Our leisurely morning was rudely interrupted by my realisiation that I had to collect my train ticket for Shanghai at least 24 hours before it departed. I thus bombed to the train station, and gave three different time and locations were I would try to meet the rest of the gang.
1.30pm at Stanley market - fail. Mainly because the bus ride was very long, but the beauty of the areas it passed through - particularly Repulse Bay - meant that I wasn't overly bothered. Hog Kong is so much more than skyscrapers and ships, and I love it more because of that.
I could have stayed at that market for longer, but had no desire to buy anything other than liquids. So onto location number two. Our hostel at 3pm - fail. Mainly because I didn't even try. Instead, I tried to intercept by heading straight to point three - Mong Kok station for 3.30pm.
We were heading there because - stay with this - Matt's brother used to study in Austria with a girl from Hong Kong called Jade, and she had agreed to meet us to give us a more authentic tour. I had her phone number, so waited at the station for a few minutes - looking for the big white guy - before realising I would have to pull out one of my favourite tricks - convincing a stranger to let me use their phone. It worked first time in Tokyo - it didn't here. The woman unconvincingly argued that her phone was blocked because she hadn't paid a bill. First man I tried? More than happy for me to call. I haven't seen such blatant sexism from women since my driving tests.
Mong Kok at 3.40 was thus a qualified success. Jade is younger than all of us, and to call her a bundle of energy would be a gross understatement. Girl of strong opinion, too, as we quickly discovered upon purchasing a Hong Kong favourite - the egg tart.
I mentioned that I used to sell these in Greggs. Wow, that's a lifetime ago. But these are different. They're served hot. I mention this subtle difference.
'OH, YOU CANNOT DO THAT! DON'T EVER DO THAT!'
After briefly trying to convince her that there was nothing I could do about that - and that they do taste good cold - I ended up backing down. I had more pressing concerns, as my camera had finally gone to techno Heaven. For good, this time, as the lens gears broke.
I'm not going to criticise Jade; she was wonderful, both as a person and a guide. We were introduced to stinky tofu (nice), curried fish balls (very nice) and a market where you could actually bargain (very very nice). Korea football shirt for US$7 - yes please!
We walked through Hong Kong park for a while before arriving at the Avenue of Stars. This is like the Hollywood version, but for natives of Hong Kong - many of whom Jade didn't even know. We found Jackie Chan, found Bruce Lee, and found Chow Yun Fat. That was all we needed. The Bruce Lee statue was a bonus. I don't feel I did him justice with my kung fu kick, however.
From here, we could see the Symphony of Lights - this time with music. So much better with the audio supplement. We then went to get wontons in a 'famous' restaurant - like much of Asia, many places are famous for no reason - which also came with fish balls. And fish skin.
Balls were a theme of the food that night. Jade took us to a chain restaurant that sells mango - and not much else. We were ordered by our guide to try mango with rice balls. It was a good choice, though we were stuffed afterwards.
We dragged our weary bodies onto the tram and headed back to the hostel, safe in the knowledge that were picking up from where we left off in the morning, at least on the food front. Bring on the dim sum!
Love you all