Welcome to the fabulous Hong Kong, a city unlike any other in the world! With so many things to see and do I am glad we were there for three days and two nights however, even with more time then usual we did not even come close to seeing everything this amazing city has to offer. Kevin has been talking about where he would like to study abroad next year and my vote is definitely for Hong Kong, not only because I think he would LOVE it but then I would have a couch to crash on because I will definitely be returning soon!
Our first day in Hong Kong started out with a serious mission, find a tailor and place our costume clothing orders so they would be ready before we sailed in three days time. I decided that I wanted to have a silk formal gown made along with a “boyfriend cut” navy blue blazer. Prior to stepping foot off the ship we had done our homework and had the name and address of a tailor many of the passengers had used before so at least we had a place to start. My first impression of Hong Kong as we stepped off the ship was that the entire city is a giant Chinese version of Times Square. Everything from store windows to restaurants appeared to be larger than life, decorated with vibrant colors and hundred of lights. My senses were a bit overwhelmed at first, but the stimulation from all the different sights and sounds created a fantastic energy that penetrated your body and made you feel wide awake and ready to go, go, go!
With the help of the tiny map on the back of the tailor’s business card we navigated our way through the city streets and successfully found the tailor. The store itself was not large at all but the amount of stuff in this small space was unreal. All four walls were covered in bolts of every kind of suiting material you could imagine, there were bags of buttons, bins of linings, trim hanging everywhere and what looked to be miles of zippers. There was easily enough materials to make over a thousand suits and I was very glad that I arrived knowing exactly what I wanted because otherwise there were way too many choices. First we discussed my dress. I wanted them to copy a dress that Beckie already owned so I picked out a really pretty navy blue green silk and gave them the dress as a reference… easy enough. Next was my blazer. I picked out a rich navy fabric, a matching navy silk for the lining and navy buttons to finish off the look. For the structure of the jacket, I decided on a rounded tuxedo lapel and with a single button closure in the front… It was going to look very smart. After the design and materials were decided upon the tailor took a few quick measurements and our first visit was done. He told us to come back tomorrow around 4:00PM for a fitting and that everything would be ready by 2:00PM on the third day. I am still amazed at how quickly they are able to custom make things. If I lived here I think I would have everything custom made!
After the tailors it was time to hit up some of Hong Kong’s famous street markets. Our first stop was the Lady Market, which sells anything and everything a lady may need. Handbags, shoes, jewelry, perfume… you name it, they got it! I do not know how we did not get lost in the maze that was created by the vendor booths. Each booth looked the same with merchandise hanging all over the place and tables loaded down with sparkly trinkets. I ended up purchasing two pairs of flats, a black pair with giant flowers on the toes and a navy blue pair with giant buttons on the toes. Both super cute, both super cheap! With the sun setting on our first day we decided to stop by the Night Market before heading to dinner. The Night market was really no different than the Lady Market except for the fact that it was open at night… because heaven forbid that there is an hour of the day when you cannot find an open street market!
Hungry, tired and marketed out we stopped for dinner at The Spaghetti House. (I know, stop judging me, yes we are in China but I really was not in the mood for rice and such… sorry about it!) So after a lovely meal of pasta, pizza and garlic bread we headed back to the ship to get ready for the evening. Not wanting to go “out out” we decided to hang out at a cocktail lounge called Aqua Spirit. It was located on the 30th floor of a building and featured a panoramic view of the entire harbor and Hong Kong Island. The skyline here is absolutely stunning and because there are buildings on both sides of the harbor you always have a beautiful cityscape to admire. We each ordered a different signature cocktail and spent the evening talking about our days, our lives, the ship. It was such a fun evening, but really how can you go wrong with fruity drinks, fantastic atmosphere and good people?
Day two was another crazy busy day filled with Buddhas, markets, fittings, high tea, light shows and a trip to Wonderland. We decided to start the day with a trip to the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery and guess why it is called that… because there are 10,000 unique Buddha statues on site. (No, I did not take the time to personally count all of them. I thought I would just take their word for it.) Anyways, Buddha statues lined each side of the 500-step walkway we climbed up to the monastery. Once at the top we decided it would be entertaining to try and find a Buddha that matched each cast members personality. It should be no surprise that the Buddha with the biggest grin on its face was chosen to be mine. (My catch phrase on the ship is “I am so excited” or “This is so exciting”… is it such a bad thing to be a happy person??? I think NOT!)
After the Buddha Monastery it was on to the famous Jade Market were you guessed it, they sell everything and anything made out of jade, along with beautiful pearls and other knick knacks of all kinds. I had been to a lecture on the many markets of Hong Kong earlier in the week so we had a list of all the best stalls to visit. We wondered and shopped for a bit but we had an appointment with the tailor for our second fittings so we could not stay too long. Lucky for us the tailor was right around the corner so we popped in and tried on mock ups of all the things we were having made. I am SO excited about my navy blue blazer… It is going to be stunning!
The final check mark for the day was going to The Peninsula Hotel for high tea. We quickly ran from the tailors back to the ship to freshen up and make ourselves look presentable for such a “la de da” affair, which wasn’t really necessary, however we are all actors and we always like to dress the part! It was an absolutely lovely afternoon as we sipped our tea, nibbled on delicious cakes and of course gossiped about ship life, home life and everything in between. As the afternoon quickly became the evening we decided to incorporate the tea party theme into our nighttime activities and go see the movie Alice in Wonderland, however not before we took in the famous Hong Kong skyline light show, which happens every night at 8:00PM.
Our final day in Hong Kong was no exception to the rule of cramming as much fun into one day as humanly possible! Today’s plan was to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and make our way to the countryside to ride a cable car up to the Giant Buddha statue that sits high on top a mountain. The cable car ride was stunning and the experience was made that much more enjoyable as we rode to the top with a group of Chinese businessmen. There were many photo wonderful scenic photo spots along the way and once you reached the top you were greeted by a lovely “Disney version” of a Chinese village. The icing on the cake though was there was a Starbucks… yes everyone that is correct… on top of this mountain I was able to get my venti vanilla latte and I was a very happy girl! The giant Buddha statue was just that, a giant Buddha statue, but it was nice to do something different and see something other then busy streets and tall buildings in Hong Kong.
Before returning back to the ship for our sail away it was time to pick up our custom creations at the tailor! I was so pleased with both my items. The dress and the blazer both look so smart and I cannot wait to wear them both and have people ask me “Where did you buy that?” and I can answer “Oh, I had this made in Hong Kong.” : )
What a city… Fabulous Hong Kong!