Next day (Friday) I met with all my co-workers who have arrived previous day, we had a short meeting, over super expensive breakfast in hotel (20$ for bacon and eggs), to plan the following days.
But before “real” work really started we had one more museum to visit. Natural history museum – one of the most known museums in USA, being featured in many movies among other in a “Night in a Museum”.
The museum is extremely large, it spans multiple floors in a very large building. If you download their app you actually have indoor positioning system where it guides you around the museum – as a virtual guide and tells you your exact position. We were quite impressed by this thing and are now trying to implement it at our institute. Exhibits range from prehistoric cave man, dinosaurs to the modern day mammals. The museum has a lot of exhibits about different rock formations and also features some astronomy exhibits.
In the following days we were working most of the day. We started at around 8-9AM and finished around 7-8PM. We didn’t have much time to go sightseeing anymore, only on short excursions in the evening before sleep.
One of such excursions was Madame Tussaud where we had a chance to take some photos with wax figures of famous people. Supposedly the exhibit wasn’t the best as you could clearly see that the statues were made from wax. I was told that in London you can barely tell the difference between a real person and his statue.
We landed in Hong Kong at around 9AM and it took us another 2 hours to find our way back to Jean and Maggie’s island. After a quick bite to eat, we decided to go to the main island to take a look at the iconic market stalls on the streets. This was more what I expected Hong Kong will be like, full of people on the streets with stalls where you can cheaply buy almost anything.
We bought some souvenirs and decided to go to the museum nearby, about history of Hong Kong. It was really interesting to learn about history of Hong Kong area, spanning from thousands of years ago till the Second World War. The museum was large, with tons of exhibits, we spent in it more than 4 hours, while looking at everything carefully at the beginning and almost running through the later exhibits.
After the museum we decided to go taste Japanese cuisine in a sushi restaurant in Mang Kok – the most crowded area of Hong Kong, but more about this later. So sushi … we sat around a long conveyer belt which was loaded with numerous dishes ranging from 7 – 40€ per plate (that is 1 or 2 bites per plate). After trying some dishes that we (me and Veronika) didn’t like, among them sea urchin, and spending a fortune on them, we decided we should go somewhere else to have a dessert. At that point Maggie joined us and found us a great little desert place nearby where we had some really good cakes.
After we slowly returned to the island, we had to prepare for the next day, when we would go to the highest hill above Hong Kong – The peak.
Sunday morning (it was more toward noon actually) we departed toward main island from where we would start our ascend. But first we decided to have a traditional Hong Kong lunch in a restaurant nearby. Food was surprisingly good with our favourite dish (of the whole trip) being traditional steamed dumplings with sweet filling.
After big lunch we started our ascend. Because area is so crowded the buildings go as far as possible up the steep terrain, because of this it seems like they are build leaning at the hills behind them. At one point we actually took an elevator in a building and could exit at the top and just continue further up the hill. On our way we also went through a university, again spanning multiple storeys with lots of parks, atriums and open areas inside. Soon after we finally reached the end of high urban area and continued on a wide pathway toward the top.
The path was really steep so we were quickly gaining height and despite lush tropical vegetation around us shading the sun it was the hottest I ever felt. The sweat just poured from us, after few minutes we were as wet as we would be swimming. I think it was around 37 degrees C with what felt like 95% relative humidity.
The efforts were soon to be repaid by incredible views of the city. After about half an hour of walking we were already near the top with incline subsiding to almost horizontal path around the hill. After another half an hour of gorgeous views of the city we finally reached the top, or at least as far as we could go – the Peak.
On the top there were again one million people, big building providing nice vantage point over the city, shops, restaurant, tram that you can take to drive you up/down the hill – with 2h wait line of course.
For our descend we choose more direct path near the tram line and through some of the richest area of Hong Kong. While walking down we went past houses and apartments that cost few million $ per year just to rent but strangely don’t look that expensive. What is expensive is the location. On the road though, we saw a lot of Ferraris, Porches, Lamborghinis and other expensive cars. After about half an hour we left the tropical jungle for the concrete jungle.
Even after a week in Hong Kong I still couldn’t get used to these extremely high (and narrow in my opinion) buildings.
At campus we also have a house of technology; museum like house about technology, mainly used in mining. It is meant for kids, as you can try and drive almost everything, but it is free for students of LTU so we used a chance and saw it.
There you get a chance to learn everything about satellites, planes, mining, trains… The best part is that you can play with it. For example you make waves in a water to start “wave electrical plant” and lit up light bulb. Another example is when you put rocks in water to change current of water to help you lift a weight connected to water mill.
We even got a chance to lift logs with a real bulldozer (ok I don’t know real name of it, but it was the real one). And we got a chance to make our own paper.
All in all it was a fun and educational day, the only thing that was weird was that we were surrounded by kids and probably looked like idiots :D.