Day 4 last full day in HongKong, our plan was to visit HongKong Island, Victoria Park, and TimeSquare. and somehow squeeze a late lunch at Woodlands again. Evening was planned on catching up with Rex (Jayesh/Priya’s ex Staff from Canberra) then heading for the highest club/bar in HongKong ….. well that was the plan!?!
Breakfast today was across our Hotel at a hidden gem, “Charlie Brown Cafe”, this place is all themed around the Charlie Brown comic characters, very tastefully decorated. Coffees were great, however food was just average.
Next was hopping on MTR to Hong Kong Island, we were getting good now at switching trains and making the most of the MTR system. Fortunately no seats were available on the train which allowed Nita and Priya to show some of the pole handling skills on the packed train!! It was a sight!
Got off at Causeway Bay station, this side of the town is definitely more newer looking than Kowloon side. Walking to Victoria Park, we made a detour to a supermarket!! This one had everything under the one roof; Bakery, fresh fruit, Sandwiches, Sashimi, Sushi, Alcohol, Meats, and lots lots more, it was a very impressive setup….We were able to get some very nice baked goodies, Jayesh was in heaven with the variety of fresh fruit juices. Ended up grabbing a few things for a spur of the moment picnic basket – lets use it in Victoria park for a picnic.
Then off to Victoria Park, most of the places were occupied, finally found a bench area – we had our location for a mini picnic.
After a good half hour break, it was time to head towards TimeSquare, the walkways today were jammed pack with people, locals here do come out in the thousands on weekends – this Saturday was no exception!
En root to our destination, Nita & Priya stumbled across Forever 21 store, not sure what it was, but had them both excited, this was a ladies shop and had too many customers in there with no seats!
Poor husbands were bored, we headed across the place and found a small area on the side walk way and took refuge! Sitting on the ground, we had a great view of lots of different styles of legs and bums going past us!!
(bored, waiting, …. please help)
Finally after what seemed like an eternity, the girls emerged victorious with shopping bags in hand!!
Next stop, another mall, Hysan Place and then onto TimeSquare. That place is very impressive yet strictly window shopping for us!!
(4 escalators are required to move the mass of shoppers!!)
Finished off around 3pm, and headed out for a late lunch at Woodlands, could not get enough of that place! Unfortunately reaching there, we were told the kitchen had just shut and the chefs were out till 6pm , bit of a bummer!
Headed out and walked along the row of pubs trying to decide where to eat, when Nita Priya caught a glimpse of High Tea in Shangri-la, that was it, had to do that instead. Girls had high tea buffet, me and Jayesh went ala-carte.
High Tea menu was good, with lots of desserts & cakes, there was also a hot buffet included. Jayesh ordered an amazing Thai Green curry, I opted for a Tandoori wrap. Everything turned out nice, the exception being the Thai Green Curry, simply mind blowing, the best we have tasted to date.
Finished off high tea post 5 pm and headed back to the hotel. We were meeting Rex around 7:30 and then going out for drinks & dinner at the Ozone Rooftop Bar (Ritz Carlton) – the highest bar in Hong Kong on 118th floor, our last night here had to be special!
By 7:20 Nita was all ready for the big night…..
Rex was already there, all met up and headed out together, grabbed a Taxi to the Ritz around 7:40, lucky we were able to squeeze 5 in the one cab – these taxis can fit 2 adult passengers in the front seats! Traffic was horrendous, there were jams everywhere – Sat night in Hong Kong. During these traffic waits, Rex started telling us about an approaching Typhoon estimated to hit HongKong the next night, apparently this was the most powerful Typhoon since 1970’s and on a scale of 1 to 10, it was a 10 for severity!! This was not good news at all, we frantically – whilst stuck in traffice, began dialing Turkish airline numbers to get an idea of flight options, Rex meanwhile confirmed that HongKong airport was to cancel ALL flights from 6pm the next day – which would not affect us then, but there was no dates of when they would resume. Also would the ferries to Macau be in operation tomorrow, if they do, then can we get back to the airport from there on our checkout, will the seas be too rough,…… too many questions, we contemplated a few scenarios, and in most, the end results meant we could lose a few days in Turkey.
