Day 2 - 28th July 2001
Victoria Peak

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I got up around 10:30, took a quick shower and had breakfast in the hotel café. After that I decided to visit Victoria Peak, which is one of the main tourist spots in Honk Kong. I thought that rather than take the bus, I'd walk there from the nearest MTR station, which is about 15 minutes. At least, it would have been, but I got completely lost and it took around half an hour, by which time I was incredibly hot and pouring with sweat. I went in to the station and stood under the air conditioning vent, dripping onto their floor.

The tram lines wind
disconcertingly upwards
The tram was interesting, it climbs slowly and creakily to the peak of the mountain at angles of up to 25 degrees. The floor are even angled so that you can stand up without falling over, but it's better to keep in your seat. My ears were popping all the way as the tram arrived at the highest point in Honk Kong. The views from the top were amazing. You can see the skyscrapers glinting in the sun and the ferries slowly grossing the harbour.

This being a tourist spot, there was a shopping centre at the top, which I had a stroll round. I also visited Ripley's Believe it or Not Odditorium, which is a showcase of strange or bizarre people and things. It was good fun.

One of the shops at the
top of Victoria peak
I was sitting in a bar having a drink when I remembered that I hadn't remembered to book any extra nights at the hotel as I was only booked in for one night. I rushed back to the hotel, and asked at the desk and they told me that the extra nights would be HK$ 900 each (around 90 pounds). Apparently, the night I booked with the travel agency at 38 pounds was a special deal, which wouldn't apply to other nights. If only I had known that I could have made arrangements earlier, or chosen a hotel that I could actually afford! I decided that I would have to find another hotel. I was told that I only had half an hour to check out otherwise I would have to pay half the daily rate for late check-out. I quickly packed and left, dragging all my stuff on the train. I headed for the YMCA which I had noticed in my travels yesterday. Once I arrived I asked at reception, but they only had the really expensive rooms left, which were almost as expensive as the other place. I asked if they had any other hotels which they could recommend, and she gave me a list of other YMCAs in the area. I called them, but they were pretty full. The third one I tried, the Harbour View International House, had space, but only a double room. It was a bit cheaper at around 60 quid a night, which was a bit more reasonable. I reserved a room and then went for lunch, dragging all my belongings with me.

After the meal (which was lovely) I went to check in, and drop my stuff. Well, at least I now have a place to stay. The room was large, and was on the 20th floor. It had a magnificent view over the harbour, which was especially good at night when everything is lit up.

The view from the top
After a bit of a rest to let my ankles recover from carrying the bags, I decided to go to CyberCity, a large complex full of computer shops. It was 7:45 by then, so it was likely that I wouldn't get much time to browse before it closed, but I decided to go anyway (most shops here close at 9pm).

While waiting for the train, I was approached by a woman who had studied English in Warwick university and was now working as a teacher here in Hong Kong. Quite a coincidence!

After arriving, I got totally lost, and didn't eventually find CyberCity until it had closed. At least I know where it is for tomorrow though. I stopped in a pub for a drink and watched someone play darts on an electronic darts machine while I sipped on a coke.

After that it was 10pm and I was feeling quite tired, so I went back to my hotel to nurse my aching ankles.

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