hongkong

MY TRIP TO HONK KONG & THAILAND

BUS – Double decker (old London Red) rattles like?? but cheap and reliable

MTR – Same as Tube but faster, on time and crowded. Can be dodgy as tube and platform do not always come up to same level and occasional big gap between platform and carriage 8 -12” difference. My start and end point is Tseung Kwan O

Breakfast – small orange, unlimited coffee, 2 rounds of toast - small plate with boiled egg, 4 slices ham, 3 cocktail sausages, sweet corn and 4 baby carrots – small plate of rice and fried noddle’s 2 dim sum? BBQ beef or chicken


Cathay

DAY 1 – Saturday 25th January 2014

Up at 0500 to get ready for the drive to Heathrow leaving at 0700.

The plane leaves at 1125 from Terminal 3 to Hong Kong - due to land 0700 Sunday 26th Flying with Cathay Pacific (CP) non stop on a 777-333ER


Landed on time wheelchair at the door - good start.

Collected bag, through customs no problem with CP helper. Now to find Taxi which I tried to book through the hotel – OK - no taxi booked – loads of taxi booking desks BUT no wheelchair accessible ones (would cost approximately £80 to get to my hotel)

hotel

So - ha! Ho! Lets jump on the bus instead. I had no change so gave bus driver HKD30 (£3) for the 45 min trip – as soon as we went round the first corner (on two wheels) that’s when my memorymemory came back of the bus trip up/down from Stanley.

Arrived at bus stop near Hotel - Holiday Inn, East Kowloon.

(you’re probably thinking ‘East Kowloon?’) Yep it wasn't there in 1978-80, just sea – it is now a massive place, sorry I digress.

Arrived at bus stop to be met by two hotel staff to assist me to hotel (CP staff on the ball) 3 minute walk to hotel,. Checked in, then taken up to room.

The lift did 26 floors in about 6 seconds. Yep I’m on 26th floor - nice room, but I’m sure it’s moving.

Kettle on for coffee - all this and it’s only 0900. Coffee done, quick splash, brush teeth and down to reception to ask how to get to Stanley market.

Done – I need to take the MTR and a No. 6 BUS

HK station

The MTR station is in the hotel plaza 2 minutes. I need to purchase an Octopus Card (similar to an Oyster). The card cost’s HKD150 (HKD50 for card deposit & HKD100 for use).

MTR to North Point, then change to Central. Not like it used to be, it took 20 mins to figure it out, had to get lift up to walkway to cross road then lift down to bus station. Not quite – it took me about an hour as I just could not find the lift down. I eventually asked a policeman - who got on his walkie-talkie.

Next thing there are 3 bod’s making clear my way through the building work’s to a lift down to bus station – easy when you ask a policeman. Right get on the bus - easy, driver lifts up hook, opens up the ramp I’m in, zap Octopus Card, put myself in space for wheelchair job sorted.

Now the fun begins, how the hell those drivers do not have more accidents?

Arrived at Stanley Market – see photos – I couldn’t remember any of it, so can’t remark on the changes. Lots of new-builds on the way up.

Stanley Fort is a restricted area now (Chinese Army) so I couldn’t get in there – I did try, but they didn’t believe that I played rugby (Rugby Club are allowed in on Sundays) 

That done - No. 6 bus back down the hill, stopping at Admiralty pier to get the MTR back to hotel.

Back at hotel 1930 wacked. Food, unpack and bed ready for day 2.


Day 2

Got up late 0630 - got ready to start my travel to Kowloon Tong, Bing Fong, Lun Fuk Do. 

Breakfast – as above - all done

Unable to get bus all the way so going by MTR via Tiu Keng Leng.

Arrived at Kowloon Tong station took two goes to get the correct exit with lift to main street. A few minutes to get my bearings, and of towards Waterloo Road. I managed to get across safely, then 5 minutes to find the gate to get into (or not) Osborne Barracks. 

Looking through the perimeter fence brought back a few memories. Off to see if I can get in. The main entrance is still in the same place but with BIG gate’s and a sign saying Restricted Area. Ah well, I’ll give it a go so approached the inner gate (Um bad move) Chinese soldier came running up and said – "Please leave" in a very stern and positive way. So I spun round and got the hell out of there. 

