Hong Kong Trip 2017

Day 9 & 10 – Macau

So I decided to do Macau in one post instead of two posts of two half days…

Yesterday I went to Kowloon for the fitting of my suits (Looking GOOOOD!) before getting the Star Ferry back to HK Island to find the Cotai Water Jet Pier. I bought my tickets, was let out of Hong Kong Boarders and was soon on the way to Macau.

The boat was a little bumpy, standard catamaran nothing awful, and soon I was in Macau looking for a hotel shuttle bus! Bus acquired, I was soon whisked round to the Diamond Lobby of the Galaxy Hotel Macau.

I hasten to add. I did not pay full price for the hotel.  I managed to book a room for the night in the Galaxy, a ridiculous 5+ star hotel, for £108! BUT to do this, I used – On there, you know the location, the star rating and the price, but you don’t know the hotel until after you’ve paid! (I like a risk!) I’ve done the same regime for Shenzhen tomorrow!

Ridiculously Large hotel-age
Ridiculously Large hotel-age

Anywho, the hotel was RIDICULOUS. There was a “Long Queue” (2 people) so I was whisked away to the premier guest check-in, and looked after by a “Welcome ambassador” (I JUST WANTED TO PUT MY BAG DOWN!)  Eventually I was shown towards my room (on the 23rd floor) and was able to settle in.

I thought I’d go for a “quick wonder” to see what the hotel was like… an hour later I made it back to the room!

River Rapids on the "Promenade deck". Sadly shut or I'd have had a bob!
River Rapids on the “Promenade deck”. Sadly shut or I’d have had a bob!

The hotel was simply colossal – It actually contained 3 or 4 hotels all attached, surrounding a shopping center easily the size of Westfield White City.

From my hotel, I jumped on a (free of course) shuttle bus the the Venetian and had a gawp at the ridiculousness of having a canal with gondolas indoors in China. From the Venetian, I walked though to the Parisian and looked at all the poorly “French themed” items and decor.

You COULD Be in Venice... but you very much are not.
You COULD Be in Venice… but you very much are not.

As I stepped outside the Parisian, one of the doormen said to me proudly “Bonjour Sir” in an awful accent. I replied enthusiastically in as French an accent I could muster “Bonjour”, before realising it was actually 7pm and Bonsoir was probably the correct greeting!

From the Parisian, It was a short walk down the Cotai strip to the City of Dreams, Where I was off to see a show… (More on that in a minute!)… As I walked down the strip I came to the conclusion that I really didn’t like the fakery that was  all these hotels. I feel personally that there is something a bit… almost sinister about it all… I can’t describe, but it’s just all so fake!

It’s funny to think that 10 or so years ago, none of the Cotai Strip was there… Actually when you’re there however it’s not hard to believe at all. This is because next to every “overbuilt” hotel, seems to be an empty plot of land, either being built or just laying barren!

The House of Dancing Water

When I was talking about booking this trip, Hilzo said to me that if I was out here for this long, I should go to Macau and if I go to Macau I HAVE to go to see the House of Dancing Water. She also told me if I was booking, that I was not allowed to watch any Youtube videos or do any research about it. Blindly I booked and next thing you know was in my seat, in the Water Theater at the City of Dreams.

I’m actually still processing the show. Often I have said that a piece of Theater has been so good that it’s left me speechless… This was SO good that it left me with a dry mouth from sitting Gawping at the spectacle.

I actually still don’t know what more I can write about it. It was a spectacle like no other. I didn’t know where to look. I could barely focus on one place without noticing something going on somewhere else.

Often when you see reviews, you read ridiculous statements like “Best show ever” or “Astounding audiences every night”… I truly believe every one of those sweeping statements could be applied to this.  Nearly 24 hours later it has just dawned on me that there was probably only 3 spoken words in the whole performance!!

From Water, to bikes, to ballet to diving… you just can’t imagine what’s going to come next. If you are ever remotely near Macau, I STRONGLY suggest you go and watch the show! (It’s an hour on a ferry from Hong Kong… the ferries run over night… do it!)

If enough people want to know, then maybe I’ll write some more… but I really don’t want to spill any more…

What I will spill, is that before the “curtain came up” I was actually in tears. I was crying with laughter, due to a small language barrier issue suffered by the Ladies selling Ice Cream:

Whilst wandering up and down announcing the fact they were selling “Ice Cream”, one of the ladies had a particularly strong Chinese Accent, which ended up with it sounding like she’d said “Arse Cream”. To add insult to injury the Brand was “Haagen Daz”. When you combine the two, the lady shouted what sounded like “Hardened Arse Cream”….  This went on for about 20 minutes…. Once you’ve got the giggles it’s very hard to stop, especially when they keep offering their wares!!

