I write this at the end of a long day, the time bring 2200 and it started at 0600. The approach to Hong Kong was less than spectacular due to the fog/mist/smog that marked anything more than a few meters away. The ship was required to dock at Hong Kong's Container Terminal. This was one of the best views as we entered the port. Foggy Hong Kong skyline. A vast expanse of cranes, straddles, containers and trucks. Some of the stacks of containers looked as if they had been there for some time.
We were welcomed by a troop of drummers and some very athletic young men in two oriental lion suits. They cavorted about on the wharf like live puppies. Just after 0900 we were allowed ashore and corralled onto the shuttle buses which took us out of the port area. In the early morning traffic, it took the best part of an hour to arrive at the Ocean Terminal at Tsiam Sha Tsui in Kowloon.
From here we walked briskly to the Hong Kong China ferry Terminal where we purchased two return tickets to Macau on the Cotai Water Jet, a high speed ferry. With passports in hand we approached the Hong Kong Immigration officials, Jenny first and after some time I was called forward. The officer kept looking at his screen and finally called a supervisor. Our ferry was due to leave in about 45 minutes and I was starting to think we might need to get a refund or catch a later ferry. The supervisor went off and was seen discussing our passports with a higher ranking person. She came back and the passports were handed back to the original officer, more keystrokes, more studying of the screen Same result. We were waved through and asked to wait as she trotted off somewhere out of sight to return finally and hand them back for processing - success !! Somehow our arrival in Hong Kong had not yet been processed through their computer system.
Drama over and we proceeded to the departure lounge, two of only about a dozen Caucasians in a sea of Orientals. Boarding occurred promptly and we found our seats which were like aircraft seats complete with tray-table, safety instructions and the obligatory 'in flight' magazine. We set off at an impressive speed and bumped across the water for about an hour. Disembarked at the Taipa Ferry terminal which adjoins the Macau International Airport. The place bristled with cranes and other construction equipment as they constructed a new terminal. Meanwhile we walked a fair distance through the temporary facility.
On arrival at the Immigration Hall there were 5 lengthy queues and we deliberated which one to join. An official asked Jenny how old she was, on telling him he escorted us directly to the 'Diplomatic' line which was almost vacant. It is good to be old sometimes. From there we were guided to the concourse where the complementary shuttle buses were waiting to whisk us off to their respective Casinos. The first one we found was for the Venetian. In no time at all we were off and deposited at the entrance of the most opulent building we've ever entered. Everything was glittering brass and polished marble, with massive corridors flanked by all the high-end brand names. Our first priority was a toilet and we were gobsmacked when we found these facilities, grander in many ways than many six-star hotel foyers.
We entered the casino and blew away HK$10 (about AU$1.25) - we really are cheap !! The machine actually paid a small drop and we were left with HK$0.55 credit and no way to clear it, the machine printed a voucher which is valid until 20 May 2013, I doubt we'll ever cash it 8-) From the Casino we wandered through the shopping arcades along the Grand Canal. It was amazing that we were on the third level of this structure walking alongside a waterway, lined with shop-fronts in what looked like real buildings and topped with a sunny sky which was also artificial. We eventually tired of this and found our way back to ground level and the shuttle bus back to the ferry terminal.
Back through Macau Immigration and boarded the ferry. We set off on a fairly rough sea and were advised to fasten our seatbelts and to use the bags provided. Later it was announced that would be delayed in our arrival due to the weather. No big deal we had until 1730 to catch the last shuttle back to the ship. Off the ferry, through Hong Kong Immigration and out on the street, heading for the Ocean Terminal with an hour to spare. We walked quite a distance and it slowly dawned on us that we were not where we thought we were. A most helpful stranger pointed out the we were on the Hong Kong side - not on Kowloon. The ferry had docked at a totally different place to where we'd departed some six hours previous.
Not only did we have to walk back to where we'd left the ferry but find our way to the Kowloon Ferry pier. It certainly seemed a long way at the end of a long day but we walked for about 20 minutes, had an altercation with the ticketing machine, boarded the ferry as the gate closed behind us and made good time once we arrived at the Kowloon side. Made it to the shuttle bus with just over 10 minutes to spare. Whew !!
Back to the ship and dinner in the Santa Fe to hear the Captain explain that he'd been denied permission to sail the 1 hour short route to our anchorage for the remainder of our stay. The alternate route will take him almost 6 hours. The worst of it for the passengers ashore is that their expected tenders will now pick them up after midnight instead of 2130 as expected. There will be some unhappy people tomorrow. To add to his woes some of the ship's tour buses were late so we were late departing to start with.
Meanwhile, we who were safely aboard as he flung the ship around the island at 22 knots, were entertained by some very clever local performers. The changing faces act was brilliant but the LED illuminated dragon took the show.
It is now almost midnight and I'll try to get this posted in the morning.
Another full day tomorrow I might not get the update written and posted for a day or two.
Meanwhile, if you'd like to see my recent images you could try the following link. Recent Images on 365
Cheers ... Tony