Monday, October 22, 2007

We have visitors this week. They arrived yesterday afternoon, and swift as the wind they were swept off to the peak tram to get the touristy bit over and done with. Now the last time I went on the tram must have been two years ago or more. So last night, I was suitably confused when, upon disembarking the tram, I found myself in a daze of blinking lights in an interior space heavy on the chrome, with seemingly endless escalators.

Ah-ha!! 'Sky terrace' masked as 'Viewing terrace'. How cunning. Now, the viewing terrace used to be free. You might need to pop in a two dollar coin to look through the telescopes but it didn't used to cost you nothing to stand out there eating wind and admiring the view (if you happen to get up there on a clear day). But now, these buggers want to charge you $20 each to get up there. And the whole contraption is predictably designed so that if you hadn't known better, you really would think paying $20 is the only way to get a look at this supposedly amazing view of Hong Kong.

So we were ten flights of escalators going up, and ten flights coming straight back down. We went to the pavilion, which was packed and a photographer was there doing this business. He propped himself up on an advantageous position and when there is a punter to be photographed, and he sees you or body parts of you (i.e. the unwanted stranger who is not going to pay him a cent) in his viewfinder, he will shout at you to ask you to move away. Loudly but politely, determinedly and repeatedly, until you move your arse. Now. That is not very pleasant. If I had a raw egg I would have thrown it at him and then run real fast.

So we walked along Lugard Road instead, and after about 15 minutes you get to where the money really is. A really panoramic view of this side of the peak, the harbour, TST, West Kowloon, and the big bridges. We were the only people there. Now someone should, if they haven't already, spread the word and let tourists know that paying $20 a pop does NOT get necessarily get you the best view.

And last night, it was an amazing, breathtaking view. I've seen it dozens of times but it really is, well, you know, quite extraordinary.

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