I woke up bright and early at 5am but stayed in bed till 6. Calvin and Jaeger both slept several hours later. Calvin developed a distaste for eating breakfast in our room and kept insisting he wanted to go down to the hotel breakfast. Jaeger and I were not sure what to do because at home we certainly wouldn’t have given in but a hungry preschooler is no ones idea of a fun travel companion. Eventually I bribed him to eat our muesli by promising he could eat his dessert that was included in the kids meal from the prior night (baked pizza dough balls with Nutella as dip).
The breakfast crisis averted, we considered what to do for the day. Both Christmas and Boxing days are public holidays in Hong Kong. Not, you’ll note, Christmas Eve. Most of the activities in our book suggested we should avoid them on Sundays and public holidays which limited our options. Finally, we decided to go ahead and try the Victoria peak tram and hope for the best. On Saturday when we went past the line was 1 1/2 hr long. However, we decided to risk it and bring the iPad in case Calvin needed amusement.
To my surprise, the line was pretty short. Maybe it was because we’d arrived earlier in the day around 10am. The tram was stuffed full and we were one of the last ones to get in so all the sets were taken. However, as I was trying to figure out the best way to position Calvin, two people offered me their seats at the same time. I gratefully accepted one of them and sat Calvin on my lap.
Hong Kong may be a busy city but I have been amazed at how considerate they are to the elderly or those with special needs of some sort. Every single time I have boarded public transpiration with Calvin someone offers me their seat if there isn’t one already available. Sometimes, like when Calvin is on my back and it would be hard to sit, I decline. However, when I’m carrying him in my arms and it’s really crowded it is a lot easier to manage him sitting down. The same is true of anyone who is elderly or feeble. Someone always gives up their seat for them. I think there’s some sort of informal pecking order going on. Younger and healthier people obviously give up their seats first. However, what would happen if you got a train car full of pregnant women and elderly people?
The peak tram ride is quick but interesting. At times, it goes up at a 27 degree angle. At the top, riders are deposited into the smaller of the two shopping malls at the top. We milled around trying to figure out what to do next and ended up being accosted by an overly helpful visitor center lady. Eventually we wandered off just to be able to think in peace. While the tram lines had not been bad, it was still quite busy up top. We went up to the top of the building the tram was into to get the 360 degree view. It was impressive but probably would have been more so if there had been less fog/haze. It was also windy and Calvin was grumpy so we left fairly soon.
Since Calvin was grumpy, our next stop was lunch. Vegetarian food is not overly abundant on the peak but we did manage to find some vegetarian pizza bread that was reasonable. The restaurant was at the larger mall. After lunch, we went in to look at the local English bookstore. However, the books were packaged so you couldn’t look at them ahead of time. Picture book quality varies so much that I never take the risk of buying without reading the book first.
After the bookstore, we went out to walk the Peak Walk which is a circular trail that loops around Victoria Peak and is 3.5 km long. The trail is surrounded by lots of trees and other plants and the views are great. Once again, it was really nice to have the backpack carrier to schlep Calvin around in.
After the walk, we went and let Calvin play at a playground next to the mall. I was a little disappointed that we only saw one playground up at the peak and none on our loop walk. Though to be fair, maybe the city planners didn’t think making a playground on the side of a cliff was a good idea.
Calvin finished playing which left us an awkward amount of time to fill. The peak is very commercialized and other than the walking trail, there isn’t much to do up there other than shop. Eventually, we decided to head down and wander the free zoological and botanical gardens in central Hong Kong until it was time to eat supper. I’m still amazed by the amount of land devoted to park-like activities. The zoological area isn’t as extensive as a normal zoo but it still has several hundred animals. Calvin especially enjoyed watching the monkeys.
We decided we were ready for an early lunch so went back to the vegetarian restaurant we had eaten at our first day. Unfortunately, we were a little early and they requested we come back in about 40 min. Since we had time, we explored some of the other shops in the area and found a grocery store in an adjacent building. This store was bigger than the one across from our hotel and included several exotic things we hadn’t seen at the other place.
Supper was good and since Jaeger was feeling more awake, he ate a lot more than he did the last time we were there. I’m still not great with chopsticks but am getting better. We have discovered that the standard dishes one eats off are a bowl and plate about the size of our tea cups and saucers. This threw us the first time we ate there but after observing diners I think we have it mostly figured out.
Water isn’t an automatic starting beverage like it is in the states. Instead, we have tea. At most restaurants we’re given two tea pots. One with tea and the other with hot water. We believe the hot water is to refresh the tea in the tea pot whenever it gets low or too strong from sitting.
After dinner we went back to the grocery store and picked up more breakfast food. In addition, we splurged and bought a knife so we could buy and try some “dragon fruit” which is a fascinating item we’ve seen in most produce stands/markets. We’re saving the experiment for breakfast.
Calvin wasn’t quite asleep by the time we headed home but on the train he nodded off several times. As soon as I put him in the backpack to head back to the hotel he was asleep. I’m trying to stay up a little later tonight in hopes of waking up later but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to hold out.
Our Hong Kong/Taiwan Trip: