Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: The Portuguese Connection (2012)

From one SAR to another

Breakfast at the Westin was amazingly busy when compared to the previous two mornings. After attending to the final bits of packing, we checked out and took a shuttle bus to Macau Ferry Terminal; there were actually two running in convoy due to the increased loads. We bought our tickets and boarded the ferry within minutes, although I had to pay a small supplement for handing in checked luggage at such short notice. This time, we were located in a small forward section of the vessel. The food offering was based on a helping of spaghetti bolognaise which, while hardly anything special, was at least nicer than the tuna sandwich offered on the service to Macau. It looked very hazy indeed as we entered Victoria Harbour.

In this second former European colony turned Special Administrative Region of China, arrival procedures were well organised and efficient. We were soon on board a cab and bound for the Conrad, where check-in was equally hassle-free. We were upgraded to an Executive Twin room with harbour view, which was small but very nice indeed. I couldn't recall ever before being offered a choice of three different brands of bathroom amenities as part of a hotel check-in procedure!

After settling in at our latest base, we had a quick look around the adjoining Pacific Place and Queensway Plaza malls, discovering a branch of the Crystal Jade restaurant chain in the latter. We located Admiralty MTR station, bought Octopus cards and rode the MTR (mass transit railway) to Mongkok in Kowloon. The trains were incredibly busy for a Sunday afternoon, when judged by western standards. We had a quick look around the Langham Place mall and hotel before taking a stroll through some local street markets, which were full of local colour and atmosphere.

ABOVE: Langham Place shopping mall looking cute for Christmas, and the entrance to the famous hotel ABOVE: Street market in Mongkok
In order to vary the return journey, we took the MTR to the tip of Kowloon at Tsim Sha Tsui and caught one of the famous Star Ferry boats to Central Pier on Hong Kong Island. We walked from there back to the Conrad as daylight faded, making use of some raised walkways to escape the traffic below.
  ABOVE: Star Ferry ride from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central

After a brisk freshen-up, we went up to the Executive Lounge for drinks and nibbles and were surprised to be seated by staff dressed in tailcoats. Drinks were also prepared and served by them. It was a smallish lounge, but the staff were supremely professional and friendly with it. The day ended with a room service dinner: we each had our choice of soup, but opted to share a club sandwich.

Sunday 18 Nov

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