Our massive holiday has started! I almost don't even want to mention work but after two late nights, everything was in order and I was ready to leave. SMS and I had bought tickets for an amazingly priced flight that left Haneda at 1:45 a.m. Hmmm, maybe there was a reason for the price! We took Cathay Pacific and tried to rest for most of the flight. The seats were really packed in tightly- I think it would be very uncomfortable as a larger or taller person!
We landed in Hong Kong around 5:30 and got to the hotel around 7:00. I wanted to start the vacation in high style so I booked a room at the Mandarin Oriental (using United points!). It is amazing!! Part of the reason I wanted a nice hotel was I figured our chances were higher of getting an early check-in. Well, we were told that our room was empty but not ready and could we wait or come back at 9? This was awesome news and they were actually apologetic about it, which seems insane since we were the ones asking for the big favor. They even offered to comp our breakfast! The buffet was awesome and featured an omelet bar, pastry table, dim sum, fresh fruit, cheese, hot dishes, salad, fish and charcuterie. It was a lavish, delicious spread. I enjoyed fresh watermelon juice, coffee, dim sum, fruit and a pastry. Yum!
We decided to head out with full bellies and our bags checked, so we were heavy and light at the same time! We took the Star Ferry over to Kowloon. It's amazing how busy the harbor is! We walked around the Kowloon waterfront and saw the Clock Tower, Path of Stars and the beautiful Hong Kong island skyline. After our walk, we took the ferry back across, this time on the upper deck. We didn't realize there were two boarding areas, one for upper ($2.50 HK) and one for lower ($2 HK). We thought you just went up and down on the ship itself. Wrong!
Then we checked into our room and it was beautiful. We had a city/harbor view room on the 7th floor and it was fantastic. Awesome bed, dual head shower, robes, nespresso machine, huge towels and just overall, totally fantastic. I could get used to the high-rolling, luxury hotel life! We took a short nap and then headed out to see more of Hong Kong.
Ever since Toronto, SMS has been on the lookout for Lanzhou beef noodle soup. We went to a great place near our hotel in Montreal and since then, we've looked in Yokohama Chinatown (no luck) and went to a little stand in the Yokohama Cup Noodle museum where they feature several world noodle soups in the little 5th floor food court. Well, we found a restaurant in North Point on the Internet and took the MRT over. Thank goodness for smartphones! I had saved the page and by asking two separate shopkeepers, we found the place. Both guys gestured the way to us since we were in Chinese neighborhood (rather than the more English-speaking downtown). But showing the kanji worked easily even though the first guy we asked had a slight difference of opinion with the guy next to him about how to go, which made sense b/c from that particular point, it was a right, left and left down the stairs into a pedestrian alley. The third part was hard to convey so that's when the second guy helped. We had to ask, but both guys were really nice and we ended up at the Beef Noodle restaurant!!! There were several awesome looking restaurants on the street but this one had a pretty big line. "Mr. SMS" put his name on the list and we were seated in about 15 minutes. The soup was awesome. I got the mutton flat noodle and SMS got the beef ramen noodle. In the end, he decided he preferred the slightly lighter broth of the Montreal shop and the guy who pulls the noodles to-order but that our lunch was pretty delicious.
Then, we took the MRT back to Central and walked the HK side of the island. We went to Mid-levels, took the "world's largest outdoor escalator" up to Hollywood Rd, walked through SoHo, and saw the ManMo temple. Then we walked to the Lower Terminus for the Peak Tran and went up to Victoria Peak. The city view was awesome and we were there on such a beautiful day. We hung out for a bit before heading back to the hotel. On our walk, SMS noted that,"You can have public garbage cans or public bathrooms but you can't have both." The garbage cans are here and the bathrooms in Japan.
SMS took some great Blue Hour photos and then we watched half of the 8 o'clock light show. It was a little underwhelming so we left because we were hungry! We walked back to SoHo and ate at the Blue Butcher. The food was delicious and the interior was industrial chic. It was very cool. Finally, we walked through Lan Kwai Fung before getting back to the hotel and going to bed. I was exhausted!