April, 2009:

Asia Update

We are 6 days into our Far Eastern adventure.

The first 2 and a half days were spent in the bustling city of Shanghai.  We checked in to the Hyatt on the Bund hotel and it was seriously impressive – Kathryn wants to model our next house on the hotel room!  The first night we had a wander down the main shopping street as dusk was falling and got to see the numerous neon lights that decorate the buildings throughout the city.  It really is quite impressive.  Plenty of offers for “watch, t-shirt, dvd” from the street traders as well as the 100s of shops just like back home.

Our second day was tourist day, where we took the Bund sightseeing tunnel over to the business district where we saw the TV Tower and went to the Shanghai World Trade Centre which opened last year as the tallest occupied building in the world at just shy of 500m high.  The top floor is a viewing deck with a glass bottom allowing you to look down on the city below.  Shanghai currently has something like 3 of the world’s top 10 tallest buildings all in fairly close proximity.

Following our trip in the clouds we decided to go below the water and visited the Shanghai Aquarium which us split into a number of different zones based on locations and consists of many small tanks, several large tanks and some underwater tunnels.  100s of different species can be seen including a tank of huge electric eels complete with voltage meter on the side of the tank, a sea lion tank and a penguin habitat.  The last exhibits are underwater tunnels which included a shark tank and a coral reef tank.  Some of the sharks were about 8 feet long and the same tank also included some large sea turtles.

Next morning we awoke to find the Legend of the Seas moored right outside our hotel window.  We departed the next day for the trip to the sea terminal where we faced the arduous task of checking out of the country and onto the ship – it was nothing of the sort.  From leaving the hotel we were on the ship and done within 45 minutes.  After Miami and Vancouver it was a significant difference!

Once on the ship we immediately made ourselves comfortable and grabbed some food – pasta to start and a couple of cheeky desserts.  That evening the ship departed for a day at sea.  On the second night I had a meal of snails to start, fillet steak main and a cheesecake dessert.  Yes I did say snails.  Next day we visited Xiamen where we kept it fairly quiet and just wandered round a few shops.

This morning we arrived into Hong Kong harbour where we’ll be for 2 days.  We’ve just returned from a day tour of Hong Kong Island where we drove around most of the island.  The trip included a tram ride up to the peak which was on a crazy steep angle but offered a great view once you were up there.  Following that it was a wander around a street market before taking a ride on a boat around the harbour.  It was an interesting tour and we got to see many things.

Plan tonight is to head out on the town and hit the shops tomorrow.  Kathyrn’s been conservative so far but our credit card may well get a workout.