We had planned to go up the peak on the Monday but it was shrouded in dark clouds, so we decided to go and pick up the train tickets instead. We could have left this until we were actually travelling, but we wanted to do a ‘dry run’ of the route without luggage.
Finding our way back to the ferry terminal proved surprisingly difficult. There was so much construction going on, and the altered route was very badly signposted. We ended up going all the way round a sports stadium (having first had to wait on a pedestrian bridge for thousands of schoolgirls to pass), then had to double-back at one point when the pavement disappeared and left us on a busy dual carriageway.
When we eventually found the jetty the boat came quite quickly and wasn’t too full. The HK$2.50 fare for the crossing on the Star Ferry must be one of Hong Kong’s best bargains, even in grey drizzle
At the Kowloon side we walked towards Tsim Sha Tsui East MTR station, past the unattractive Hong Kong Cultural Centre and the eye-wateringly expensive Peninsula Hotel, an edifice which looks nothing special but whose cheapest rooms cost over £350 a night. Descending underground we joined the long underground tunnels and moving walkways that link Tsim Sha Tsui East with Tsim Sha Tsui metro stations (I don’t know if ground conditions prevented Hong Kong’s two most useful MTR lines from intersecting directly – if not, the person who designed the system needs shooting).
One stop along the MTR, Hung Hom railway station was undergoing renovations but we quickly found the Intercity Departures ticket ticket desks at south end of building. I didn’t even need the reservation numbers, just handed over my credit card. Circle K provided an egg and smoked salmon with salad sandwich for lunch (much nicer than the previous day’s 7-Eleven one, although at HK$22.50 it was twice the price), and we ate it in the station’s waiting area.
Back at Tsim Sha Tsui East, we went to find SIM shop. The first two we tried didn’t sell ones that worked in both China and Hong Kong, but they directed us to a tiny, packed China Mobile shop in Cameron Road where we had more success.
A few stops on the MTR took us back over to Wan Chai, where we detoured up Stone Nullah Street with its greengrocers, butchers and fishmongers. A lot of the fish was still alive, and vendors had to chase escaping ones as they flapped down the street. On one slab lay a big fish that had been cut into several pieces, but its heart was clearly still beating. We looked around in Wan Chai market, but the prices in the shops but shops actually lower, and we bought a bunch of bananas and some discounted pears, just HK$6 for 5 large ones and only slightly bruised. The shop was much more crowded that the basement supermarkets we had been using, and the big freezer full of loose chicken portions were especially popular.
After a rest we went out to find a restaurant that did salmon and rice, but it was empty and more expensive than I remembered. So we walked all the way west, beyond Wan Chai MTR to Happy Veggies. This vegan place had a huge menu from which we chose stir fried veg, tofu with cashews, deep fried mashed potato and tomato dumplings, soup (came with dumplings) and 2 small bowls rice. At HK$170 it was our most expensive meal yet but really nice, with much better quality cooking than at Loving Hut. Happy Veggies is a social enterprise and all the serving staff were deaf, but it made little difference to us – by now we were used to ordering by pointing and gesturing. It made for a refreshingly quiet experience!