I went across the road into a conference center - up onto the rooftop to see if I could get some photos of the  Barracks. I then decided to go down Waterloo/Nathan Road back to the Star Ferry - off I went

The going was getting harder and harder and the occasional smell was awful. Forgot about those. I got onto Nathan road with no real great hassle and managed to get as far down as Jordon Road, until the amount of people and workings got too much – so - I jumped on the first bus that came along. I got off out side the Holiday Inn Tsim Sha Tsui.

Popped in to use their loo and to get a coffee and a sandwich. 


redlips

All done - I then asked for directions to Red Lips bar and Ned Kelly’s.

The Red Lips is still there some where. It has moved three times or more.

nedkelly





Ned Kelly’s still in the same place doing the same thing.


Time getting on so made my way back to Hotel – Coffee, wash, dinner & bed – 

Another hard day done.


DAY 3

starferry2

Up at 0700 get ready – Breakfast done - early start for Star Ferry/Central /HMS Tamar

MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui. Short walk to star ferry. Found out what to do – have to go cheap seats – down stairs – as wheelchairs cannot get up stairs – looks like nowt’s changed. Same boats, same crew, same awful smell but NO spitting, (I didn’t see any Chickens or live stock) what I thought would take about 35 minuets took 5 mins. It took longer to get me on & off the ferry than the crossing itself.

Hong Kong side. I have not got a clue, so took myself off in the direction of Tamar. I was hampered quite a lot due to road and building works, so after going around the same building twice I took a short-cut straight across the road - to the traffic’s delight.

I got as far as the Service Mens Club – see photos- popped in for a coffee and had lunch.

They have 6 or so years left to change or make it better, or the Chinese government will close it down and build on site.

Done here - took off again towards other Star Ferry. All new buildings, paths and walkways. Tamar is now the Government building. The Post Office is still there.

I got as far as the Ferry and had had enough, so got on the  boat back to Ocean Terminal.

starhouse



The Terminal is still up, but it looks a bit ragged now. Star House and others are still up, but inside there are shops. I wondered around for half hour then made my way back to the hotel

Got in, washed, coffee, dinner and bed - yep another hard day.




Day 4

Up at 0900 ready, breakfast as before


Off to Lantau Island – through MTR station, across the road to catch No. 22e bus to Chair Lift station. Same bus that goes to airport - about 40 minutes.

buddah


Got there and found the chairlift entrance - then I saw the queue. I decided to give it a miss and turned round to head back down stairs the in lift – forgot to mention I found the lift to go up


Whilst waiting for the lift I was approached by a Chinese worker who took me the "wheelchair way", straight to the front so HKD150 lighter I was in a chairlift car on my way UP to see the biggest sitting Buddha.

It was OK but I think you need the best part of a day to go around the Island.


All done - back down. I found a bus stop and caught the 22e back to Hotel. Got back at 1735 ready for a coffee. I took a wander around the plaza's 3 floors. Had dinner, back to my room and packed my bags ready for 1100 bus to airport in morning. Ready for bed 2310.

                    



Day 5

Up at 07:00 and get ready. My last breakfast in Hon Kong. Back to my room, check everything is packed. Make a move to check-out and catch a bus. The Hotel staff take me to the bus stop and wait with me until my departure. 11:10 on the bus and 11:50 arrive at airport.

This next part of my journey is a bit long winded but I think it’s worth letting you all know about it - it’s what holidays are made for.

On arrival at Hong Kong airport I find that departures are up stairs. So off I went to find the lift.

Went to the wrong end so take myself an my bag - passing 100 or so desks to the left - and found the Cathay Pacific desk. I checked in my luggage, and go through all sort’s of questions and answers about my wheelchair, After some time - and now needing a drink - all done. So of I go with Cathay Pacific staff helper up to security desk and show passport.

Put all my bits and bobs in tray - that goes through ok?

No it doesn’t..!!

I have a small spanner (part of my wheelchair tool kit) It came through Heathrow no problem, but the lady said it was “too long" (Asian’s for you)

“It’s a 4 inch spanner” I cry out. and lots of Chinese jibberish later, the said spanner is given to the Cathay Pacific staff helper to give to the airplane staff member - to return to me in Thailand.

Next I have to go through into departure and have a rub down  - all ok.

