| Today, Mom and Pop had
more errands to run. Since we were psyched to check out some museums or do
some hiking (depending on the weather), we decided to split up from them
for the day. We hopped on the MTR and got off at Cheung Sha Wan Station.
Our destination this morning was Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb. The tomb was discovered
in August of 1955 and dates from Eastern Han Dynasty (AD25 to AD220). It
was located smack dab in the middle of Kowloon. The complex consisted of
the actual tomb and a museum which chronicled the history of the tomb as
well as the Chinese culture, including a section which documented the Chinese
propensity to celebrate all occasions with food. "In fact, to the Chinese,
food consumption was not simply a response to hunger but has long developed
into a sophisticated aspect of their culture." Don't we know it! And it is
a credit to the Chinese diet that we are not all 400+ pounds!
The tomb itself was tiny and sealed off so you could only view the interior
through the glassed-off entrance. From that perspective, we could barely
see some of the carvings on the walls. The rest of the tomb was bare except
for a modern ventilation system designed to keep the temperature and humidity
inside the tomb at an optimal level.
We walked over to the Lei Cheng Uk Estate Han Garden next door after checking
out the tomb. The garden was large and decorated with classic circular entrances
typical of a dynasty courtyard. It now serves as a public park where folks
could sit peacefully to enjoy a noonday meal or gather to play checkers.
Turtles wallowed in a pond at one end of the garden. A bridge crossed over
the pond to a pavilion where a checker game was in progress. The back entrance
to the garden was fronted by a large painting of ancient court life, which
was reminiscent of cave drawings in its simplicity.
We walked through a small street market to get to the MTR. Ting picked up
a shimmery purple rain coat for less than US$5. Since it looked as if the
rain was going to stick around, we took the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui Station
for the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The highlight of that visit was the Gold
and Jade Exhibit. We spent about an hour ooh-ing and aah-ing over the beautiful
items on display. In Chinese, "jade" is a loosely-defined term that includes
most any hard, polished green-colored rock as well as the semi-precious stone
we define as "jade". We stopped for lunch at the Museum Cafe. The outdoor
sitting area had a spectacular view of the bay and the Hong Kong Island coastline.
After lunch, we walked through the Xubaizhai Gallery of Chinese Painting
& Calligraphy, Origin of Chinese Civilization Gallery, Contemporary Hong
Kong Art Gallery, and the Chinese Antiquities Gallery in the museum before
we decided to call it quits. Museums are extremely tiring because of the
amount of walking involved and the concentration required to read the fine
print on the exhibits and to absorb the information.
We made it back to the hotel around six pm and had a couple of hours to chill
out before dinner. We had plans to meet Delon around eight pm. Delon was
a student in Ting's Taekwondo White-Belt class last summer. He was a visiting
student from Hong Kong, proficient in Kung Fu, and was one of Ting's best
students. He jumped four levels from white-belt to green-belt when he took
his promotional test. Now he is back in Hong Kong. Delon was working late
at a client site near Central MTR Station, so we decided to meet at the station.
Central, as the name suggests, is a central transfer point between several
MTR lines, situated in the heart of metropolitan Hong Kong. We waited at
the "D" entrance for Delon, feeling a bit overwhelmed by the pedestrian traffic
coming through. Hong Kong's population is so dense that it makes New York
City look like a suburb. Even with MTR trains coming every two minutes, the
trains barely kept up with the people coming through during rush hours.
Delon had asked us what we wanted for dinner. The resounding vote was "No
Chinese!" Delon took us to the SoHo (South of Hollywood Road) area of Hong
Kong which houses a plethora of bars, restaurants, and cafes. To get there,
we rode up the 2620-foot outdoor covered escalator (made up of a string of
short consecutive escalators) that connects Hong Kong's Central Business
District to the wealthy Mid-Levels.
We got off mid-way up. Tugged away at the top of a five or six-story building,
Pizza Milan afforded us a spectacular nighttime view of the Hong Kong skyscrapers.
From the rooftop restaurant, we had a front-row view of the shifting light
spectrum of The Centre skyscraper. A description of The Centre can be found
"The Centre has a Cozyvivid low-voltage neon system consisting of 8,784 red,
green and blue neon tubes that create a slowly changing light show during
the night." The food was decent, but not great; at least it was a break from
the endless dishes of Chinese cuisine we were committed to for the next few
After dinner we took a taxi to the tram station at the bottom of Victoria
Peak, where we rode a tram up to the top. From the top, we had a breath-taking
panoramic view of Hong Kong and Kowloon across the bay. As luck would have
it, the batteries in the camera decided to die at that moment and our backup
set of batteries turned up dead as well. Ah, a Polaroid moment hindered!
But Delon was not one to give it up. We went into an adjacent building where
he somehow convinced the guards to give us a set of batteries from their
own supply. The guards would not even take money for the batteries as they
did not know what to charge us. We already knew what a charmer Delon was
but, up close and personal, his charming prowess was truly impressive!
After we took our share of pictures, we took the tram back down the mountain
into SoHo, where we stopped at Le Jardin Club & Bar for a few drinks.
The bar was tugged away behind another restaurant. If Delon was not leading,
we would have never come across it. The bar was nearly empty of patrons except
for a few folks hanging out with the bartender and a very-drunken couple,
sitting at the table next to us, one of whom was asleep on the bench with
sunglasses sitting askew on her face.
By the time we were done, it was well past midnight and the MTR was no longer
running. But we were not worried as we were with Delon. Delon knew the way
to the mini-buses, which took us at racing speeds across the bay to Kowloon.
We made it back in less than 15 minutes! Around one am, Pop called to check
that we got back okay. Once a parent, always a parent!