China Day 8 (HK Day 2)

Woke up early today because it was a big day out to Ocean Park. I'll admit I stayed up a bit too late (the free wifi was tempting)

I haven't seen this sign in 8 years.
After cookies for breakfast, we went out to catch public transport to ocean park. One thing I've noticed about HK transport is that it's services are a lot better. In general, the service and social etiquette of everyone here is on an entirely other level compared to Guangzhou. It's wonderful and its something that mainland China is lacking -- I suppose it's a mix of reasons. The culture is so embedded into Guangzhou's people that I can see why it would be difficult to change. Also, perhaps the higher population of foreign tourists in general creates a necessity for higher service, but altogether it seems to just be the culture here. And I love it. It's a nice refresher, and it's certainly an area in which the two places differ.

I also noticed that generally, things are pricier here. Perhaps it's the tourism, the lower dollar, or the increased quality of life, but prices do seem higher than in Guangzhou, especially in the area of public transport. The most I've paid for any day of train trips in China is ¥8rmb, whilst here I've paid $20 HK dollars (or more; I don't really remember) in a day. Food is also more expensive. But it's a small price to pay for the quality service.
Shopping in HK is also cheaper, as we all know, TAX FREE. But I can't say it's exactly the most cheap. But that's also offset by the fact that I'm shopping at a major tourist shopping centre, and in more high-end stores as well.
And I also don't exactly always have an instant conversion rate in my head to calculate the exact price equivalent between the two dollars -- most of the time I just estimate.
Something else I forgot to mention was the seat belts in cars!! They actually require seat belts here, whilst in Guangzhou, only front seaters need to. Most people will find this strange, and I did too, until I realised that most buses in Sydney don't require seat belts too. The traffic moves so slowly in Guangzhou (the sheer number of cars means you rarely even get a chance to exceed 50km/h) and thus the risk is lower, I suppose(?). I'm still not sure of the justification for a lack of seat belts, but that's what I've always been told and believed.
Also, HK has double decker buses! Which is impressive for me, even though Sydney has them too. Okay I lied, it's not that impressive, but it's the first time I've been on one in many years. (I think the last time I rode one was 8 years ago, on my last trip to HK.)
Also, I think I forgot to mention that in staying at an apartment called 'The Arch', which is a splendid place, although the room itself is a bit on the small side. It's conveniently located above the Elements shopping centre (easy access to money spending!!), which also has an ice rink (that my brother is dying to try out), and also happens to be located above Kowloon station, thus transport is super convenient too. Here's an iPhone photo.

Anyway, two trains and a bus away, we arrived at Ocean Park. 

Needless to say, there was a lot of blue.
Being someone who loves water and the colour aqua, this was a wonderland for photographic opportunities. Thus, apologies in advance for the photo-spam.

Needless to say, it took a while for us to orientate ourselves.

It's been a long time since I was here, and it was a nice change of pace. There was quite a high number of people, likely because it's currently Christmas holidays for the HK population, so going to one of their most popular theme parks was bound to bring about a crowd.
Catching the express train to the other side of the park brought us deep into the park.

The crowds made for an opportunity to try and simultaneously try some street photography.

Often I find myself straggling from the focus-area, and instead my attention seems to wander towards the people and surroundings more. It's so easy to become overly engaged with the subject at hand -- the focus of everyone -- and far too often we forget to take in the surroundings, which are just as important.

The 'underwater' train didn't turn out to be as spectacular as I thought.
Yes, I was under the impression that it actually went underwater, but alas, I was wrong. It merely showed projections on the ceiling of the train of 'underwater' scenes. I.e., a lot of jellyfish and marine organisms. Not as exhilarating as I had initially expected.

In the train;
It was also hella dark so quite difficult to take decent photos.
 The day overall was a nice day for photos though.

The sky was a blank canvas.
Would go into detail about everything we did and saw, but that would turn out to just be a long list. A highlight, though, was the Penguin Restaurant, which although was pricey, gave us the opportunity to dine next to a penguin enclosure and watch them as we ate. The food was also super good as well (Australian Scallops and Carbonara; a taste of home.), so in the end it was worth the price.

Chilling with my cool friends

I wonder if the penguin think of it as an enclosure too:
"Come one, come all, come see the infamous, powerful Homo sapiens devour food, and observe their curious behaviours!!"
 Seal shows followed, accompanied by many nice aquatic-themed decorations.

And, of course, no theme park is complete without Bumper Cars (which we waited a good half an hour for). Ahh, Bumper Cars, filled with weakly powered engines and a far-too-high ratio of cars to area. Add a pinch of riders who don't understand the concept of 'rotate your wheel three times in any direction to reverse', and you really have a stew of chaos.

And of course, stalls to win prizes.


What a love most about Ocean Park was their conservation and educational efforts. A lot of the theme park was filled with attempts to try and encourage environmentally-friendly behaviour by offering energy-saving alternatives in food, lifestyle, transport, clothing, and basically every other aspect of life. It's inspirational, really.

And also the educational attempts were really nice. It's very refreshing to see technology actually be used innovatively to spark young childrens' curiosities.

With the sun set, we decided to head back from the far side of the island, and begin the slow process of leaving. Cable car is a must see.

 As we demounted, we were met with a pleasant surprise.

Old Hong Kong.

This consisted of an area filled with traditional themed buildings and decorations, bringing a sense of time-travel, back into the history of HK.

I really enjoyed it. It was almost as if I had re-entered a different time period (minus the array of smart phones and selfie sticks, of course.)

My brother having a caricature drawn of him.
Before we left, we ducked into the aquarium, which was by far the biggest aquarium I've seen in a long, long time. It put Sydney's to shame.

I'm talking about an aquarium that stretches beyond your field of vision. It almost feels as if you're in the water yourself -- minus the excited chatter of a hundred other tourists.

After a long, long day at Ocean Park, we finally left at 8pm. Yes. 9 hours at ocean park; I can assure you I was exhausted. We left during the final aquatic show, in an attempt to avoid the crowds that all squeezed out of the park at 8:30pm.

Final water show, daily at 8PM.
After a quick dinner at Cafe de Coral, a popular Chinese-cuisine fast food chain, we eventually left and went to the The Peak, via the Tram. It was such an intense angle; I didn't expect it at all. It was bordering on 35 degrees incline, I estimate. And the view was absolutely gorgeous :')

The Hong Kong cityscape is beautiful. Not a NY standard, but far from Sydney's, to say the least. It's one of the best I've seen with my own eyes.
It started to get colder by 10:30pm, and we bummed around until my parent's friends came along and took us out for deserts at midnight.

A strawberry desert that I ordered and then shared.

Not going to lie. HK doesn't even sleep. Midnight at a small desert store and it's absolutely packed. Like "there's no empty tables, please wait" full.
I thought that it might be because it's Christmas Eve, but nope. I'm told it's this packed on a daily basis.
The deserts tasted delish, but we had dinner super late at 8pm so I was still full from that, and thus struggling to finish my mango pancake.
I was absolutely wiped out by this time -- was struggling to stay awake. It's been a long day, and the next few days are going to be even more extreme.


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Hello! I'm a student from Australia. I like photography, am aspiring to be a Doctor, have fallen in love with many things that life has to offer, and hope to see more of it. I've been blogging for a while and over the years what it means to me has changed. Currently still trying to figure that out, but here I am in a weird hybridisation of photography, film, blogging, and the confusion of a young adult, you'll find me here writing about my experiences and life. Or whatever tickles my fancy. Whether that's entertaining or not is yours to decide. Stay hydrated, kids.