Hong Kong Stopover Before Bike Tour Around Taiwan

On April 4, 2012 by admin

 

Not technically part of the bike tour, but still a part of this trip, Hong Kong has been a whirlwind of sensory overload.

We departed Nanaimo on Thursday March 29th at 5pm, finally boarding the flight from YVR to Hong Kong by 245am. At my brother in laws house in Richmond we managed to purge a few more unneeded items out of our luggage to keep things as light as possible. By the time we had checked in my bag it only weighed 10kgs, a far cry to the days when I’d routinely huff along 2 bags of 32kgs each from Canada to Japan and vice versa. Traveling light is great, and its nice to not blow your back out just carrying your stuff.

The flight started off very much on the wrong foot. Almost immediately after seating the symphony of babies crying began. Just two rows behind us! I admit to being fairy averse to the sound of babies crying, probably because I don’t have one of my own, at this point hearing that sound is akin to nails down a chalkboard to me. The flight was 14 hrs in all, and I don’t exaggerate when I say that the babies cried for probably 12 hrs of the 14. It was almost comical at times, there would be a ten minute lull where I could almost doze off again, then one would start up then soon the wailing banshees symphony would be in full force. The main issue I had was the parents didn’t seem to care or think about bringing a toy or a soother for the poor kids.

We landed a full day ahead in HK at 7am, meaning we had the whole day to try to stay awake. My first order of business was inhaling a coconut bun and downing a bottle of ice coffee, Our hotel in Wan Chai let us store our bags until check in, so we headed out visit my wife’s Grandpa, great uncle, great aunt, and her parents. We explored Tai Koo and the waterfront and had more good food. Back at the hotel by 430pm, told myself I’d only sleep 40 minutes tops, just a quick nap to recharge the batteries.

Woke up at 430am.

Day 2, since we were up so early we took advantage of it and caught an early subway and bus up to Po Lin monastery where the Big Buddha resides, the worlds largest seated Buddha in fact. We saw a few packs of cyclists climbing the mountain roads here on the island of Lantau. It made me want to army roll out of the cramped bus and rent a bike. I’ve been impressed by how beautiful Hong Kong is, my first impression was the narrow minded view that it was just a large city, which it is, but it’s a country that makes use of every square km it has, and the mountains and ocean bordering every developed area just makes me see how accessible the hills and trails are for people here.

The Buddha was nice and quiet, we were the first through the gates to climb the stair to it’s base up high above. This place is so calm and serene when the tourist hordes haven’t arrived yet, as I found out when we got back down. Inside the Buddha statue was a museum, with the prize piece being a relic of the Buddha himself, consisting of some of his alleged cremated remains. For making an offering we were rewarded the close up view of this, along with an ice cream and water afterward, always a nice touch.

Tonight we also had a large banquet with 60 friends and family, a wedding celebration of sorts since both my wife and I, plus her brother and his wife, were married last year and this was the first chance to meet many who hadn’t been able to come to the weddings. It was a full evening consisting of ten courses and plenty of introductions. I was so bagged by the time I was on the mtr heading to my hotel I fell asleep right on the train.

Day 3 (Monday), was a full family day exploring Repulse Bay, Stanley Market, visiting the heart of Hong Kong to see some of the highest skyscrapers too. The highlight for the day was either getting a “Bruce lee is my homeboy” tshirt or seeing his statue during the walk along the avenue of the stars a tsim sha choi. Actually I was most blown away by the symphony of lights display along the harbor as lasers shot out of rooftops and buildings lit up in time with the music. Very very impressive!

I followed this up to finish the 11hr sightseeing day by getting a massage. Ophelias cousin found a reputable place and we all went in. I somehow drew the short straw and had the angriest old lady working me over on the massage table. I am sure she didn’t know the word painful or stop in Englishman, or pretended not to know them, as she raked her knuckles into my back and I silently wished for my 45 minutes to speed up.

The final day in Hong Kong was spent visiting relatives and then a bit of shopping. Ophelia went off to some malls while I went to 188 the gadget and computer shopping area to load up on cheaply made goods that seemed like good prices compared to Canada.

