We’ve arrived! The trip itself was long. Nearly 15 hours in the air, just about 7,000 miles. Impressively long. The kids did wonderfully, all things considered. Both were up for a long time on the way out, and crashed hard for a few hours en route. I slept an hour, going with the theory that if I stayed up long enough I could sleep when we got to the hotel. It hasn’t been too bad so far.
We got into the “new” Hong Kong airport last night about 8PM. It seemed nice, but I was a tad groggy so didn’t really appreciate it. I really kind of liked crummy old Kai Tak Airport, with its unique approach and quick access to Kowloon. The new airport is much bigger, so I get that it’s an improvement in efficiency and throughput. It also has better food options, which we will probably appreciate on our way out next Sunday. Still, now it’s just a nice airport.
The ride over was quick and easy. There is a ton of new infrastructure in the last 10 years (no surprise!). The bridges over Kwai Chung container terminal give an incredible view of that part of the port. Jenn told the driver that we were staying in “Golden Crown Guest House” and my head snapped around with recognition. That was the place I stayed over the summer of 1991, after junior year of college when I worked at Manufacturers Hanover Bank as an intern. What a coincidence! Yep, same location and everything. Our superior quad room is small and basic, but it’s cozy, clean, convenient and cheap (for Hong Kong, a city that can be very expensive).
Jenn and I met, lived and worked in Hong Kong in the mid-to-late 1990s and today was nostalgia day. The morning started with a walk down to the Star Ferry, which runs from Kowloon (where we are staying) to Hong Kong Island. and a run through the overhead walkways around Central, hitting the old professional haunts of Jardine House, the Landmark, and Exchange Square, and finding Oliver’s in Prince’s Building still going strong.
Lan Kwai Fong (a famous nightlife location from the past) was next and it was a shell of its former “glory”, undergoing some major renovations. Some places remain – Schnurrbar, Al’s Diner – but a lot is turned over (Midnight Express, the snack shop out front of which Jenn and I first met in 1995, is now a 7-Eleven). We walked up to Arbuthnot Road, where Jenn lived for a time; the doorman told us that a British family now lives in her old apartment. It used to be a quiet, one-block street, but now has a couple new large apartments, a hotel and a few restaurants.
We walked up to Caine Road, and saw Le Caine Mansions, our first home together, and then over to “The Escalator,” which is a series of about 25 escalators that run from the residential areas to the business district down the hill. The development is amazing, and the food options look even more varied and plentiful.
We then took a cab up to the Peak, where the weather cooperated enough to allow a few photos of the harbor.