Monday, 15 April 2013

Someone old, someone new

Anyone who knows me well will know that I am a fairly avid Facebook user.  One of the many advantages of Facebook is that it helps us stay in contact with, and follow the lives of, friends who we may otherwise have lost touch with over the years.  The value of Facebook has definitely come to fruition on my arrival in Hong Kong, as it has allowed me to know the whereabouts of old friends, and contact those who are now living in Hong Kong too.  This Saturday I met up with an old (not in the ancient sense of the word) friend from London, Nicole, who I hadn't seen in 10 years.

You know a good friend when you can meet up and it feels as though no time has passed since you last saw them, and you can pick up seamlessly from where you left off.  Seeing Nicole again was exactly like that.  It turns out that we are living within two minutes of each other in the Mid-Levels and there is something very reassuring about having a old friends living so close at hand.

Besides having a great catch-up, filling each other in on the past 10 years of our lives, Nicole also proved to be an accomplished tour guide!  She took me on a tour of Sheung Wan pointing out gorgeous boutiques, hidden-away cafes, the most popular street food vendors and secluded parks.  However the highlight of my day was a visit to the aviary in Hong Kong Park.

When Nicole suggested  we visit the aviary, I think she could tell from my facial expression that I was slightly perturbed that she considered me the bird-watching type.  Once we arrived in the aviary, high-up in Hong Kong Park, over-looking the city skyline, with the sound of water rushing through and stunning rare tropical birds surrounding you - I got why she had been insistent on a visit.  It was a stunning, tranquil oasis in the centre of the hustle and bustle of the city - packed with some of the most gorgeous brightly coloured, unusual birds that I have ever seen.  The aviary is now high on my list of places to take visitors to.

Here are some photos - but my camera was not good enough to actually capture any birds!

While Saturday was spent catching up with an old friend, Sunday was spent with our new friend, Lars who David had met on one of his first weekends here.  At this time of year, when the weather is still relatively cool, the population of Hong Kong spend much of their leisure time hiking - if they aren't eating or shopping.  Therefore, in an attempt to fit in with the locals, we threw on our walking kit and set-off with Lars for Stanley on the south side of the island.

Despite the fact that no walk in Hong Kong appears to be complete without an abundance of steps or steep hills to scale, the hike to Stanley was stunning and we definitely earned our beer and lunch when we finally arrived there two hours later.

Here is some of the scenery we passed through en-route:

And here is the final destination and my reward for hiking:

So all in all, we have had a great weekend, spending time with old friends and new and gradually exploring a little bit more of what Hong Kong has to offer us.

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