A swab stick was rubbed over the wheelchair by customs lady and off she goes to get it checked. 5 minutes later she’s back to do another one. Swab done - off she goes again. No rush as we have an hour before boarding. 10 minutes later she’s back, along with another person (security supervisor). Both swab’s have set off an alarm, and because of this the Police have to be called (me in slight sweat).

ASUn01012404 big


Some 15 minutes later, two airport police (armed to the teeth) along with the airport security manager appear and I/we are now creating quite a crowd. Lots of talking later another two Policemen - a Sargent and an officer -  along with another two Cathay Pacific staff members appear (we now have enough to have a party)


The Police officer and I now apologise to each other - along with the other 20 bod’s. I’m asked where I have come from, where I have been and what was I doing here there and everywhere. I basically told him the same as before.

It turns out that the swabs they took had picked up some form of explosives from my wheelchair.

The two Cathay Pacific staff and the airport staff are now flapping about as we only have 10 minutes before take off.

Lots of talking again, and it is decided to take the wheelchair down stairs and put it through a big scanner. So I get myself sat on a hard chair. My wheelchair and cushion gone before I had chance to blink.

The Police officer sat next to me and he started to ask all sorts of questions again for about ten minuets. We then talked about Hong Kong. He had been in the force for 30 years, married 2.5 children, 1 cat and a budgie. 

The Cathay Pacific staff and airport staff then came back to inform me that I had missed my plane, and that they (if I’m allowed out of Hong Kong and not locked up) will try and get me on the next plane.

I am now getting bored with this game.

ALL OF A SUDDEN there is a right commotion. My wheelchair is returned

“All clear"  they say "it must be something from the batteries” and I am all clear to go.

images

A Jubilant Would Be Bomber

I think everyone that was involved came and apologised for my delay. So 20 odd minutes later I am off through immigration and on my way to the boarding gate - applauded all the way by the very jubilant Cathay Pacific staff

Cathay-Pacific-flight-attendants2

The plane is on hold. Cathay Pacific staff member returns my spanner. I am then informed that the plane was delayed leaving and that I will be on it as there is another 1 and a ¼ hours before it leaves.

So there was no rush after all


…… BACK TO THE TRIP


On the plane at last - all good but no upgrade.

Lunch on plane. 

Landing so late from schedule is my next concern - will my pre-booked Taxi have waited for me? 

Wheelchair not at the door so have to get in an Airport chair then off to find the oversized luggage collection point for my chair - also to find my suit case.

All done and off through customs and onto passport control - no problems.

NO TAXI – I get told that there are three exit points so he could be at one of these.

sign



Y i p p p p p e e e …. found him - small man holding big sign MR DAVID and waving like mad. Off he goes to get taxi.




Before leaving the UK I’d sent photographs, complete with sizes and weight of wheelchair to all concerned parties.

The taxi turns out to be a funny sized 12 seater mini bus. The back set of seats do not move forward or fold up So I clamber into a seat and the next thing two guys lift my chair up onto the seat next to me - seeing is believing - all in. 

Off we go on the next adventure

2 hours and 45 minutes later (he did not know where hotel was) we are on Beach Road in Pattaya. At first glance I think to myself I’ll have to give this road a miss - 10,000,000,000’s of people and even more scooter’s/moped’s, Tut-Tut taxi’s, mini buses and coaches.

Eventually got to the hotel and checked in. Took bag up stairs to my room and myself back down to the bar to get a much needed drink.

So what should have been a fairly straightforward day is at an end  - two beers and I was in bed.


Day 6

Pattaya, Thailand

The land of…… Dreams – Russians - A few French - Australians - Yank’s - Finish.

pattaya

But LOADS OF…..

bargirl-pattaya




Bars, Go-Go Bars and Club’s. Old men (excluding myself - as I’m a youngster)



What more can I say, I think I will leave it to the photos…. (EDITOR - When he sends ‘em)

 

My return trip will be starting at 03:00 from my hotel and I hope will not be as “interesting" as my trip out.



Oh by the way…. I nearly pulled… BUT.. HE fell over before we could fall in love…. ah well, always tomorrow


pattaya-beer-garden-lady

 

Thanks for reading I hope you enjoyed it and the photo’s (when Tony gets them)

 

Take care all  -  Dave Timms


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 NOTE TO READERS - I bet he doesn’t have time to keep a “diary” in Pattaya - Watch This Space



© RGJ BAND 2017