way in from the airport which is located on another Island.

From Lantau Island (airport) looking back toward the New Territories

From Lantau Island (airport) looking back toward the New Territories

Our hotel is located at Kowloon on the mainland side of the city, in the area of Mong Kok. Mong Kok has everything and there is no need to travel elsewhere. There are markets of every type, food areas and shopping centres. This visit for us is about us being able to relax and we're glad; given the jet lag we had yesterday.

Street shopping

Street shopping

This is a quiet spot. Most of the markets are chaos and you have to wear sunglasses so as not to lose and eye from umbrellas. It's not even raining.

Markets

Markets

The markets are broken down into category and specific ones that we've been to are; ladies, fish, electronics, temple and goldfish. We had nothing to eat in the goldfish one........fish cakes were big let me tell you.

Meat market

Meat market

This looks quiet, believe me it is anything but.

The fish market even made me crook.....I've been around fish all me life but hell, I wouldn't eat anything here and I have a cast iron stomach. I've travelled a lot throughout Asia over the last 40 years but this even surprises me because of the lack of cooling and closeness of the product to the public.

Chop Chop Chop - literally

Chop Chop Chop - literally

I'm sure that locally this is a delicacy

I'm sure that locally this is a delicacy

My favourite was the eels. I said to Mandy "shit..get a photo of the eels" and then the one eyeing her off, tried to get her. Aggressive slippery little suckers, someone will eat them.
Watched her the whole time; they weren't even pickled eels

Watched her the whole time; they weren't even pickled eels

A great shopping choice, they were right next to the frogs!!!

Eels and Frogs; my perfect entree.

Eels and Frogs; my perfect entree.

At least they weren't cane toads

At least they weren't cane toads

Enough of the markets, we decided to have a look at the Goldfish again.

Just loved the fish in blown up plastic bags ready for sale. A lot of trust here that the bag won't break.

Just loved the fish in blown up plastic bags ready for sale. A lot of trust here that the bag won't break.

Pick a fish, any fish or turtle.

Dinner or pet; decisions, decisions, decisions

Dinner or pet; decisions, decisions, decisions

Turtles by the dozen

Turtles by the dozen

Anyway, it was a pretty awful day with the smog and heat so we went back to the hotel. Did I mention that our suite was just the best. We've stayed at a lot of nice places but if you're ever in HK, this place would take a lot of beating. I won't even begin to explain how good it is or show any photo's. The cleanliness is brilliant and appreciated.

Tomorrow is our final day on the holiday. We can't believe just how fast it has gone. Brilliant period of time is the best description that I could possible give it.

The lounges have been great and a wonderful place to relax. Unlike Australia where the alcohol finishes at 8pm and the food continues, we have found the opposite on our trip. The food is brilliant, in as much as you don't need to eat out because there is plenty in the lounge. But in every lounge, the food goes off precisely at 8pm.......but the alcohol continues.........yahoo.

Here in HK it's any alcohol 24 hours a day. The happy hour in Budapest was 6pm until 10pm........some hour. Clearly they don't know how Aussies can eat into their profits with booze being so readily available. Heaven.

Posted by mandt0413 05:56 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

London to Honkers via USSR and a massage chair

rain 16 °C

As I write this we are 28 hours without sleep so I expect to make a few typo's. Yes Julia me, get something wrong; I know its a little hard to believe.

We spent our last day in London doing our favourite travel past time, washing. Found a laundrette just around the corner in a suburb that is just define. I sound a bit gay when I'm tired. But really this place has such a good feel, cuban eateries, 40's clothes stores, old style hairdressers and a gay club.

So, we were able to leave the UK with a suitcase (sorry suitcases) full of clean clothes. We had a walk beforehand, did the laundry and checked out around 1PM.

We decided on catching the Metro out to Heathrow and at about $10 for the two of us and luggage, it was a better option than a cab. The traffic had increased significantly since the start of the week and lead up to Olympics, British Golf Open and Test matches. Madonna and Bruce Springstein also had concerts so with Mandy and I also in town, the place is officially swinging.

We couldn't figure out whether this was the back or front of this olympic mascot

We couldn't figure out whether this was the back or front of this olympic mascot

If it's the front, he's pleased to see us. If it's the back, he's got a bad case of piles/worms and Mandy has just the tablets to cure it. Tasmanian farmer's daughter knows all these fixes. As a queenslander I didn't know anything about worms until I met Mandy, we hadn't finished our first date and she had me on worm tablets. Haven't got off the crapper since......but I digress.

Arrived at Heathrow in plenty of time and worked our way through security. Mandy got picked out for a random body search and I got to watch.........excellent stuff, keep up the good work attractive female security staff. Anyway bad news was that our baggage also got the third degree and we are now without Carmel's present which we carried around since Europe and some make up. Apparently we can't have liquids in our bags....still I feel more confident about flying when good security is present.

Bought some frog somethings for Tyson from Harrods (he's very particular about what sunnies he'll be seen in) can't be just any old Oaklies,,,,,,

Our boy is particular about his sunnies; me any polaroid will do.....

