Sunday, June 9, 2013

Bonkers in Honkers (Part 2)

Wednesday dawned bright and sunny and we kicked off the day with a visit to the "Flying Pan" in Wanchai for a fry up. This establishment is something of an institution - providing fried breakfast 24 hours per day - and is handily located at the corner of Luard and Lockhart Roads. After fortifying ourselves for the day ahead we set off for Stanley on the No.6X bus - sitting on the top deck is the best way of seeing the sights on the way to Stanley past Ocean Park, Deepwater Bay, Repulse Bay/South Bay and Ma Hang. The views were as clear as I have ever seen them with the many islands (and the huge container ships making there way to and from the Harbour)surounding HK clearly visible.

On reaching Stanley I took J. around the temple next to the plaza (containing the skin of the last tiger shot in HK - in 1941 outside the police station in Stanley) and then to the small fisherman's temple around the corner in what is now a small country park. We had left dad (who had already seen the temples on previous visits having a coffee in Saffron (now relocated at the ground floor of the plaza) - and our first disappointment of the day was finding that Saffron no longer made their chocolate caramel slices - a mainstay of our mid morning coffe breaks in HK. Dad was most dischuffed.

We soon put this behind us with an extended visit around Stanley Market. E. had carefully briefed me where she wanted me to go (mini-Boden is apparantly all the rage) and so we stoked up on Children's clothes, Rugby shirts (from the rugby shirt shop in the market - it is apparantly going to close down as the Chinese factory has been relocated to Vietnam and the owner cannot now get them cheap enough) as well as belts and a rucksack for me. After an al fresco lunch at the sitting our area overlooking the harbour next to the market, I headed back to Admiralty in the afternoon for a suit fitting and then joined Dad and J back at the hotel to prepare for the evening's excitement at the Racecourse next door at Happy Valley.

We had already looked at the runners and riders and had made some tentative selections. We arrived at around 6:30 after a two minute walk through the underpass from our Hotel (literally opposite the race course). The Stable Bend Terrace was fairly full when we arrived and the BBQ in the middle was smelling delicious. We had booked the international buffet (HK$500 each for all you can eat and drink) and we soon got stuck into the food!). The first race was incredibly successful for all of us as we backed the first winner at 5.5 to 1. We also won on the second race (although mine was only a place). However,the main excitement was the arrival of the British Lions rugby team enjoying a bit of R&R before their game against the Babarbarians on Saturday. We had been sitting next to a couple from England who were on the table next to us and who had said they were travelling with the Lions and knew the coaching staff. However, they had not mentioned that the Lions would actually be watching the racing with us and as you can imagine it was a matter of particular excitement for our little party with Dad and J getting some autographs (including Owen Farrell) and photos with the team (including the mountainous Richie Gray). It also transpired that the couple we were talking to were big mates with the Lions coach Warren Gatland. We only relaised this when (after the team had gone home - presumably becaude of a 10pm curfew) he came over to the table and we were able to have a chat to him (and take the obligatory photos). Whilst our selections (certainly for the last few races)were not particulaly successful (although I think Dad won some more money) we had an absolute blast talking about the rugby.

We were the last to leave the racecourse and managed to find our away back across the road to the Hotel where we decided that it would be a good idea to have another drink at the outside bar (where J managed to knock over a glass leading to plastic glassses outside for the remainder of the stay!). I managed to break my room key in the lock when I went to bed and it was touch and go whether the maintenance man would be able to get it out (he did - eventually). I also managed to trip over on my way to the loo later in the night and spent a good half an hour trying to stem the flow of blood from my nose and then another half an hour trying to make myself look less like the victim of a car crash. All in all an eventful day.

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