Also of fairly big news in relation to the bike trip, is we have decided to change the route. I was put in contact with the son of a friend of mine who lives in Taiwan. He strongly recommended we didn’t ride south from Yilan to Hualien on highway 9 as it’s heavily trafficked and has many tunnels. I ended up spending about 4 hours researching routes inland and changing hotel dates. Basically we may now end up needing an extra day to reach Taroko Gorge as we’ll climb inland south along route 7, then east on route 8 but crossing over Dayuling pass at 2565m.

Excited to get this trip on the go!

 

台湾旅行前:香港での乗り継ぎ(要約版)

On April 4, 2012 by admin

技術的な話ではなく、またこの旅についてのお話。香港は感覚的過多の旋風でした。

私たちはナナイモ(カナダ・BC州)を3月29日(木)午後5時に出発し、最終的にバンクーバーから香港に到着しました。カナダのリッチモンドにある義理の弟の家で、可能な限り「軽く」旅する為、不要な荷物を下ろしました。その時にバッグの重さを計測すると10キロしかなく、昔日本に行ったり来たりしてるときは、よく苦労して荷物は32kgのバッグを2つだったので楽ちんでした。「軽い旅」と言うのは最高です、腰を痛めなくてすみますしね・・・!

飛行機の中は赤ん坊が大泣きで、阿鼻叫喚でした。14時間のフライト中、赤ん坊は12時間ほど(私の2列後ろで!しかも、2人、代わりばんこで途切れることなく・・・)泣いていました。泣いている子供を親があやしたりしていなかった事は本当にどうかと思いますよ。

7時に香港に到着し、飛行機の中で寝られなかったので、つまり、私は丸24時間起きていなければならなくなってしまいました。最初の仕事はココナッツバン(雞尾包)とボトルのアイスコーヒーを買う事で、ホテルに荷物を預け、親族に会いに行きました。夕方にホテルに戻り、眠りにつきました。

 

二日目は、早起きしたので世界最大の屋外大仏様を拝みに宝蓮禅寺に出向きました。サイクリストの集団をランタオ島に行く丘を登る途中で見かけました。その光景を見て、私はすし詰めのバスを飛び出して、自転車を借りたくなってしまいました。私は香港の美しい光景にずっと感動していました。私の香港の第一印象はただの大きな都市でしたが、すごくアクセシビリティに富んだ、海と山を要する街だというのが、わかりました。

大仏は非常に素晴らしく、また静かでした。観光客も少ないようです。大仏様の中は美術館になっておりました。

 

 

その夜は、私たち夫婦の結婚披露と、妻の兄弟の結婚披露パーティーでした。式に来れなかった知り合いがたくさん集まり、盛大に祝っていただきました。疲れていたので、帰りの地下鉄でうたた寝してしまう程でした。

 

 

3日目(月)は家族のための日で、香港の様々な場所を見て回りました。この日の一番のハイライトはチムサーチョイの近くで買った「ブルース・リーは俺のジモ友だ!(Bruce lee is my homeboy)」Tシャツでしょうかね。

 

他にも地獄のマッサージなどを体験し(笑)盛りだくさんな一日でした。

 

香港滞在最終日は親戚を訪ね、その後少しだけショッピングをしました。妻はモールへ、私は188(モンコックでしょうか?)にガジェット類を買いに出かけました。カナダと比べるとかなりリーズナブルに手に入れる事が出来たと思います。

それと、自転車旅行に関係したお知らせが一つ、私たちはルート変更を決めました。友人の息子が、宣蘭から花蓮までを高速9号線沿いにいくのは、交通が込み合う事と、トンネルが多いことから、絶対にお勧めできないという事を教えてくれました。

4時間ほど悩んで、ルートとホテルを変更しました。基本的にはこれで追加日もなく、トロコ渓谷に向かい7号線沿いに南進、8号線で東に向かい、大禹嶺(標高2656m)の傍を通って行く予定です。

 

とても楽しみです!

 

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