Thursday March 12th – Monday March 16th.

Time seemed to pass quickly in Hong Kong. We usually slept in, which helped the days to pass, and spent the evenings drinking and eating in expensive bars and cheap restaurants.

We spent a day in the Mong Kok district and I bought a new Walkman a Philips with Dolby and AM FM radio for 1,003 Hong Kong dollars (New Zealand $230) and we both bought new watches. I got a cash advance of US$150 and gave it to Linda as she doesn’t have a Visa Card to buy things with. She bought some new clothes and her watch with the money.

On Sunday we joined the throngs of Chinese over on Hong Kong Island to buy a pair of jeans each and then we caught a bus up to the top of Victoria Peak: shrouded in mist but a cool change from the muggy atmosphere down in the city. 

We walked back down along the Old Peak Road through the thick wet forest enveloped in the mist, and emerged amongst the towers of the city. At the foot of the hill, we discovered, quite by accident, the zoo and botanical gardens. We went in and spent an hour or so in there in the compact and immaculately kept gardens. The Aviary had some beautiful examples of rare birds including a large number of brightly-plumed flamingos and exquisitely coloured birds of the Chinese Forest. 

The zoo’s two main exhibits were a pair of jaguars – sleek and healthy and alert – and a group of Bornean orangutans. The group contained several females and babies, and two males. One of the males was asleep up in the top of the large cage but the other one was sitting at the front of the cage peering out into the open with a doleful expression as if he was pondering what he do if he could just get out. 

One of his huge hands clung to the mesh of the cage and his small intelligent eyes were framed by a huge face surrounded by orange-brown hair. The few Chinese passersby growled and screeched at him trying to elicit a response, but he just kept looking out past them at some point in the middle distance and completely ignored them.

There were several groups of other primates in the neighbouring cages: lemurs, macaques, and other small primates, and some black long-armed gibbons swinging about in their cages or staring wistfully out at the outside world. 

We found a good place to eat in Chungking Mansions and every evening we will go there to fill up with rice pork and vegetables. We also discovered a cheap way to get our thrills: riding up and down the outside elevators on some of the hotels in Kowloon.

Our last day in Hong Kong was spent mooching around amongst the buildings and prowling around in the Ocean Centre shopping mall.

Hong Kong Harbour as seen from the Star Ferry.

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