Our boy is particular about his sunnies; me any polaroid will do.....

Heathrow is so big and we had heard all sorts of concerns being raised about delays, this was not the case. We stayed in the business lounge until 30 minutes before departure and then caught the transit train over to boarding. All very smooth and seamless.

British Airways Business Lounge Heathrow waiting for our flight out

British Airways Business Lounge Heathrow waiting for our flight out

How big is this escalator. Mandy hates them. I thought I was the only one with fear of heights.

Transfer between terminals Heathrow

Transfer between terminals Heathrow


Heathrow terminal 5

Heathrow terminal 5

Into the plane - it was still raining when we left London so the place is consistent. 6 days in a row.

The flight to Honkers was pretty full and delayed by only a short time. The flight took us over USSR and Northern China. It was disconcerting because out of a 13 hour flight it was daylight the whole time. Read my book, did crosswords, drank wine and watched two movies. Didn't get a minute of sleep. We did better on the bus tours in Europe.......

I saw Hunger Games which was really good and worth buying on DVD and Exceptional Marigold Hotel. This was a Brit movie set in India and it was excellent. Top cast and would recommend it. I also got half way through Chariots of Fire and its hard to believe just how old this is. Still a fabulous movie and I must buy it.

Well folks, I am making so many typing mistakes and the corrections are taking so long. Julia, I have proofed this in order to not disappoint you with my errors.

Arrived in Hong Kong and again my research paid off with the transfer service to the hotel. The Langham is to say the least really classy. If there was a 6 star hotel this would be it.

I will explain further but currently we are currently 30+ hours without sleep, we are in the lounge and I have had 5 johnnie walker black label scotches and a carlsburg beer; Mandy has been spoiled by staff with a ice blue cocktail or 2-3-4-5 and we are just about had it........tomorrow another day. Can't stay up for the laser show on the harbour; well we saw it from the lounge and it looks pretty good. Mandy has spied the massage chair in the lounge and she's gone ski...must get some sleep to re-envigorate to shop for Ellie.

This is better than the strip search

This is better than the strip search

oh oh oh oh

oh oh oh oh

Jet lag my ars.......

Jet lag my ars.......

Posted by mandt0413 05:17 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Last full day in London a few things yet to do

overcast 20 °C

The poor weather has meant that a few things we wanted to do just couldn't be done. No matter we've still had a good time in London. With the olympics only a week away, it is clearly becoming more hectic. The streets are full and many of the "things to do" are either full or not being undertaken.

One of the things that we wanted to do today was get tickets to the matinee show "Jersey Boys". We found a place where all tickets are half price but later discovered that such is not now happening until after August. We aren't that desperate to see the show at the full price when we can see it in Oz.

As it was a fine day (unbelievable) we decided to walk the streets. First surprise was a changing of the guard ceremony for the Royal Guards Horse.

Nobody does ceremony like the POMS

Nobody does ceremony like the POMS

Horse Show in central London

Horse Show in central London

Half a mile up the road we were stopped by a television crew from China wanting us to pose with their Mascot. I've never been backward when no one knows me so in we went.

Stage 1 was a breeze

Stage 1 was a breeze

Then the crunch came, the crew wanted us to say something in Cantonese......Mandy got the idea and after a few takes we must have got it right because they were beside themselves......No idea what we said.

Take two......say what?

Take two......say what?

Take three

Take three

So much for Regent Street, we needed to get away so it was off to Carnaby Street to check out the fashions and have lunch.

Decided that we should have a traditional lunch so stopped into a pub for bangers and mash. We couldn't do it and ended up having hamburger (really good) and veggie roll. No guesses about what I had to eat....

Typical British Pub and meal; Still holding hands.

Typical British Pub and meal; Still holding hands.

After buying some more clothes it was a casual stroll back to the hotel via Fleet Street and The Strand.

Tomorrow another sleep in, do some washing and then off to Heathrow in the afternoon for our flight to Hong Kong. Certainly on our way home now.

Posted by mandt0413 09:20 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

UK in the middle of Summer; Let's go to the beach........

rain 10 °C

Back to my dear old Dad again who used to say that as a kid growing up in summer, everyone went to the beach.....probably saved the weekly bath discussed yesterday.

So, I say to Mandy "let's go babe, we'll have a swim and sun ourselves".

Say what......

Say what......

It's 10 degrees!!

It's 10 degrees!!

I've always said that there is no such thing as can't, cold and showers. Mandy had always wanted fish and chips in Brighton; so off we go.

First up a brisk walk to the station to warm us up and then an express (via 6 other stations) to Brighton and the beach. It was still fairly early and few people were on the road.

not many on the road this early...sleep in when we get home dear.

not many on the road this early...sleep in when we get home dear.

And it started to rain....this may not be such a good idea.

And it started to rain....this may not be such a good idea.

