What to do in a relaxed Sunday in Hong Kong

Yesterday was anything but relaxed so we owed ourselves a slow day.

Steve slept and slept. I woke as usual around 7 and pottered and wrote and edited photos then went walking around the Sunday streets. It’s much quieter in the morning – especially Sunday . We are staying in the Butterfly on Wellington St. It’s in the busier restaurant, shopping area. Not the big high-end shops. The interesting boutique shops. It’s off Pottinger St and down from Hollywood Rd.

It’s turned out to be a great find. We didn’t want the expense of the 4 Seasons where the others are staying. So I opted for this busier area and a boutique style hotel. We’re on the 21st floor a corner room,  large with a lounge and a big bathroom. It also has a Nespresso machine, an iPod and, best of all, a pocket wifi. This is a wifi about as big as a iPod ,that can be taken around with you and supplies wifi to your phone / iPad. It’s great as I haven’t had to look for free wifi when out. Great for messaging our group when seperated or for following maps or booking an uber.

Steve finally surfaced and we made our way out for coffee before catching up with the guys at the Four Seasons. Then it was shopping time. Scott and his new fiancé Yan took us out for a browse. Ben bought a beautiful cashmere jumper from a place on Hollywood Rd , then it was time for a beer. It’s hot thirsty work shopping so we stepped into The Globe around the corner. The streets are steep and there are lots of steps.

We then visited an old Police Station which has had a great conversion into an arty shopping precinct. There were lots of little shops along the building with artisans showing their wares. A really interesting place.

Check out the swimmers, Steve did not buy! And the bag I did buy!

We took a short break for cheesecake and gelato. Dan hit the keys. Fortunately they were fake!

The boys then decided they needed a massage to get the stiffness out of their bones. I decided a swim was in order so I took Dan’s room key and headed to the 4 Seasons as Fran Garr (Dans surname). I had a lovely tine at the pool and jacuzzi. And what a view.

The weather is very warm even though it looks cloudy. It’s more smoggy than overcast!

Steve came back relaxed and happy and we headed back to our hotel to prepare for dinner. I had to choose the restaurant  – tonight just the four of us. Chris and brother Ben have both gone, so Dan, Yves,  Steve and I went for an early dinner. This time they needed meat! So it was the Tango Argentinian. Yum. The best steaks ever.

After dinner  we wandered down the steep hills of Central and bid our swim friends Yves and Dan a big good bye. They leave tomorrow as do we. But. We don’t go till midnight so  we are  visiting Zoe and Kunal Dey ( our friend Jill’s daughter ) and their gorgeous little boy Jack. They live here but out at Discovery Bay. It’s a ferry ride away towards the airport. After living in Central HK they decided on a quieter place to live. We’re looking forward to catching up with them and discovering Discovery Bay.

The Famous Five reunite

We’d had a great first night with swim trek friends Chris, his brother Ben, Dan and Yves. Chris, from London, is always thinking up a swim they can do together.

Our dinner tonight hosted by Ben was in a great Japanese restaurant featuring meat! Lots of it to BBQ. I wish I’d kept the map of the cow showing the 6 parts of the cow we ate. It came to the table on a large tray in the order to be cooked on the small BBQ set into the table. Washed down with beer and sake it was a great night to catch-up.

The swim day started early. We had to leave by taxi at 8.30 to get to Stanley Beach where the swim began. Stanley is across the island past Repulse Bay and once was a fishing village. Now it’s gone ahead and on a Saturday morning the locals, mostly expats, were down at the beach windsurfing. The beach sadly is littered with plastic and other assorted rubbish.

The swimmers were assembling and it all looked fairly disorganised. For a 15 km swim there weren’t many safety measures. The boys met their paddlers and started stacking the canoe with the drinks and food they would need for the swim. Yves is very experienced at distance swimming. He’s done the Channel  so knows what he’s doing.

Kenny, Steve’s paddler, seemed to understand the importance of making Steve stop for food ( banana, lollies,water, gels ) every 30 mins.

Conditions looked bad. There was a very strong wind which they had to swim into. I was having my doubts and Steve was just a little nervous.

So I waved Goodbye and went off to explore Stanley, the markets, the new mall, bus to Repulse Bay before arriving at Deep Water Bay.

Map of the swim course. Full of rips , currents and wind!

They hoped to be about 5 hours but I thought with these conditions it might take longer.

I was right. After about 5 1/2 hrs Ben came in – but had been pulled out of the water earlier. He was so disappointed. Then in came Chris, Dan and Yves very P*#}# off as they said he wouldn’t make the time so had to stop. Meanwhile no Steve.

By 6 1/2 hrs I was worrying. Everyone was finishing. Young groups of swimmers had formed teams and were all high-fiving each other. Still no word on Steve.

The light was fading, the post-swim BBQ roaring, beer running out. I’m getting frantic by now. The prize giving started.  The race organisers said ‘ they thought they had found him’.

Finally 7 1/2/hrs later he swam in with Kenny who went above the call of duty and stayed firmly with him,  encouraging and feeding him.

He made it. The by now slightly inebriated crowd erupted into astonished applause and I started breathing.

A chair, a drink and he was fine!  Then the hard part … getting a taxi back into Central and a rush to  make dinner as we were now an hour late! Chris was hosting us to a great restaurant on floor 101 looking over the harbour. Then he was flying back to London!