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Sky shield

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  1. It was announced yesterday that the number of visitors arrivals in HK for the previous week was down 50% year on year. (Mind you these numbers include Chinese tourists which make up the bulk of the numbers). There was also a photo showing a Cathay flight from Beijing 90% empty (China is obviously boycotting CX). The low hotel prices are offered by the wholesalers who bought blocks of rooms for the tour groups which are not coming. These are mainly the lower price hotels catering to the groups.


    I do not discuss politics with people that I do not know, but just wanting to point to a fact. HK has been returned to China for 22 years now, most of the active demonstrators have not lived under the "colonalist" regime for one single day.

    So what is it? The answer may be found that the most frequently sung song during the demonstrations is "do you hear the people sing?"


  2. Just another update from a local.


    Last Sunday (4 days ago), 1.7 million people, in pouring rain, turned out in the streets demonstrating. There was no violence; no shop was broken into. (Actually none in the past 11 weeks of protests). The government is (finally) starting a dialogue with KOLs. The outcome is unpredictable, but it appears that reasons have prevailed, once again.


    The planes are flying, on schedule.


    Hotel prices are so low, unheard of. Yesterday, in busy Central, I could get a good table at lunch easily, this restaurant will usually need a reservation 3 days in advance!



  3. As a local resident, I do not know what is store next week. As they say, in politics a week is a very long time.


    But the popular thinking at this time is that the demonstrations will run out of steam, but how soon is anybody's guess. Most will bet when schools/universities open again in early September. Hopefully, a reconciliation process will begin.


    I should add however that for 98% of HK (people and localities), lives are normal. People just go about and do whatever they have been doing. The demonstrations are now mainly directed against police stations.


  4. At this very hour, the Airport Authority has obtained a court injunction forbiddening any act of wilful disruption to flight operations. My bet is that the demonstrators will pay heed. They will move on to something else.


    I expect that normal flight operations will be restored within a day or two.



  5. The situation is fluid, as a local, I do not want to speculate what will happen the next minute. So if your cruise is sometime in October and later, there is nothing to do but watch. But if you are committed to come, at the present time, there is really no major risk to personal safety, but there will be inconvenience because of the wild cat demonstrations and non-cooperation movements.


    I actually returned Wednesday last week from Europe (Oceania Marina disembarked in England). But in all these days since, I lived my days normally, work and home, nothing adnormal. Of course, I stayed away from the demonstrations.


    FWIW, the majority opinion supports the demonstrators, even though we all will advise less violence. There are signs today that restraints are exercised, following harder tactics used by the police.


    The next big event will be a demonstration this coming Sunday, in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. A huge turnout exceeding one million people is expected. What / how this one goes, whether there will be serious violence tagging at the end towards midnight, will go a long way to tell us what will happen next.

  6. For a teenage girl, I shall advise against (for HK) Central or Admiralty, basically the business/banking district. Causeway Bay (on HK Island) should be a good pick, more young fashions. Mongkok on Kowloon may appeal to the younger, but is lower scale generally. It will not be wrong if you pick Tsimshatsui (TST), the traditional tourist area. But at the end, the difference is not huge, as the subway (MTR) connects all these areas and the travel time is short, HK is a compact place.


    For Tokyo, a good area is Roppongi, upscale and close to the National Art Gallery. Night life too.


  7. I would pick Macau as well. It is easy to get to, ferry sailings are every 15 minutes and there is no need to book in advance, unless it is a Sunday or public holiday. After your show, there will still be night sailings throughout the night, even though on a less frequent basis. Macau has some history, and another advantage is the Portuguese food.


    From the ferry piers in Macau, you can use the complimentary shuttle buses of the various hotel groups and visit the various places, using the ferry piers as hubs. Taxies in Macau are sometimes dufficult to hail, unless you line up in the stand in front of a hotel/casino, but they will give priority to staying guests.


    The House of Water is quite unique and worth seeing. They may have an earlier show at 6 pm, and you can go to both with dinner in between. The two venues are within walkable distance, 10 - 15 minutes walk.

  8. When you exit from the airport, there are 3 taxi lines. One is the "Urban Taxies" (red colour), the other is "NT (New Territories Taxies" (green colour) and finally the "Lantau Taxies" (blue colour). Each of the green and blue has restricted areas to operate; but the red ones can operate anywhere. For the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, you will need the Urban / red taxies. Make sure you are in the right line, there are clear markings and signages, and most people will use the red taxies.


    When you are near the head of the line, there will be some English speaking helpers (employed by the Airport Authority) asking for your destination and point you to a vacant taxi. They will write down the license plate number of the taxi on a card and give it to you and indicate an estimated fare (HK$ 350 most likely in your case). Keep the card if you have a complaint to make later on. The helper will also usually tell the driver in Chinese / Cantonese your destination. Should be easy.  

  9. Each and every time that when I was in Singapore, I would go to Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant in One Fullerton, nesr the Merlion Park. I go for crabs. A dinner for 2 will be about USD 100, crabs but no steamed fish. Very popular and I would strongly recommend a reservation. Some of my friends got turned away and had to return the next day. It has a website, google it, and I think it will take a reservation on line.