A pretty quick trip in the train saw us arrive in "sunny Brighton" after about 50 minutes. We couldn't see much of the country side because the line is bordered on both sides by hedges of trees restricting the view. Shame as this was part of our reasoning to visit Brighton.

Brighton Railway Station

Brighton Railway Station

The rain and then the wind picked up intensity, our umbrella frames were starting to part ways from the fabric. It probably has something to do with the amount of use they have received since we arrived.
Brighton Streets are busy

Brighton Streets are busy

The wind chill factor must have been just above zero so it was time for coffee. The latte and warmth were just heaven. Mandy (god I love this woman) dozed off. I should have learnt by now, she's just not into history and my discussion on Brighton being formerly part of the non-metropolitan county of East Sussex, remaining part of the ceremonial county of East Sussex, within the historic county of Sussex. Was just a little too much for her.

I should have learnt by now

I should have learnt by now

Time to find the beach, that will wake her up a bit. If it wasn't for the crappy weather, Brighton would probably be a fun place. They advertise free admission to the pier and use of the deck chairs.....what is this about??

Keep heading east and we'll find the beach. We found the water but no beach.

Where's the beach??

Where's the beach??

Ok, so we understood that Hyams Beach was unique with the whitest sand but this is ridiculous. It was rocks, rocks and more rocks. I knew that the UK had different beaches but seriously, you can't call this a beach.

beach my arse

beach my arse

So a swim was out. The temperature had dropped to 5 degrees, there was no sand and the wind had picked up......all in all only time for a quick dip for an old tough ex navy diver. Needed to work myself up first.

Good to be back; where's the little mermaid

Good to be back; where's the little mermaid

Break in the story. I'm writing this whilst we're sitting in the lounge having a scotch to warm up and I shit you not; if Mandy asks me once more what the time is I'll scream.
Look up Holmesie you goose

Look up Holmesie you goose

This is the view from the lounge, yet I still look at my watch when Mandy asks me the time. Where was I, Brighton.

So the beach is not a beach, yet for my dip I am assured of my safety because they have .......wait for it. A life guard. Red flags were out, no one was in the water, wind velocity was about 8 on the Beaufort Scale (fresh scale) and yet the life guard was on the rocks...and looked fast asleep. Who could sleep in this.

The life guard on duty; rain, hail or shine

The life guard on duty; rain, hail or shine


Loved the surf board. Tyson would have laughed at the idea of surf here.

Well we made it and to prove it we had to have the "been there" photo. Mandy's hair was literally as if she'd stuck her finger into a power outlet it was so windy.

No wonder I have no hair.....

No wonder I have no hair.....

Off to the Pier. You can't visit Brighton without going to the Pier. There were people everywhere and most of them were struggling to walk against the wind. It was so cold, Mandy and I were dressed for the regular Boxing Day at Bondi and everyone else were in coats, wellington boots and beanies. My nipples were about an inch long and my will.... let's not go there. It was definitely brass monkey weather.

Mandy needed some friction to stay warm and I was prepared to volunteer

Mandy needed some friction to stay warm and I was prepared to volunteer

Check out the people behind Mandy, they were sensible. So having visited Brighton, I was up for a dip. You will see me in the next photo leading the way into the water for the idiots school kids. Needless to say, no one followed me into the water. No heart.

A quick dip into the English Channel

A quick dip into the English Channel

It was just like my dive in Port Arthur in winter. I felt a lump behind each ear and I couldn't feel anything below the waist. Time to get out as a mild case of hypothermia was starting to set in. Time for lunch and the much awaited Fush and Chups.

So after drying myself with the beach navy style (rocks) and a cuddle with the goddess to restore some heat (she was as cold as a mother in laws kiss let me tell you), it was off for some lunch.

Found a little restaurant up from the beach and out of the wind. I had the fush and chups and Mandy had risotto. Go figure.......she wanted to come to Brighton originally to have fish and chips. I wanted her to have the Jellied Eels but she wouldn't be in it. Slippery little suckers is how she put it to me.

My favourite slippery eels

My favourite slippery eels

The restaurant was very old and consisted of three flights but in width was no wider than a normal bedroom. Very quaint is how I would best describe it.

Lunch in Brighton

Lunch in Brighton

hypothermia averted

hypothermia averted

Not going to show you what Mandy ate. Very unbritish....

Not going to show you what Mandy ate. Very unbritish....

Note I have to wear my glasses to eat now, least Mandy slip in some vego meal on me.

After a lazy Monday lunch and having recovered some body warmth, it was off back to London. I admit whilst we have no photos to prove it, we both had a granny nap on the way back. We intended to stop off half way at a cafe that we spied on the outward journey but missed the stop on the way back. The name of the cafe intrigued us; Peckish.

Tomorrow we're going to West End to see a stage show and do an early morning walk of the London icons. No better way than spending our last full day in the "old dart". Especially as it's starting to get a little busy now that the olympics are less than a week away.

Posted by mandt0413 12:27 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged beach the by brighton Comments (0)

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