FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Sleepless in Hong Kong

Posted in Hong Kong by folkestonejack on April 1, 2013

Our late night flight from Auckland delivered us to Hong Kong on a murky, misty morning with a touch more excitement than any of us needed at that hour. Although I am sure it is not particularly unusual, it is always a slightly unnerving moment when the plane you are sitting in starts to climb mid-way through a landing! A few moments later the pilot’s explained that our initial landing had to be aborted as there was a plane with steering problems which had failed to clear the runway.

Hilltops in the mist

Hilltops in the mist

Our original plan had been to visit the Big Buddha at Po Lin monastery and watch night fall from the viewpoint at Victoria Peak but this seemed rather pointless with the weather conditions as they were. Instead, we headed to Shau Kei Wan to check out the Museum of Coastal Defence, in the old Lei Yue Mun Fort, which was yet another construct built in reaction to the Russian scare of the 1880s!

The complex even had a replica disappearing gun, in an echo of our visit to Fort Victoria a few days ago, although this one has been displayed in its firing position (the force of the recoil from any firing would have sent it back into its hiding place).

Disappearing gun in firing position

Disappearing gun in firing position

The museum gives an overview of Hong Kong’s history from the Ming dynasty to the present, followed by a walk back down the hillside which takes you past various magazines, observation posts, baterries and a torpedo station. Our visit certainly gave us a much better appreciation of the wars fought over this territory and how this shaped the development of Hong Kong.

After a couple of hours at the museum we headed back into the centre of town using one of the marvellous historic trams that trundle along the streets, looking like beasts out of their time.

Any thoughts of visiting a second museum were dashed by the realisation that it would be a struggle to muster enough energy for this, or even to keep our eyelids from closing! Instead, we enjoyed a relaxing buffet lunch and then headed back to the welcome comforts of the Novotel Hong Kong Citygate. Hopefully, a good night’s sleep will put us in a better position for tomorrow’s flight back to London.

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