Kowloon

I’ve transferred to the YMCA – I took the tube (MTR) to get there which was quick, easy and cheap but involved rather a lot of stairs, for an old lady with a heavy suitcase. I also went over to the Intercity station to collect my ticket to Guangzhou, to suss out the lie of the land. I must say it has all been easy peasy so far. The YMCA is next to the Peninsula Hotel but about a quarter the price – my single room is great and is en suite. This place would not suit those who do not like lifts (you know who you are) – every building is a skyscraper and climbing stairs to the 12th or 25th floor is not really an option with luggage.

I went into the rather disreputable Chungking Mansions to get some Chinese currency. It is described in my Lonely Planet guidebook as a ‘huge, ramshackle, high rise dump’ with ‘a peculiar odour of cooking fat, incense and sewage’ – top tourist attraction then! Anyway, it has the advantage of having about 20 bureaux de change next to eachother, forcing competitive rates. Bizarrely the entrance is on the main shopping street in Kowloon, sandwiched between Rolex and Gucci (or similar).

In the evening I watched the harbour light show – all the main skyscrapers on HK Island light up to music. It was a really rather lovely sight. I’m not a huge fan of cities but this is the kind of thing that makes them special.

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