Friday, July 4, 2008

The New Princess Cubbies of Bel-Air?


I wanted to post some of the pictures we took in Cambodia but we have yet to select the right ones - ones that are less blurry, ones that will not put us in compromising spotlight (like Cubbies drying her furs...) as well as ones that i took without the hands or the legs or the head.

And i'm itching to update our blog everyday just to get things in a good momentum. So i thought, maybe i should put up work-travels pictures that didn't need much editing.

I was in Hong Kong for work in April 2008. Meebops wasn't with me this time cos she had to work. So armed with my camera and unabashed cherubic enthusiasm, i explored the island on my own two little paws including paying HK$ 6.50 every evening, up on their wonderful double-decker roller-coaster bus ride, swooshing in and out of alleys and flyovers (that is squeezed in between residential flats/apartments)! How magnificent!

This is Hong Kong at dusk!

Anyway, to start things off, here was my seat on the plane; squeezed in between 2 humanoids. I remember crying (no.. not because i had to travel alone but...) while eating and watching one of my favourite movies, The Kite Runner, on the in-flight entertainment system.

When we touched down at HKIA, they have 3 different types of airport transfers i could choose from:

The Airport Express
Oh! They now have trains into the City too! Just like the KLIA Express in Kuala Lumpur. Its an excellent service train (i personally think) that will connect you to the heart of Hong Kong in 23 minutes! (different travel times for other stations in between) Yup, its that precise. Trains run every 12 minutes and prices range from HK$ 5 (AsiaWorld Expo) to HK$ 100 (Hong Kong Island). When you get off, there are free shuttles that will take you to your hotels (but famous, and expensive ones only!). Neat!

By Public Bus
Just like in Singapore, HKIA provides a bus service that will take you into the city (which is always a treat!) so that you can take in the sights while you travel to your destination. Prices on these buses ranges from HK$ 3 to HK$ 48 (depending on distance) and has 6 different route types to choose from: The A, E, N, S, R and DB routes. Those who travel light can try this option out but those who travel like they are migrating animals should consider the train or taxi.

Well, as for me... Animals, Bears or Cubbies were not allowed on board trains or public buses. So i had to go for Option 3, Taxis.

By Taxi
As they say on the website,
"In Hong Kong, there is no shortage of Taxis...", which is really true and i marvelled at that idea. If only where i live, Taxis are that easy to hail down.

Anyway, the taxis in Hong Kong are metered (another systematic approach) and will take you downtown in a quick, painless, efficient way. The taxis are VERY roomy and comes in 3 different flavours - Red for the "Urban Taxis" that will take you to downtown HK; Green for the "New Territories"; and Blue for the "Lantau Island" taxis. Fares for the taxis travelling from the airport are fixed and includes bridge/tunnel tolls.

BEAR NOTES: For your own personal gentle amusement; try having a casual conversation with your driver and i promise you, only in Hong Kong can you hear English spoken in an almost amicable sing-song way, which i affectionately label, The Oriental English.

Moving on...

They put me up at the Le Meridien Cyberport Hotel, which was a really modernistic, boutique hotel with smart-functioned rooms. The Cyberport district is situated in Aberdeen/Bel-Air area and touted as the IT, Digital Media Centre of Hong Kong. I simply cannot describe in words how fabulously scenic and tranquil Aberdeen is (and not to mention, RICH). The hotel is perched on Telegraph Bay and i'm telling you, if there is one place in Hong Kong where the air is fresh and the scenery breathtaking, this is it.

The Cyberport has convenient but basic amenities available for use such as restaurants, ATMs and supermarket (just ONE) and a bus terminus. Enough for those working and staying in the area. Anyway, if you live in Aberdeen/Bel-Air, you don't take public transport (BAH!). Oh, and to think that with all that technology and adult stuff buzzing in Cyberport, a children's playground at the mall appeared out of nowhere. You never know, there may be future little Bill Gates lurking around!

OK, Foodies
ALERT! Do not expect a 5-star room service menu here. Food listings are limited at the Cyberport and if you ever decide to eat in, do be mindful of the "delivery charges" (that will bring food to you from the hotel's restaurant at Level 4 to your room level). I was famished when i got to the hotel so i had to order a snack. And so i chose something so simple and i thought, with the least surprise; A Hamburger.

Oh! This isn't just your ordinary Big Mac. This is a REALLY HUGE burger that is juicy, tender yet simple (no ketchup, no mayo). Just patty, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes wrapped in a bun, that, as you can see, so shiny, you can see yourself on it.

But dig this... It is by far, the most expensive burger i have ever eaten in my Bearish life. A plate of juicy simple hamburger, steak fries and an almost inedible bowl of coleslaw. How much did Cubbies paid for it? HK$ 240!!! Which is S$ 42.
Have you ever paid so much for a hamburger?

Huge patty nonetheless. Yummy but pricey!

More pictures of my "view" from my room as well as the areas surrounding it:

This view - Telegraph Bay (or some say, Repulse Bay)

A close up of the bay area. Stunning...

Hong Kong skyscrapers, as taken from my usual evening bus rides from Cyberport to Central on service no. 30X.

Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong. Taken at Central intersection, atop the overhead bridge (that is connected to 4 shopping malls).

When i was there, the Hong Kong International Film Festival was on and i was lucky enough to get to a Full House screening of Hana Makhmalbaf's award winning feature "Buddha Collapsed Out Of Shame".

And to wrap things up, i took this picture while walking along the streets of Causeway Bay. Do surf in comfort at this telephone booth. Well i personally don't think it will be comfortable to surf or work while you stand amidst the bustling street, but it'll definitely help, especially when you're looking for something on the internet and need it urgently! There... your own little cubicle.

Ahh... For anyone looking for Muslim (Halal) food in Hong Kong, my advice is Kowloon. Cross over from Hong Kong Island (mainland) to the Kowloon district, where you can find more halal cuisine than you can in mainland. Just for starters, this was what i ate on my first night in Hong Kong:

I can't remember what its called but its Chicken grilled to perfection (that you can almost taste its burnt/smoked flavours), with turkish salad, fries and topped with mint sauce. Definitely very moreish and tasty.

My first bite was my first love...

Istanbul Express

Shop F-1, G/F, Rose Mansion,

1 Prat Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui

(Located in the Hart Avenue)


Five **Bearishly Things You Must Do While In Hong Kong (simplified version is Hong Kong, according to CUBBIES):
  1. Take the bus into the city and have fun swooshing and swishing in between apartments!
  2. Watch "Symphony of Lights" from either the Hong Kong (currently the area is barricaded due to upgrading works) or Kowloon side of the Victoria Harbour. Its like nothing you've seen before!
  3. Don't shop at Causeway Bay (go to Stanley Market instead for better bargains!) but people-watch. You haven't seen chaos if you haven't seen Causeway Bay.
  4. Ride on the Topless Bus and feel the chilly wind in your hair (as well as feel dwarfed by the skyscrapers) to the Hong Kong Tram station. Then hop on the Tram, on the Central, Admiralty and Wan Chai route and experience bustling Hong Kong in a nostalgic way.
  5. Shop, not at regular stores, but at factory outlets! Brand names, for less!

And the one thing every Teddy must do, breathe in the fresh (mountainous) air! Its good for your bearish lungs!

** Bearishly - Cheap, sometimes free, painless fun!



Kari said...

What a wonderful blog! I just loved learning about hong Kong. Great photos and I almost feel like I was there along with you :)
Thanks for coming by my blog and leaving a comment!

The Travelling Teddies... said...

Hi Kari - Thanks! And keep up the good work with yours too, which i truly enjoyed reading! :)

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