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Saturday 16th October - Hong Kong
By Claire
Tuesday, 19th October 2004 06:21

After brunch we managed to upload some diary entries - finally! I think we're becoming a bit of an institution at the internet cafe, and the guys there bring us drinks the moment they see us come out of the lift. It's like we're regulars! Then we took the metro to the end of the line and booked ferry tickets to Macau for the morning - instead of having to find the ferry terminal, there was a desk inside the station so we didn't even have to go outside.

Then on to Kowloon, an area of Hong Kong we haven't really seen yet. I much preferred Hong Kong Island though. Kowloon was full of tourists and persisten men trying to sell us suits and handbags; in Causeway Bay the worst we get is people handing out leaflets. We emerged from the metro on Nathan Road, a major shopping street completely packed with people going in all directions and roadworks too.There was a lot of drilling. We walked to Kowloon park to get our bearings and have a bit of a rest by the fountain, nipping down a couple of alleyways with a bit more character than we'd had on the island. Lots of market stalls, wet back streets and dark corners, much more like Asia!

Next up was Flower Market Street which was, well, full of flower shops. It smelled nice, of cut greenery and lilies. Lots of people were carrying newspaper-wrapped bundles. The street eventually led to the bird market, where hundreds of tiny songbirds were chirping in ornate bamboo cages that seemed far too small. Further down the road the birds got bigger and there were more Australian mynah birds, gulahs and cockateils. I don't really like seeing the large birds all cooped up, but there wasn't a huge amount that I could do about it - even buying them all and setting them free would probably result in their deaths.

Another MTR ride took us to the Taoist temple of Wong Tai Sin, a big, bustling place overlooked by apartment blocks. The air was itchy with wood smoke and incence and it started to burn my eyes a bit. A lot of people were shaking cans of wooden sticks as a method of fortune-telling, and the rattle filled the whole compound. There was a long arcade behind the main temple, of soothsayers, geomancers and palmists sitting in little booths. One of them, an old Chinese man with a very long white beard, looked just like a fortune-teller should. If I'd wanted my future told, I would have gone to him.

It was getting a bit dark, so we took three trains back to our stop and then went into the Vietnamese restaurant across the road. The girls holding menus outside are so friendly and we always tell them that we might be along tomorrow (normally because we've just eaten) so we thought we would. The menu was hige, with well over five hundred items and we ordered so much that it didn't all fit on the little table we had. The only non-fish item on the menu that I didn't consider was the fertilised duck embryo that is a Vietnamese speciality that we even managed to avoid while we were in the country. We did justice to the tableful of food, but still ended up leaving some.

Another quick internet followed and then Mikey watched Superman. I'm going to sleep because we never seem to manage it before midnight at the moment.

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