Sunday, May 12, 2013

HONG KONG: Tita Meryl Streep and the Foggy Peak

I was able to cover most of the popular tourist spots in Hong Kong when I came here two years ago: Ngong Ping, Disneyland, Ocean Park, Avenue of Stars. I decided to avoid The Peak because I remember arriving at the tram station and noticing a blockbuster queue which left me disgusted and backing out. Sorry, I have some sort of aversion toward long lines. I was even more naive back then and was not aware of alternative means to get there such as Bus 15 and its sisters 15A and 15B. And now I am back, mostly for academic purposes but with a day or two to spare. While going back to Ocean Park to ride the new roller coaster they installed after my visit was a tempting proposition, I decided to just give The Peak a chance. Being based at Causeway Bay, proximity is not really an issue. So, what did I see there? Aside from Tita Meryl Streep, nothing else but fog.

It was a bad decision that I will no longer regret simply because there is no point in doing so. That is my new mantra nowadays: Stop hating what you cannot control, or could NO LONGER control. I admit being lost after the second day of my CPE exam, but more on a figurative sense. Exams do that to you. You just want to go home and have a nap. But I found out yesterday that Dirty Dancing was still showing and tonight was the last show before they jump over to Singapore, which is the stop before they conclude the international run in Manila. There really is no need to hurry. I will be in Singapore next month anyway, and I could see it there, buy maybe my mind was looking for some kind of diversion that was not travel related? And so I called the hotline and booked a ticket for the 7:45 PM show. What I should have done was book the afternoon show at 3:45 PM and go to The Peak in the evening, when it is at its most beautiful. Switcheroo. No no regrets, you don’t want no regrets!

So yeah, as mentioned, a flamboyant gang of fog greeted us as we got off the tram at The Peak Tower, but before that, let us reminisce how I got there in the first place? Peak Tram. I actually found it weird that the queue was shorter despite being there on a Sunday. I thought I hit the jackpot when I found out that those buying a Madame Tussauds combination ticket could fall in line directly at their counter. As it turns out, the cashier there is much slower than the cashier manning the tram ticket booth, so in spite of the longer line there, all of them still ended up ahead of us. Nice. Some promo girls from Kodak will try to sell you your photos for HKD100 or your photos in key chains for less. It takes around half an hour to get in the tram, depending on the volume of the crowd. The actual ride is less than ten minutes.

If you are not after the novelty, then I suggest you just ride a bus to the top. For just around HKD10, you can catch one at Admiralty. It offers nothing fancy though, aside from being a double decker. I assume that the tram ride is lovely if and when the weather cooperates, which in my case it did not, so hooray you, weather! What I saw while on that short ride up was all white because of the fog, followed by all green care of the lush vegetation where you will all end up if the tram decides to commit suicide. Machines and their mood swings. Otherwise, it will be a rather uneventful ride full of chatter and gossip exchanges among middle-aged women enjoying their day-off.

You get off at the Peak Tower, which is that weird looking building made famous by its weirdness. Well, it also boasts an observation deck, the entrance for which you have to pay for and is said to offer the most awesome views of Hong Kong down below. You could also arrange a romantic dinner but make sure to reserve in advance because I have heard that it is quite popular. What time? Try 6 AM. Dinner, hello? Regardless of time there are many fast food chains and restaurants to choose from, but not all of them have that “view”.

I decided to cross out Madame Tussauds off my list. I am not really amused with the place, which explains the lack of anticipation. If you are going to the Peak and planning to spend hours in that wax museum, then sorry but half an hour would suffice, if you are not such a camwhore. The place is not that big, and their collection of life-sized wax figures is not that big. Some are not convincing, like Nicole Kidman and Jay Chou. Some look too real they are freaky, mostly those local actors. The Lady Gaga figurine apparently had a catfight with the Madonna figurine, and they had to bring her to the hospital to recuperate. So no, no Lady Gaga photo-op for me.

The next best alternative would have been Brangelina, but why should I chase the power couple when I could have Meryl Streep all to myself? I mean, you do not do that to Queen Meryl Streep. No one puts Queen Meryl Streep in a corner! A dark corner facing Brangelina and not readily visible from the get go. You don’t do that to Meryl Streep! Do not mind me, I just lack sleep; thus, the not so convincing hysterics. Anyway, that wax figure of the multiple Oscar winner is that of a younger her. So while everyone else was harassing Aaron Kwok and Robert Pattinson, I was there with Meryl Streep trying to find a way to get a good photo.

Once you are done with the celebrities, you still have more to go representing different spheres of the society: Obama and the British royal family for Politics; Shakespeare for Literature; some politicians that I would rather not name; Albert Einstein with arms crossed like some primadonna diva for Science; Yao Ming and David Beckham for Sports; and then the music legends, and then the souvenir shop. Wait, we are done? That was quick. I told you it is not that big. It would not fill your whole itinerary at the Peak.

HONG KONG: Yesinn Causeway Bay
HONG KONG: Tita Meryl Streep and the Foggy Peak

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