After the show, I met Hayley (shoutout to Hayley) who is working on the show. She started last week… all very coincidental that I’d already bought tickets etc. and I am actually a little jealous that she’s involved with such an amazing thing!

We left the City of Dreams and walked over to the Wynn Palace that has fountains just like the Bellagio in Las Vegas… Where it’s different to LV is that it also has a cable car up, over and along the fountains and into the hotel. We took the cable car into the hotel (Redic!) before swiftly looking to try and find the exit (They are like mazes!).

We headed back to the Galaxy and had a wander round. I showed Hayley the ridiculous fountain in the Diamond Foyer that does a Show ever half an hour, revealing a Giant Disco Ball Diamond… We Got some food and even went into the Casino where Hayley won 50p, and I went down £2.50… High Finance!

The Size, Tech and Games in the casino were like another world!
The Size, Tech and Games in the casino were like another world!

It was soo lovely to catch up – and we did joke that it’s taken us to be 14 or so hours from home to be able to catch up when we used to live only 4 or so hours away!

I slept like a log. Well more like a sprouting tree with my limbs spread out across the Huge superking. I woke up in the middle of the night and actually panicked ‘cos I couldn’t find the edge of the bed!

This morning I had what I am happy to say is hands down the best hotel shower I have ever had in my entire life. Never has a hotel had pressure like it!!

I checked out, and headed to Studio City as my ticket to The House of Dancing Water gave me a free ride on the Studio City Figure of 8 Ferris wheel, plastered halfway up the building.

Figure of 8 Ferris Wheel from beneath! (beneath being the 23rd floor!)
Figure of 8 Ferris Wheel from beneath! (beneath being the 23rd floor!)

Frankly if you don’t have a freebie, don’t bother. You are perpendicular to the strip and can’t really see anything. (The concept was good, the execution a bit too showy and the views sub-par!).

The "View"... come back in a few years!
The “View”… come back in a few years!

Studio City is another huuuuge hotel themed on America/New York. Having been to New York this time last year I can confirm it was a very poor attempt!

From Studio City, I jumped on another free bus to the Macau Peninsular to explore the old city. There were LOADS of people everywhere. Macau used to be under Portuguese rule (Like Hong Kong was under GB Rule), so a lot of the streets look a little Portuguese-y, and Portuguese is still used heavily in Macau so the roadsigns etc are in Chinese and Portuguese!

Very Portuguese-y!
Very Portuguese-y!

I wandered through the streets, through a little market to the ruins of St Pauls Cathedral. Not quite St Pauls in London… but nice to look at.

The Ruins of St Paul's from "inside" the ruins
The Ruins of St Paul’s from “inside” the ruins

I headed back towards the bus stops, and found a huge department store. I found the cafe – Angela’s Cafe! Couldn’t see Angela but they made me a HUGE sandwich.

Satiated, I headed to a coach back to the Wynn Hotel (With the cable car) before swapping for a coach to the Ferry Terminal. At the ferry Terminal I managed to get on the boat “two before” my ticketed sailing.

It was choppy. I don’t really get seasick but I had to stop writing this blog because I simply couldn’t concentrate! They weren’t allowed to serve soft drinks and you were pretty much forced into your seats. (Sick bags ahoy!)

I chilled out at Lady Hilzo’s Palace for a bit before meeting her for dinner… We went to Happy Veggies which is the most amazing social enterprise… All the Waitstaff and Chefs were deaf. The whole restaurant is a social enterprise and the food was AMAZING too.

We’re now back at Hilly’s Palace (Not quite Caesar’s palace) chilling out before I head up to Mainland China for some “Shenzhen Shopping Action” tomorrow!

Hong Kong Trip 2017

Day 11 – Shenzhen

So today was, for me a fairly early start. I was out of the residence of Hilzo just after 10am. Gutted that I missed the Escalators going downward I trudged down the stairs to Central MTR station. (To Clarify it’s a LOT of stairs… 20 minutes worth!)

From Central, I jumped on the MTR and three trains later arrived at the Boarder of Hong Kong with Mainland China. (AH!). Having been allowed to leave Hong Kong, I then had to find the visa office to be allowed into China. As I was pre-warned.. It’s not Clear.

I eventually found the escalator, took a number,  filled in the “application card” and waited. Thankfully within 10-15 mins my number popped up on the screen, and I was able to go to the first window. At the first window I handed over my passport, and was stared at before being told… “Processed”. Then I had to sit and wait to be called to the second window, where I paid, before another wait to collect my passport from the third window, now sporting a lovely whole page sticker!

