travel tales


The Peninsula, Kowloon

What a fantastically glorious day I’ve had. It started again with a bit o’ tai-chi then a tasty dim sum breakfast in a lovely place called The Sweet Dynasty. I was going to have congee (a rice porridge apparently) but all the options included such delicacies as pig liver and cow tripe – none of which I could even consider at that time of the day… or perhaps ever.

As this was my last day in Hong Kong I decided not to spend it running hither and yon. I chose instead to have a sedate and cultured day, relaxing and serene. I started with a tour of some shops looking for gifts and books. I don’t enjoy shopping but I only spent an hour or so in ‘Harbour City’ which is pretty nice, as shopping malls go. I then returned to the Cosmic to drop of my purchases and gussy-up a little. I was going to the Peninsula.

I have been fascinated by the idea of the Peninsula Hotel since first I heard of it. It conjures images of the age of glamour and the excesses of empire. Four years ago I walked though the lobby and found that event almost too exciting to bear. Now I was actually sitting at a table surrounded by the sound of sweet music from the orchestra in the gallery and the murmur of conversation from my fellow diners. I was in 1930s heaven – and the food was nice too.

Pretty pink fancies

Cucumber sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and dainty little fondant fancies – all the elements of the perfect Afternoon Tea were there. In addition I had real silverware, plush napkins and attentive attendants. It was expensive but not extortionate and I paid for the experience as much as the food. It was joyous and more than lived up to my, very high, expectations.

I spent about 2 hours in the Peninsula in all – wandering the halls and window shopping among the high end establishments within the hotel.  I didn’t want to leave but eventually decided it might spoil the memory if I had to be forcibly ejected from the premises.

Next I trotted off to Mongkok to watch ‘Detective Dee And The Mystery of The Phantom Flame’ the latest film from Hark Tsui, the director of the mighty ‘Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain‘.  It was fantastic.  Beautifully shot, masterly use of CGI for the epic backgrounds and action direction by the incomparable Sammo Hung.

Finally, I skipped back down here, to Tsim Sha Tsui, to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre for a bit of theatre.

I think I mentioned ‘Mr Vampire’, one of my top ten movies of all time.  Some clever monkeys have reworked the classic flick through the medium of dance.  This was opening night.  It was all very modern with jerky arm movements and jangly music, but somehow the dance was always beautiful and the music was never discordant.  The choreography incorporated elements of tai-chi and Michael Jackson’s thriller, while the live orchestra included a chap who ‘played’ a basin of water.  I enjoyed it enormously.

So that’s it.  A spiffing end to a jolly fine trip.  It’s been a great week but I’m oh, so happy to be heading home.  Cheerio for now.


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