Could not get thru to any turkish airlines contacts and could not really get an airport phone number that could assist us. Checked our itinerary, our flight on Monday was @ 11:25pm, we assumed the same flight would also operate today (nothing was coming up in the Hong Kong airports departure site!!). We made an instant decision to turn back to the hotel, pack-up and head out to the airport ASAP for the 11:25 flight – which we had not idea if it existed or not, nor did we know if any seats were available. This decision was made at around 8:05pm.
The Taxi driver was great, whilst stuck in traffic, he swerved around, made illegal u-turns and somehow got us out of the traffic jams. Took us a further 20 minutes to get back to the hotel. Once there, we gave ourselves 10 minutes to quickly pack-up everything and vacate the hotel….. We told the reception what was occurring and to keep our rooms just in case our efforts to get on an earlier flight failed, we would be back.
Around 8:45, we were in two cabs, rushing to the airport. We were anxious, however the ride did show us lots of different HongKong sights which we had not previously seen. Got to the airport just after 9:15, we all rushed out of the cab with our luggage into the departures hall. Could not see any flights on the departures screen… things were not looking good…. then Nita saw the Istanbul flight at 11:25……how did we miss that, there was some hope!
Headed to the check-in row where it was being boarded and asked the servicedesk to assist in getting us on this flight due to the upcoming Typhoon. Seats were available, however it was going to cost us almost the price of an additional ticket …. this was extortion, the lady behind the counter (local HongKong person not Turkish) could not care less, that was the price if we wanted to go – basically take it or leave it. We were very disheartened, not sure what to do next. Jayesh and me approached her again and requested her to check with her superior and see if any exceptions could be made – we made a story of how we did not have much cash left and could not really afford that ticket price….hehehe , even that did not help too much, as she kept on about how she was not sure if the manager would come by or not, we insisted we would wait and hope for the best. Jayesh also suggested a strategy of all standing directly in front of the service desk, and all put on our saddest faces!! We needed her to feel how helpless we were … .
Close to 10:15 and still nothing, hopes were dying. Around that time, the service desk girl, left for her break, during which I approached another service desk person – a very young boy and requested if the manager could assist here…….. all he did was nod his head, picked up the phone and started talking in Cantonese,,,,, had no idea if he was helping me or ignoring me. This went for around 5 minutes, during which I stayed at the counter with the most saddest face I could make….., although when Jayesh took my pic, it was making me crack up was hard to keep a straight face
then another lady was there assisting him and soon we were told we could get on the flight with a nominal charge of $50AUD per person!! This was better than buying a new ticket. Instantly paid them and handed over the passports, it was still not over, the tickets had to be reissued and this was taking a long time!!!
By the time we could check-in, it was close to 10:45, the lady processed us as quickly as possible and told us to run to the gates. Said our byes to Rex, poor guy, we had planned a dinner night with him, and all we could offer was a trip to the airport and back!! Sorry mate!
We were quick through immigration and then it was sprinting to the train that links to the departure gates terminal. Got through on the other side, and there were Turkish airline staff awaiting us, ushering us towards the gates and running with us. It was funny, everyone was looking at our group running through the terminal.
We made it to the gates at around 11:15pm, phew, it is something special to be the last persons to board – everyone stares at you as you walk through the aisle of the aircraft. We must have been super duper lucky, we were in the last row of the plane occupying the last 4 vacant seats and they were all together!!! Just amazing.
There were some regrets for sure, on missing Macau, the rooftop bar, however this was much safer option, we did not want a situation where our flight from HongKong would be further delayed.
A very interesting evening with lots of quick and amazingly lucky decisions being made. All seems to have worked out in the end, now lets hope our hotel in Istanbul can accommodate us earlier – but that is the least of our worries, at least we will not be caught up in any delays.