Having been allowed in, my bags went into a metal detector and out of the station I went. I wandered down into the Shenzhen Metro station and tried (and failed a few times) to get a ticket to the Currencies Direct office in Shenzhen. Eventually a plastic coin dropped out the machine… after I’d put in the equivalent of about 40p. It would appear that would be my ticket. I scanned my bags again. (every Subway station in Shenzhen requires a bag x-ray!) Waved my coin onto the barrier and down into the metro I went.

It’s very similar to Hong Kong and mostly in English so was easy to navigate and soon enough I was at the station I needed to get off at. Dropped my coin in the slot and left the station… I found what I thought was the office but due to a slight confusion wasn’t so I jumped into a taxi up the road (a whole £1’s worth of Taxi!) to the right place.

Once inside I met my lovely colleagues out here in Shenzhen and one of them treated me to a pizza. Worryingly while waiting I could smell loads of chemicals… not sure where they were coming from but the pizza tasted fine!

Another selfie, another reason to join the Peace sign club!
CD HK – Another selfie, another reason to join the Peace sign club!

It was interesting to learn that where the office is located, is the “New CBD” opposed to where my hotel is located which is now the “old CBD”. All the Finance Institutions are now a bit further out in bigger buildings with more space!

From the office, I splashed out in another taxi (I think it was £3.50) to check in to the hotel.  Again, 5* … this time a little less luxuary than the Galaxy but perfectly adequate. (A bit aged, but I paid £73 for a 5* room, what can I really want?!!)

The Hotel opposite decorated for CNY
The Hotel opposite decorated for CNY

From the Hotel it was a quick 5 minute walk up to the metro station and a 10p journey to the Stop where I was going to find the Electronics Market…

The electronics market was frankly nothing like I could have imagined. There was just so much. In fact, there was much too much.  To start with I was overly excited, but an hour or so in, and I was fed up, lost and confused! I’d managed to accidentally make it over to the Phone accessories market and was sick to the back teeth of phone covers!

I eventually fell out of the building onto the street about 400m up the road from where I’d started. I took a wonder back down and started in the electronics again being very careful! ( I did manage to buy some items in the phone market though!)

Back in the Electronics market, I was again, excited but soon bored once I realised I was on floor 3 of 10… I was really hoping to see something innovative that I’d never seen before which I could buy and bring back. Sadly I saw nothing like that. I did however see ever component under the sun, every cable, every connector, every of everything.

10 Stories of rediculousness
10 Stories of rediculousness

I was also overcome with the strange regulations with regard to smoking. Despite lots of components, including gels etc, and the numerous signs saying “No smoking” there were still large numbers of stall holders puffing away, or groups of people playing cards between stalls puffing on fags! Weird to see nowadays post “Smoking ban” in the UK!

Just going to shut up shop of my electrical goods by wrapping a blanket over them!
Just going to shut up shop of my electrical goods by wrapping a blanket over them!

I decided that had I have had an explicit shopping list I probably could have done well, but just to browse, I got bored. I decided I’d head back towards the boarder (but not over!) to the Louhu Commercial City.

CRAZY Shopping street by the electrical market!
CRAZY Shopping street by the electrical market!

What a bloody experience. 5 floors of Real, fake, real genuine fake, goods. Mental. Every store tries to entice you in with their chat. In poor English including their catchphrase “Just looking”. (Hilzo’s brother reckons someone once said “Just looking” and it’s caught on… I’d agree)

Another 5 stories of Craziness - most stores don't have the stock in them, but in a stock room somewhere... they will bring it to you on your request!
Another 5 stories of Craziness – most stores don’t have the stock in them, but in a stock room somewhere… they will bring it to you on your request!

At the recommendation of a friend, I paid one of the sellers a visit and ended up staying about 3 hours. But we got what we wanted in the end so all was good!

I also managed to add some T-Shirts to my collection… let’s hope I can get all of this back in my case!  Overall a successful day.

I headed back to the hotel, Tried to go to the revolving restaurant  on the 50th floor but it was sadly closed up already, so headed down the road to the Golden Arches.

Not sure why "Warm tips" amused me! Helped by some guy just laughing away next to the sign!
Not sure why “Warm tips” amused me! Helped by some guy just laughing away next to the sign!

It had started raining and I was genuinely a little worried about the acid that might be falling from the sky! I did notice today that there was a haze for most of the day and I’ve had a headache, and my eyes have been a bit weird feeling all day.. I can only attribute all this to pollution. FUN!

Also interesting is how much of the internet is restricted in Mainland China. If you’re reading this from facebook, best you don’t ask how I posted it on there… strangely messenger seems to work (the facebook messaging app)… weird!

Anyway, I best get to sleep before my last day and flight home tomorrow! 🙁 Night all!