Feb 14, 2013

More great things to do in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Tourist Board lists a slew of free activities under the name Kaleidoscope. We have taken advantage of the following great things to do: Cantonese Opera Appreciation, Tea Appreciation, and Wife Cake making.  Plus, the museums are usually free on Wednesdays.

We have been to Hong Kong many times.  It breaks up the long trip from New York to SE Asia where we like to spend the winter.  The flight from Chicago to Hong Kong was 15.5 hours. That’s not counting the flight to Chicago from Syracuse.  Our United credit card gives us two free passes each year to their VIP Club so we used them this time which was good because it included a continental breakfast and snacks later on.  There was a 1.5 hour delay leaving Chicago.  I am always amazed by the fact that United uses such old planes to high-end destinations.  There were no back of the seat monitors and no laptop plugs.
Arrival in Hong Kong International Airport is very well organized and getting from the airport to our hotel was seamless.  After exiting the baggage area there is a desk where we bought tickets to the Ibis Hotel on Hong Kong Island. The immaculate electric train is entered directly from the airport and runs every 10 minutes. When it arrives on Hong Kong Island 25 minutes later there are free buses waiting to take passengers to their hotel door.  After such a long flight it was much appreciated.

We like to stay in hotels in different locations because it allows us to explore a new area.  We have done a lot of the typical touristy things in Hong Kong so we look for new things to do.  One of the most popular Buddhist Temples was just a short distance from the Ibis Hotel but it was uphill so we took a cab and walked back.  The colorful temple filled with the heady smell of incense honors the god of literature. Temples are free but, of course, they would like a donation.

Do you have anyone who annoys you and you can’t do anything about it?  Well, in Hong Kong you can.  Under a triple overpass where there is good feng shui you can find the Petty Person Beating area. By the way, feng shui is the Chinese system of orientating things so that there is a positive flow of energy. The historic 1904 tram stopped outside our hotel.  It is very affordable, especially for senior citizens.  We took it to the Petty Person Beating area.  There the elderly ladies will exorcise the Petty Person for about $6.  First John wrote the annoying person’s name on the top of a special paper. He chose someone we did not personally know. Incense and candles were lit in front a Buddhist shrine. She took a paper with sketches of people on it and beat it with an old shoe.  Then the papers were set on fire and smoke fanned around John and finally the paper with the name on it was set on fire and the ceremony was over.  There were several ladies there and they were busy so there must be a lot of annoying people in the world.  I like it when a city as modern and upscale as Hong Kong still has places where I can find traces of the “old” culture.