Day Four got a little silly. But we all need a little silly sometimes. I came across some walking tours of Wan Chai, one of the historical areas of town. There was a cultural tour, hitting cultural landmarks, and an architectural tour, highlighting different architectural styles. I was imagining the architectural tour to be more about the history of the town, you know, “Paul Revere slept here” kind of thing. Yeah, not really.
We hopped off the MTR, and instantly felt yet another vibe. It wasn’t the high end business feel of Central, or the chaotic markets of Mong Kok, this reminded us of being home in Oregon on a Summer day. Eclectic, artsy, a little hipster, but classy. Green hills stretched upward from the edge of town, making you forget that you’re in one of the most densely populated areas on earth. I pulled up our tour map on my phone and off we went. In my defense, I didn’t study it too closely before we took off, or else I might have noticed that the stops included gems such as “tuberculosis clinic built with the popular architectural style of the era. Note the cement pillars.” Noted. The architectural part of the tour just showed different types of architecture from different eras, without regard to what the building actually was as far as the history of the town.
Such a cool mix of old and new, eclectic and clean.
Side note: I’m stealing some of these for our town. (To which I’m sure most drivers would respond, “Hmm…what’s a lane?”)
It wasn’t what we expected, but we finished the tour anyways, it was a nice walk. I would do it again and ignore the landmarks, just stroll and take in the culture. We went down one street of little “mom and pop” auto repair shops, and the number of high end luxury vehicles haphazardly parked on the road in front was crazy. In the States we park our BMWs and Jaguars in four parking spots to make sure no one comes near them, here Alfa Romeos and Teslas sit nearly bumper to bumper, hugging the edge of the sidewalk. Our final stop was the oldest post office in Hong Kong, which was operational until the 1990’s, and now it’s still used as the Environmental Resource Center. It looked cute and quaint surrounded by the high rises, I’m glad to see some of Hong Kong’s history has been preserved. And in keeping with Hong Kong’s crazy cool mix of old and new, it sits a few buildings down from the Mclaren dealership.
The Wan Chai Post Office, holding it’s own against the urban sprawl.
After Wan Chai, we wandered back to Times Square, had street food for lunch, and looked at a $20,000 USD fountain pen in Mont Blanc. We didn’t buy it. We wanted to go to one of the cat cafes, but it was closed, so I guess we’ll have to drink coffee with our kitties at home instead. I saw a cool ice cream shop online, Lab Made, and read that it opened at 1 pm. They make ice cream by instantly freezing the cream with liquid nitrogen, which sounded like a good old time. We found it just after 1, tucked away in another cool little neighborhood, only to discover it didn’t open until 2. It was Sunday morning all over. As we were deciding what to do, Andrew, always the thrifty practical one, calmly asked, “So, do you really want to stand here for an hour to buy $6 ice cream?” He was right. Maybe next time. The second closed door in a row, and it just sent us into silly mode.
On the way back to the MTR, we passed Fire Dragon Path. Dan made me take a picture. Dad Joke #1. (of the day…) Then we passed a college, where white clad students were entering a doorway marked “QC”, and Dan asked, “If their uniforms aren’t white enough, do they fail QC?” Dad Joke #2. Thankfully, it ended there.
Dad Joke #1
Dad Joke #2
We returned to our hood, and went back to our hotel via the Central Escalators. Built in the 1990’s, the Central Escalators is a state of the art people mover, keeping people off the congested roads below. They serpentine through the back neighborhoods and countless restaurants as they move you uphill (downhill towards town in the mornings). The project went way over budget and was heavily criticized at the time, but it gives you another view of the city that you miss from the main roads.
View from the escalators. Restaurants, massages, and other services fill the alleys.
We called Larry to see how the suits were coming, and he asked if we could come down for a fitting. Just a few blocks from Rashmi’s is Champagne Court, a small shopping plaza that is filled with used film camera shops. Hipster heaven! Andrew’s been after a film camera for a while, and even though most everything we saw was out of his price range, it was also a bit of a museum. Vintage Hasselblads, Leicas, and of course Nikons and Canons lined the shelves. It was truly remarkable to see.
And this was just one shop…
Speaking of remarkable, we popped into Rashmi’s, and Andrew’s suit was a perfect fit. Beyond perfect. Dan’s vest was a little tight across the shoulders, but besides that, it was perfect too. The guys actually had a hard time parting with them for one more day to allow for the final touches.
It was nearly time for the evening “A Symphony of Lights” on Hong Kong Bay, one major thing we hadn’t yet done. Originally, we planned to go on one of the junk boat tours, but decided against it, and when we saw them, we were happy we didn’t spend the money. They aren’t “true” junks, they’re noisy diesel boats with non-functional sails attached. Boat rides are a regular occurrence for us, so if you’re not used to hopping on one to go to the local beach, it’s probably a fun experience. The light show was fun, the music and bright neon was so classically “Asia”, just in case you forgot where you were.
Obligatory touristy skyline pic…obligatory puffy eyes after a long day.
To hit the show on time we postponed dinner, so by the end of the show, we were hungry. Borderline “hangry”…I get grumpy when my blood sugar dips. After seeing all the restaurants from the escalators earlier, we made a beeline back there and started scanning the roads below for something edible. We saw some outdoor BBQ stalls, so we headed for those, but they were wrapping up for the evening. But, in the same alley was Butcher’s Club Burgers, not exactly local fare, but their burgers were incredible. Even more incredible were the duck fat fries. We laughed about the “duck fat” at first, but after a bite, we decided that from here forward, we would fry everything in duck fat. They also served Dr. Pepper, so that made it an instant win. We didn’t come to Hong Kong to eat Thai food, but duck fat fries and Dr. Pepper? Always OK.