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"Hong Kong, Several Years Afte the Hand-Over"

"Hong Kong, Revisited, Part 3"

Our second day in Hongkong was spent in Hongkong Disneyland! Using our MTR Airport Express and 3-day unlimited train ride, we likewise went to Disneyland by train! The trip was fast, only about 30 minutes and very enjoyable! The sights as the train crossed to another island was amazing as new bridges and skyways crisscrossed the Hongkong horizon!

We were among the early patrons of Disneyland that Friday and since it is a peak day, entrance fee per person was HK $ 350 or almost P2,100 pesos. But, the experience of a Hongkong Disneyland was more that P2,100 pesos worth. Since, we arrived early at 10:30 a.m. we were able to have all the rides – the most breathtaking was the Space Mountain ride which was so exciting and as my wife puts it after the ride, “akala ko mamamatay na ako!” The theatre presentations of Disneyland characters (Mickey mouse, Pluto etc…) was very impressive. Moreover, the 30-minute presentation of Lion King in another theatre was equally world-class complete with pyrotechnics effects. We were so tired as we left Disneyland at 4:00 pm.

Again, using our unlimited MTR card, we took another train to Hongkong Central station. It is worthy to note that the MTR line crossing from Kowloon side to Hongkong side was built under the sea! We then window-shopped at the ITC Mall which is beside the station. It is a high end mall that is why I emphasized that we simply window- shopped! We were dead tired as we went back to our hostel room to close the second day activities.

On our third day, we woke up early and took the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui Station where we got off and walked through Peking Road turn right to Canton Road to the harbour where we took a ferry to Macau, Mainland China! The word traffic seems not to exist anymore in today’s chinese vocabulary. In addition to the super-efficient MTR system, they have a world-class sea transport system with first-class terminals and modern ferry boats. The ferry boat fare from Hongkong to Macau ranged from HK$175 to HK$ 200 (P1,000 to 1,200) depending on the time of the ride. It is cheaper when it is not a peak hour. When we arrived in Macau, we saw another mode of transportation – helicopter rides! The heliports are just beside the Macau pier. I presumed that the clients of chopper are the gambling casino winners in Macau who would prefer to rent a chopper for security reasons!

Our Macau leg was a let down ( of course, this not Hongkong anymore!). You see, the local chinese in Macau could not speak fluent english. We intended to take a bus that we could ride from the Macau pier and move around Macau simply for sightseeing and back to the pier. However, when I asked for assistance, nobody can understand english! We just spent some two hours window shopping (again!) at Yao Han – the only Mall in Macau! All the buildings near the pier where all casino hotels and we did not intend to gamble.

We left Macau by Ferry (I wanted to take the chopper, duh!) at about 4:00 p.m. and when we reached Tsim Sha Tsui , we walked along Canton St and window- shopped at the high end shops (Versace, Cartier, Lane Crowford) on Harbour Bay.

On our fourth and last day, we met pinay friends who are now working in Hongkong. Since our Airport Express 3-day unlimited ride expired already, we moved around via the double-decker bus for only HK $ 4.50 per person. We went to Star Ferry (beside the Harbour Bay) where our friends remitted money through the Metrobank branch (there is a PNB branch too) for their relatives back home. We walked to the Hongkong Cultural Centre. Finally, we went back to our hostel, pick up our baggages and took bus route A21 to the airport which was only HK $ 33 per person. The bus ride gave us a last look at the modern infrastuctures (bridges, fly-overs, multi-lane highways) of Hongkong.

Zero traffic. Super clean environment. Absence of poverty (I saw only three beggars throughout our four-day stay), modern and efficient transport system. Super disciplined chinese. Absence of long lines in bus stops. Trains and buses are not overcrowded. As we were flying back to Manila, I could not help but pity our dear poor country. Only nine years after the Hand Over, Hongkong is totally a different country (er, autonomous region) – progressive, booming economically. Nine years ago, Hongkong was at par with Manila. But now, it has left us behind by several miles if it were a race! Samantala, ang Pilipinas – Dios mahabagin, maawa po kayo sa aming bayan!(Meanwhile, the Philippines, God - the merciful, have mercy on our country)


Edgar Sandalo

Posted by E. Sandalo 20:20 Archived in Macau Tagged transportation

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