As we entered our final week in Hong Kong we reached the few items left on our Things To Do lists. At last we made the trip all the way up the Travelator (the long escalator) to the Botanic Gardens which contain a small, free zoo – mostly primates and birds. All that greenery meant lots of biting little insects too so we didn’t hang about there too long.
Iain didn’t have any ID on him so I left him with a frothy latte and went up to the viewing area of the Bank of China building, my favourite modern skyscraper in Hong Kong.
Big Winners at Happy Valley
We have been watching the proceedings in Happy Valley from our lofty kitchen for four weeks now so it was time for us to get out our posh hats and have a night at the races. We spent the day studying the runners in the eight races and using our own special formulas for choosing the winners. Iain’s involved studying form and performance in previous races for horses, jockeys and trainers. Mines involved choosing the jockeys wearing the nicest coloured tops.
Luckily the weather was clear and dry and we had a great night. The atmosphere was electric and the beer was flowing. We got off to a good start with Iain winning HK$32.50 in the first race. I got a winner in race 3 and Iain got another in race 5. In the last race we picked a horse for an extra joint bet and it came in first netting another HK$66.50. I also had second, Royal Knight wearing pink with a white spot, so we won a massive HK$100 (8 quid) in the last race alone. Not enough to retire on but, hey, we don’t work anyway!
Purple Potatoes – what’s that all about?
On Saturday I was busy at the computer and Iain offered to get the shopping. He returned with some sweet potatoes he had seen in Wellcome and fancied trying. I decided to bake them and serve them with some chicken and broccoli. It was only when we started to eat them that we realised they were purple! I don’t know about you but I think there’s something not quite right about purple potatoes. Can you imagine purple chips, purple mashed tatties? Purple is one of my favourite colours but I draw the line at purple food.
A Flaw in the Research
One of the remaining sights on our list was the Aw Boon Haw Garden, also known as the Tiger Balm Gardens. They were built by Aw Boon Haw, who made his fortune from Tiger Balm. Unfortunately, for this trip we relied on a 2005 copy of the Lonely Planet for our research. We got to the location to find that Mr Haw’s garden has been replaced by a new multi-story apartment building called The Legend. Oh well, we’ve read that he built a similar garden in Singapore so we can always check that one out. Excuse me while I check the published date of the Singapore LP.
Our final sightseeing trip was to Lamma Island, another of the outlying islands that has no cars. No cars does not mean no road works, though. As we started the walk from Yung Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan we found ourselves saying once again, “It’ll be nice when it’s finished”. However, once we got away from the inhabited part of the island, the path led through some scenic countryside marred only by the ginormous power station that seemed to dominate every view.
And so our stay in Hong Kong has come to an end and we are ready to depart, the rucksacks just a bit fuller than when we arrived. It really is impossible to come here and not shop. It has been an interesting, relaxing and very enjoyable five weeks. Hong Kong is an easy place to live. There’s loads to do, great food, great shops and fantastic public transport. Just remember to bring an extra suitcase!