Breakfast back at Oliver’s this morning – this time I ordered the basic hot breakfast (Scrambled eggs, bacon and a hashbrown) plus the light breakfast (cornflakes, fruit and toast) – much more filling. Didn’t like their scrambled eggs or bacon though … so I guess I’ll try two bowls of cornflakes tomorrow. *sigh*. If only I could get some Weet-bix !
Anyway, we headed off early in to Central and then walked up to the Peak Tramway, to catch the tram to Victoria Peak. What a tram ride – not only spectacular views, but it’s an incredibly steep track, the floor of the tram is angled so that standing passengers stay upright ! I’d like to see some stats to see if it is steeper than the “Scenic Railway” in Katoomba.
*Sim’ checks with Google
Ooh – according to most of the websites out there, the Victoria Peak Tramway is only 27 degrees to the horizon – it seems so much steeper than that. The Katoomba Scenic Railway is actually 52 degrees – or 128% gradient … which is (according to the Guinness Book of Records) the steepest railway in the world (although some websites dispute this).
Anyway, it’s a must-do thing if you are in Hong Kong – as is the peak itself, with spectacular views of Hong Kong – really helps you get the city in perspective.
We explored the various shopping centres at the top (only in Hong Kong would there be shopping centres !!), and then embarked on a leisurely hour long stroll around the summit (not up it, around it) following Harlech and Lugard Roads all the way around – with some excellent views of the far side of Hong Kong island. A light lunch followed, as described in my earlier entry Blog from the peak.
Immediately after writing that entry, we stopped at Ice-Queen pancake to sample one of their interesting (and apparently Japanese-style) pancakes, which basically involves a freshly made pancake (thin – almost like a crepe), with half a chopped banana (or your fruit of choice), some icecream (I chose the Cookies and Cream), and a drizzle of chocolate sauce all arranged on one quadrant of the round pancake. At this point it kind of looked like a fajita would before you wrapped it and at it, however, they wrapped the icecream and banana up like a cone (after turning up the end to form a “stopper”), wrapped it in paper, then filled the open bit at the top with the rest of the banana, some more chocolate sauce and a good dash of whipped cream. Quite a show really. And the result ? Divine !! I love pancakes with icecream (don’t get to eat them that often), and this was simply delicious. You start by eating the top of it with the supplied spoon, then as you get lower, eating the pancake to get to the remainder of the icecream, kind of like a cross between a waffle, a fajita and a kebab (yiros) – and you can eat it while walking, since it is well contained in it’s wrapping. They do a few other variants on this theme, which I must try one day.
Anyway, enough about the icecream, after a bit more wondering around the peak and a few more photo opportunities, we headed back down on the tram (going backwards this time !!), and once at the bottom, we walked up to the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, quite a hike up the road, and quite a few steps, only to find ourselves at the very bottom of the zoo, with yet another walk to get up to where the animals are.
Overall a little disappointing – it’s really a botanical garden with a couple of animals – not really what one would normally consider a zoo. Then again, it is free, and they do actually have quite an impressive bird collection, a couple of primates and a lone Jaguar (whom we didn’t see given it was rather hot and it was obviously afternoon siesta time). It seems most people tend to come here for exercise, we saw quite a few people jogging around the park, some Tai-Chi performers, and given the steepness of the site, everyone else simply got a good cardiovascular workout by just walking around.
The gardens really are very nice, pity about the “keep off the grass” mentality though – the more carefully they tend it, the more inviting it is. Some of the nicest things are tucked away in little “grottos”, where they have quiet spots with stone benches and other little features. The benches all have a little character at either end, cats on one, rabbits on another, pandas, and even Mickey Mouse. We took some photos, and once we have them developed I will post them somewhere, since they really were quite cute. Quite an exhausting time actually with all the walking up and down steep hills, but quite pleasant.
Since we were even more completely soaked with sweat from the heat, humidity and exertion, we walked back to Central MTR and caught the train back home for a shower and a rest. We decided to head back to Pacific Place shopping centre for dinner, and for me to do some shopping. I bought my Canon S50 digital camera – under HKD$4000 as I was aiming for ! What’s more, I managed to get this price at a reputable (and “certified”) dealer, which gives me a bit more confidence that if I do ever have problems with the camera, I can bring it back in (or have someone I know in HK bring it) to the store and they will still be there. I know I could have got the camera cheaper in some of the other less expensive shopping districts, but I do prefer a bit of security with purchases of this size. Heck, at the current exchange rates, this equates to less than AUS$800, which is about two-thirds of the price I can get in Australia, and that still makes it worth while to me.
My next task is to find some memory for the camera (it only ships with 32MB), and I know I can get it cheaper at a nearby IT mall, so I’ll try and find time tomorrow to pop in and do a bit of hunting around. This means that from tomorrow I will be able to start including photos in my blog entries ! About time to get my personal photo gallery up and running at some stage too I think.
Anyway, it’s way past my bedtime, Leanne has already been asleep for a while, so I’d best leave it there.
We’re planning to meet up with my friend, Andrew, for lunch tomorrow – so I’m sure we’ll have something interesting to say about where he takes us to eat. Night all.
(PS. don’t forget that it’s 2HRs behind Sydney here in HK, so even though it looks like I’m writing this after 2am, it’s only just gone midnight here).