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October 21, 2013

Day 23: And that’s all folks... for now

Landing in London Heathrow is not so exciting any more when you know that some hours later you will be taking another flight that will bring you back to reality. My mood was getting worse and worse every hour, Adam started thinking about his job again and suddenly we were at home, unpacking and getting ready to continue with our life.


It has been an incredible trip. A trip full of new countries, new cities, new people, new cultures, new flavors, new smells and, above all, new experiences that we´ve loved to share with you all.

Thanks to Tony and Stef for hosting us in Chicago, to Aida and Will for letting us sleep in their guestroom in Los Angeles, to Karen and her son to be patient with our comings and goings to and from Hong Kong and to Huang and Noah for sharing their flat with us in Singapore. Also a big thank you to Kim for spoiling us in Las Vegas, to Kahlier, Frank and Mike for the fun in Los Angeles and thank you Ankitt, Arendt, Mable and Karyn for spending some time with us after work in Singapore. We hope to see you again guys!

We also would like to thank our families and friends for being there all the time and, especially, we would like to thank Mireia and Robin for kind of postponing their wedding so that we could be there.

And well, thank you Adam for being there no matter what. It´s been a pleasure and I hope we can continue for a long, long time this never ending adventure that we started together some time ago.

October 17, 2013

Day 22: The Big Buddha and Tai O in Lantau Island

On our last day in Hong Kong, and also the last day of our trip, we stayed where we had been sleeping the last three days, Lantau Island. Following some of Karen´s recommendations, we made ourselves on the way to see the Big Buddha in the Po Lin Monastery on the Ngong Ping highland. We decided to go by bus and, once there, we bought a combined ticket to enter the complex which included the bronze Tian Tan Buddha, the Temple, which was under construction, and a little “snack”. 300 steps and a “No meat and no alcohol” warning were between us and the more than 25m high Buddha.


If you get to visit the Po Lin Monastery come with an empty stomach. Remember the “snack” included in the ticket? It happened to be a full meal with drinks and some sticky "mooncakes" made from lotus seed paste as a desert. It was like having and very sweet gum inside your mouth that you could hardly swallow without lots of water.


After the early lunch, and because we missed our bus, we shared a taxi with three other people to get to Tai O. This fishing town is famous for its stilt houses, houses raised over piles on the water surface, the dolphin watching tours and the dry fish you can buy on the street market. It is also called the Venice of Hong Kong... hmmm, really? Instead of taking the dolphin tour, we walked around the town for more than an hour and bought some dried shrimps that I didn’t dare to try after the not so hygienic conditions I had seen.


When we were back at Karen's place, we packed our stuff and headed with her to the Tung Chung station. There, we spent some time in the Outlet inside the station, we said goodbye to Karen, bought a ticket to the airport and got ready to take our fourth and last Intercontinental flight back to Europe. Bye bye Hong Kong! Thank you Karen!

October 7, 2013

Day 21: The Central-Mid-Levels escalators and the light show of Hong Kong

On our second day in the city we took the Central-Mid-Levels escalators, the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. It is about 800m long, with some landings in between, and it elevates more than 135m. The escalators start in Central Hong Kong and end at the Western districts. On the way, there are lots of restaurant offering cuisine from all over the world. We even saw one of them advertising San Miguel beer, whose name originates from Barcelona's San Miguel brewery and happens to be one of the most popular beers in Hong Kong and the Philippines.


The Chi Lin Nunnery and the Nan Lian Gardens are worth a visit. Located on Diamond Hill, the Buddhist temple and the gardens are open to the public at no charge.  When we got there we left all the stress, the people and the noises of Hong Kong behind and enjoyed a moment of peace and silence for ourselves. We couldn't believe we were still in one of the most densely populated cities in the world.


Since Hong Kong is one of the countries with super low taxes, we decided to go and check the shops of the Kowloon neighborhood and, of course, to visit the streets full of placards advertising whatever you can imagine around the Mong Kok metro station. We also saw some strange “Sauna clubs”… well, judge yourself when watching the pictures ;).


Before heading home to spend a little bit of time with Karen, we went back to the Harbor to see the Light show with the Skyline. Well, sincerely, the commercial center next to my parents´ flat in Barcelona has a better show at night. We could hardly hear the Chinese-style music they were playing and only one laser was visible every now and then in between the buildings. We were wondering all the time if the show was what we were seeing or if it had delay or had been cancelled. It had nothing to do with the one in Singapore or any other light show that I had seen before. It is definitely not worth to go on purpose to see it. (Adam: ok, ok, we are a bit strict here. If you happen to be at the right spot, the show is quite enjoyable... for one minute. See it on youtube.)


Nice show, don’t you think? :P

October 1, 2013

Day 20: The markets and the Skyline of Hong Kong

We were back in Hong Kong and this time we had more days to actually see it. We bought an Octopus card, a rechargeable card valid for any kind of public transport inside the city, and were ready to go. The sun was shining bright and the Dragon Race Festival preparations were taking place so, we decided to go to the Harbor, walk along the Avenue of Stars (local version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame) and admire the Skyline during the day. In fact the Avenue of Stars has hand-prints of around 100 stars, most of them fairly unknown to Western civilization. The exceptions: Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li can be recognized by far having all the foreigner tourists around them.


After meeting the stars, we decided to discover more of Hong Kong mainland and check some of the thematic markets of Mong Kok. There is a market for anything you can imagine. The most interesting market I have ever seen can also be found here: the Goldfish market. Here you can find fishes, turtles, shrimps and all kinds of creatures pre-packaged for easy take away. In one of the food markets we tried Mangosteen, a sweet and juicy fruit that had been recommended to us in Singapore. Definitely yummie!


At dusk, the bus 15C took us to the highest mountain on the Hong Kong Island called Victoria Peak, or simply The Peak. We wanted to see the sunset and take some pictures of the Skyline at night from the top.  The "Sky Terrace 428" standing at 428 meters above sea level offering a 360° panoramic view is more or less a tourist trap. Not really worth to pay the entrance because the views from the outside area are as good as the ones from the terrace. We were staying a good hour gazing at the neon lights of the skyscrapers, waiting for the famous light show, but it didn't want to happen. We concluded it was not visible from there, so we would give it a try next day from the harbour. This should have been the first worrying sign regarding the light show...