Finally we were at the busy commercial area of Nathan Street where N's service apartment is located. She was there to receive us. A short walk to the apartment later, we were finally comfortable after a not-so-long-journey as such but tiring, as it was preceded by a long day at office !!!
N is a perfect host - in spite of her really busy schedule at that time, she had prepared food for us !!! She had to rush to office soon. We made ourselves comfortable, freshed up, had a lovely lunch, rested and all recharged to be back to our "tourist" avatar!!! All dressed up, we were out in Nathan street soon, checking out the plethora of outlets with highly attractive wares on display !!! Initiated photo sessions (one of the main objectives of a holiday is to share the views and go back in time later), and enjoyed coffee at Starbucks.
The evening plan was to visit the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront for the world renowned "A Symphony of Lights" light and sounds show. The view at the waterfront with the hong kong skyline, with numerous tall lighted-up buildings was breathtaking...there are very few similar spectacles I have experienced before. And the show, was simple amazing. It is a memory that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The rest of the evening, we took a harbour cruise, which took us around for a enthralling experience for around an hour. We were on the open deck, taking in the views and the lovely breeze....Such a welcome change coming from the hot arid plains of North India!!!
The plan for next day was to take the cable car to lantau island and visit the giant buddha. It was me and U as N again had to cancel her leave due to an unforeseen emergency situation at work. Armed with printed instructions prepared by N from her research, we were off to explore. The first hop was train to reach Tung Chung, and then cable car. The Cable Car journey was the best I had been to so far - the earlier ones being the one at Haridwar, in Science City in Kolkata, to Sentosa Island in Singapore. The cars were pretty big, with seating for 8 people, which helps to get into a "community" feeling !! Otherwise hanging in a box, from a wire, some hundreds of feet above ground, does give some initial jitters to "normal-hearted" people like me !!! There was a looooooong queue and a consequential looooooooooooooong wait before we could be on-board. The moderately hot (in 30s Celsius) and considerably humid weather made it pretty difficult though...
Finally the wait was over, and we were on board, and all then it was pure magic. The views around were breathtaking...the changing landscape - from cityscape to mountains to water bodies....the airport, the harbour - we could see it all. And then we could see the Giant Buddha...and as we came nearer, it emerged in its full glory...Lot of pics later, we reached our destination and took a walk around the Ngong Ping Village. We took the 268 steps to reach on top, and spent time absorbing the lovely views around !!!! The humidity did make the climb little difficult - but the excitement of discovering new places makes these little discomforts utterly insignificant.
We rested a while in the cool shadows around, visited Po-Lin monastery, enjoyed a leisurely lunch and then were on our way back. One very interesting find here was the giant sized incense sticks that were being offered !!!
Then it was time for the evening shift of fun!!! N was back from office and we were off to the Temple Street night market. Fun place for lot of knick-knacks and a heady dose of bargaining. The bargaining mode was mostly calculator, where the buyer and seller would sequentially put up their offer and finally the deal happens at the most mutually agreeable price point. Reminded me of Bangkok - where we had use exactly the same mode of communication. Its amazing how supposedly inconsequential fruits of technology has enabled the phenomenon of global village.....enabling global trade and tourism!!! Some shopping and a lovely dinner at one of the street kiosks later, we were done for the day...
Next in agenda was Macau - and we were all excited in anticipation!!!