Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Damp Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Sunday, 12 September 2010 7:41pm

Know how Hong Kong movies have a lot of scenes where it's raining? I think I've found out why. It was pouring on and off all day. Not just a little sprinkle here or there, but torrential downpours. It made me realize how much of my list of things to do in Hong Kong is outside...

I started the day off right with Dim Sum brunch at Maxim's Palace Restaurant in the Hong Kong City Hall. Since Hong Kong doesn't have a government at the city level, City Hall seems to be filled with restaurants and performing arts venues.

Dim sum really underscores one of the problems with traveling alone in China: limited ordering. Normally when I go out for dim sum, I go with a group and we order a huge variety of dishes and each have just a little of each dish. Since I have nobody to split the dishes with, it means I get to try fewer things. I only managed to eat through eight different dishes over the course of the meal.

Afterward, I did some approximation of the Hong Kong city walking tour from the guidebook I have, with lots of wrong turns and random digressions. I think the highlight of the tour was the Man Mo temple, a large smoky space full of spiral incense cones and statuary. It was also fun to just wander along the various market streets, though it might have been better to do this on a weekday when more shops might have been open. Still, there were plenty of representatives of each shop type: dried fish, Chinese medicine, curios...

At the end of the tour, I decided to take a trip on an escalator. Specifically: the Central-Mid-Levels Escaltor, the world's longest outdoor escalator system. I was a bit disappointed at the fact that it's an escalator system rather than a single escalator, though I see why it's both more useful (since you can get off easily at each block) and more practical to have it broken into segments. I imagine the engineering for a single escalator that long would be daunting, especially since different sections are at different grades. Some of them are barely-inclined moving sidewalks, and others are half-step-height or normal escalators. It's a fun ride that offers glimpses down lots of Hong Kong streets as you rise.

The escalator is one-way (briefly downhill in the mornings, and uphill for the rest of the time), so when I reached the top, I started walking down. Almost all of the storefronts along the escalator's path are filled by restaurants, so I stopped in for dinner (and to get out of the rain) at a small, Thai place that turned out to be quite tasty.