September 25-26, 2015: Chris arrived back on MOKEN in the middle of September and immediately set to work on his list of projects to get us ready for the upcoming cruising season. We had another list on the go too. It was a list of spares we wanted to order from the Seahorse boatyard in China.
We could have had the parts sent to us. Or flown directly to Macau and popped across the border into Zhuhai. But where’s the fun in that? Instead, we decided to fly to Hong Kong first, for a couple of days of eating and exploring. Plus, we heard that George Buehler, the fellow who designed the Diesel Duck boats was going to be in town for a talk and book signing. We figured we shouldn’t miss that.
Cebu Pacific flies direct from Clark Airport so getting to Hong Kong is super easy. If only they didn’t depart so early in the morning! We were picked up from Subic at 0400 hours, checked in by 0530 and boarded by 0700. After clearing immigration and taking the fast train into town, we still had most of the day to enjoy the sights.
First we checked into our hotel in Wan Chai. Then we set off to find some lunch and explore Hong Kong island. There’s a lot of new development in a reclaimed area along the waterfront between Wan Chai and the Central station area. At least it’s reassuring to see they are putting in a beautiful sea front walkway and lots of greenspace to balance all the new highrises that are under construction. We walked and walked and walked and walked. Just soaking it all in.
That evening we made our way by taxi across the island and through a long tunnel under the mountain peaks that runs the length of the island to Aberdeen. The distance wasn’t all that far, but it took ages to find a taxi and then creep along the streets through the city until we got on the main road to the tunnel.
Finally arriving in Aberdeen, we entered the magnificent lobby of the Aberdeen Boat Club. It was not at all what we were expecting. We certainly felt underdressed, even though we thought we had dressed up (or what seems dressed up for us anyway). When we went to ask where the George Buehler event was being held, we received puzzled looks in return. It turns out we were not in the Aberdeen Boat Club after all. The driver had dropped us at the Aberdeen Marina Club. Luckily for us, the boat club was right next door and much more down to earth.
The event was organized by Dr. Rigo, a fellow Diesel Duck owner whom we had previously met in Subic. Several other duck owners from Hong Kong and Subic had turned out for the evening, so it was fun trading stories and comparing and contrasting boat options. Following dinner, Rigo and George had a Q&A session with additional questions from the crowd.
It was a long day, and we didn’t have the energy for a late night on the town, so we turned in early in preparation for day two.
On Saturday morning, our first stop was the Lin Heung Tea House, a must for dim sum. After walking for about ten minutes from the Central metro station, we finally found this bakery and restaurant in a somewhat shabby building in a somewhat shabby part of town. It was a bit of a shock walking up the stairs into this place. It was packed. And chaotic. There’s no hostess, so we had to find seats for ourselves at a shared table. We finally got two seats together at a table in the far corner with two Chinese couples who didn’t speak any English. Neither did the servers, for that matter.
Someone brought us tea, bowls, utensils and a dim sum scorecard. So far so good. We kept sneaking peeks at our neighbours to try and figure out the correct protocol for everything.
Now it was time for some food. When the first food trolley came out from the kitchen it was utter madness. People jumped up from tables all around us and bee-lined for the cart, waving their scorecards and pointing to dishes. So I jumped up too and being far-too Canadian, waited patiently and politely for my turn. Until it looked like they might run out of steamed dumplings and siu mai, that is. That’s when I found my assertive side. This is no place for the meek.
Lin Heung means fragrant lotus. The name sounds a little too fancy for the surroundings, but that doesn’t mean the food isn’t good. It felt a little stuck in time. Hardly surprising given that the first restaurant opened in Guangzhou, China in 1889. This branch opened in Hong Kong Central in 1926 although it moved to its current location in 1980. Definitely the highlight of our foodie experiences on this trip.
Now it was time to cross over to the Kowloon peninsula and check out the multitude of marvellous markets in Mong Kok. Stay tuned. That’s coming up next.