22 October 2005 Hong Kong

After breakfast we had all perked up a bit, although poor Pesti was a bit fed up with planes, buses, taxis and hotels. C came to meet us and we went off to the Ladies Market, where she got some presents for friends and she and Madame got some nice bags. At one point we had to cross the road to avoid the smell of something cooking in one of the stalls – what looked like the stomach lining of some animal. Not only us, but we spotted a few Chinese holding their noses as they passed. After the market we took the venerable Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island. From the terminal, a taxi to the starting point for the cable car to the Peak. An incredibly steep climb giving – I can’t avoid the cliche because it’s true – breathtaking views of the city. At the top it was breathtaking in another sense – the pollution that restricts the view to the immediate harbour area and gets you in the back of the throat.

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Back down with the tram, we took the open-top bus through the financial heart of Asia (Harvey Nicks just opening) and some of the most striking and elegant skyscrapers crammed together with some of the most unimaginative and downright oppressive. C told me the local nickname for one, which consisted of no more than an enormous white monolith with row upon row of identical round porthole windows, was  ‘The Building of a Thousand Arseholes’.
In the evening we had dinner with C and her husband M, an airline pilot for Cathay Pacific. I was able to quiz him about all the things I’d always wondered about in planes (How do they stop after landing? What does ‘cabin crew cross-check and doors to manual’ mean?).