Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Hong Kong part 1

This might be a long one. I’ve been putting it off because we were there a whole week and did quite a lot. So let’s get straight to the highlights. In fact I might have to split it into parts or I’ll never get it done.

Happy Valley Racecourse
Our first full day in Hong Kong was a Wednesday and thanks to a tip from Karen’s friend, Mark, we knew that Wednesday night is Happy Valley Race Night!

While there are more expensive options, to get a taste for the real atmosphere, the basic HK$10 entry ticket is perfect. There’s a covered seating area if it rains, or you get tired, but folk stand in the area next to the track. There’s plenty of food and beer available – not the cheapest, but HK isn’t the cheapest – and there’s even a live band to entertain in between races.

The layout is pretty impressive. The course is right in the heart of Hong Kong, surrounded by hills and skyscrapers. It looks great by day, but even better by night.

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Happy Valley by day

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Happy Valley by night

There were eight races, and 10-12 horses per race – betting was all tote, no bookies. Things started promisingly, Karen had two 4th places on each way bets and I missed a 30-1 shot by a nostril. Finally, on the 6th race, I got a winner.

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Obviously the clue was in the name. Here’s me with my winnings.

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Yep, that’s HK$106 you can see there. We ate well that night…

And after a heavy night’s betting, it’s great just to chill.

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Symphony of Lights
For obvious reason, we took it easy the next day. We did go to the Hong Kong Museum which was pretty interesting. It must have been good because we stayed there for about four hours.
On the Friday, newly refreshed, we headed down to Kowloon harbour (our hotel was in Kowloon). You can get some good views of Victoria from there and it’s even better by night: they put on a light show called “The Symphony of Lights”. It’s billed as the biggest coordinated light show in the world. Lasers and spotlights on some of the bigger skyscrapers are supposed to light up in time with the music. If I’m honest I didn’t see much coordination, it looked like some bored janitor on the top of each building was randomly flicking a switch. And the music was far from symphonic – more like 80’s prog rock gone wrong (more wrong). Here’s a video to prove it.

Hong Kong Symphony of Lights

At least it was free. To be honest the HK skyline doesn’t really need any augmentation. It’s pretty damn impressive as it is.

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Victoria, HK from Kowloon

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And by night

All these pics were taken from the “Avenue of Stars”. In another reminder that there’s a whole continent that neither knows nor cares what we’re up to back in the UK, I didn’t recognise any of them, apart from Bruce Lee. I can only assume they’re proper stars and not just the HK equivalent of Nasty Nick or Jordan.

That’s all for now. Coming up next: Dragon Boat racing and the Peak Tram.
Current Location: Wulingyuan
Next stop: Zhangjiajie in 2 days

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