  10. It is a difficult choice, so much will depend what you would like to experience. As pointed out, a key factor will be the day of the week. For Lamma and Cheung Chau, these are popular destinations for the locals as well, so expect crowds and lines for the ferry on the weekend. The Big Buddha is more popular with the tourists, so the contrast may not be as much. The other important consideration will be the weather. If it is foggy or raining, you do not see much from the NP360 cable cars. It is quite a pleasant 30 minute journey, an attraction in its own right, if you can view the mountains and HKIA with the planes taking off and landing all the time.


    So, do not pick Lantau / Big Buddha if the weather is not right.


    For Lamma, the ferry goes to Picnic Bay and Yung Shu (Banyan Tree) Bay on Lamma. Some sailings go to Picnic first, some others the other bay first. Between these two bays, there is a trail, the walk (over the hill) is about 90 minutes. Yung Shu Wan is a larger village, Picnic Bay is more toutisty in the sense that there are more restaurants (seafood) which cater to people who go for food, then take the next ferry back to HK, without going to the other village.


    Cheung Chau is another story.  It is actually a major fishing village/port, still working. A good number of people live here and commute to offices in Central, HK. It is more built up and larger than the other settlements on Lamma. More history here.


    It is difficult to choose, but if you are travelling as a solo, I am not sure Lamma offers enough for you to see, and the seafood meals are not really designed for one eater.


    Let me know if you need more info.

  11. The Metropark Causeway Bay is actually in Tin Hau, one subway station from Causeway Bay. The distances of either the Cross Harbour Tunnel or the East Tunnel are about the same. Assuming that you will be going to the ship at about noon time, the traffic via the East Tunnel will usually be easier. I would think you should allow 30 minutes.


    If you stay there, I would encourage you to walk to Tai Hang (the other direction from the main road of Gloucester Road / King's Road and the subway station). Tai Hang is now where young chefs experiment with their new ventures, many interesting small restaurants. Just a 10 minute easy walk from your hotel.

  12. Beitou is easy to get to. It is on the subway line from Taipei, about 20 minutes from the Taipei Train Station hub. My experience was to take a private room for 2 hours, and it is really up to you to wear anything or nothing at all.

  13. About 10 years ago, I lived in the same area (Gold Coast) and the hotel is about a 15 minute walk from my apartment. There is a public beach, not a large one, but not crowded. On the other side of the bay is the new Wholesale Fish Market where the fishing boats come in to unload their catches, so not the most scenic beach.


    There is nothing too much near the hotel, there is a shopping mall and restaurants/bars. The hotel I believe provides a shuttle to the Tsuen Wan MTR Station which is a 30 minute journey.


    The Gold Coast is on the other side of the sea channel from the airport, only about 2 miles away, but there is no direct land link (they are building a tunnel under the channel) and you have to take a U-shape route to go the airport, easily a 20 mile journey.


    In my days, however, Gold Coast was where Cathay Pacific / Dragon Air put their trainee stewardess who were bussed to their training centre near the airport everyday.

  14. I think a 2 hour 30 minute connection in HKG between flights is very doable. Assuming that you have to clear immigration and pick up your luggage (should be within 1 hour), you should be able to check in for the Singapore flight 1 hour and 30 minutes for flight time which should not be a problem at all. Provided of course your incoming flight is not delayed. But if both legs are SQ (Singapore Airlines), there is no reason why you cannot transfer from gate to gate.

  15. The Grand Stanford is about a 3 minute walk from Kowlloon Shangrila, you can expect the area is about the same. TST East is a good 15 minute walk from TST proper, Nathan Road. Not as convenient.


    I would use a taxi from the airport and going to the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. The fares respectively will be HK$300 and HK$100. The taxi will be the easiest and most comfortable way. Uber is not legal in HK.

  16. Ibis Central is actually in the Western District on Hong Kong Island. In terms of distance, it may be 20 km from the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. I would estimate the fare to be around HK$350, inclusive of the toll.


    Depending on the time of the day, but if you are disembarking in the morning around 9, you will need perhaps 40 minutes to cover that journey.

  17. Many of the taxis in HK are radio equipped, particularly those working the midnight shift. Ask your ship or the terminal staff to call one for you. Allow 15 minutes, there should always be someone to respond to the call and drive to the Terminal. The extra fee for a radio call order is HK$5, or about US$0.7. You need to pay the whole fare in HK$ cash. The entire trip will be about HK$300, including toll and luggage.

  18. It depends on individual restaurant. High end restaurants generally do not allow sharing of tables. The Maxim in City Hall was where Bill Clinton went to for his dim sum, when he visited as POTUS. It is popular because it is still one of the few where the servers will push their food carts around, and allow you to point and pick, without ordering from a menu. Like tapas. Plan to arrive before noon to beat the office crowds for a table.


    Generally, only neighbourhood restaurants will ask you to share tables when busy.

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