We had originally planned on spending all three of our nights in Cheung Chau, but after realizing there was a possibility we wouldn’t make our morning flight because of the commute, we canceled the third night and opted to spend it somewhere closer to the airport.  Well, it turns out we couldn’t find anything that cost less than $300 CAD, so we’re spending the night at the airport!

We have spent the last couple of days wandering around Hong Kong.  The first full day we cruised around Cheung Chau, which is peaceful compared to huge Hong Kong.  We found a strange, dead creature on the beach!  We smiled at the locals and nearly worked up the courage to eat street vendor food.  Cheung Chau has a population of about 23,000, and it’s supposedly very touristy, but we didn’t see many western people at all.

After checking out of our little B&B hotel this morning, we headed into downtown Hong Kong via the ferry.  There are two types of ferry that travel from Hong Kong Island to Cheung Chau, the “fast” ferry and the “ordinary” ferry.  We were passengers on the ordinary ferry both times, and I believe its the boat that transports some of the goods to the island as well as passengers.  Other than that I can’t understand why they would operate a slower boat at a reduced rate.

Hong Kong is huge.  We got off the boat and, after wandering around looking for a map, found our way to a bus that took us up to Victoria Peak.  From there we had an incredible view of the city.  The double decker bus tore up the hill on a windy road that wasn’t wide enough for it, and driving on the other side of the road made it feel even more precarious.

After we spent some time on the peak we boarded the bus back into town, and took the Star Ferry to Kowloon.  We didn’t spend a lot of time in Kowloon because it was busy, and there didn’t seem to be much to do except excessive shopping.  Hong Kong is one of the shopping capitals of the world, but we’re back packing, so the idea of buying more stuff isn’t very appealing.  During our brief time in Kowloon we saw nine wedding processions and a lineup at the local Louis Vuitton!

For approximately 50 cents CAD, the Star Ferry, which is a fleet of 9 steamboats dating back to 1989, takes passengers back and forth from Kowloon to Hong Kong island.  We boarded the boat again, and when we got back to Hong Kong island, decided to take a one-hour harbour tour at dusk.  The city lights were beautiful, and it gave us a chance to get a good look at Hong Kong, while relaxing aboard a beautiful steamboat.  Much better than trying to navigate the busy streets on foot.

After the boat docked, we headed by express train, back to the airport, where checking in was more problematic than we’d expected.  The gentleman behind the counter at Cathay Pacific notified us that because we didn’t have any airline tickets out of the Philippines, they couldn’t let us enter Manila like planned, even though we have a flight booked for tomorrow morning.  I knew that immigration would likely ask us to purchase onward tickets, but I hadn’t expected our airline carrier at this end to give us problems.  Cathay Pacific is a great airline, but they’re expensive, and we knew we could find much cheaper flights elsewhere.

We made our way to Terminal 2, where all of the small carriers are located, but it was late and none of the desks were open.  I pulled out my laptop and we booked a couple of tickets through Tiger Airways.  Total cost for Tyson and I to fly from Cebu, Philippines to Singapore: $128 CAD!  And that’s for both of us.  When we got back to the Cathay desk, the guy didn’t like that we didn’t have print-outs.  I asked him if he was able to print my online confirmation.  He said no.  He eventually handed over our tickets, and we were on our way, but the whole thing took well over an hour, was stressful even without the time crunch of an approaching flight, and a good learning experience.

And here we sit.  Actually I’m sitting, and Tyson is lying down, hopefully asleep.  In the background I’m listening to a distant TV broadcasting non-stop coverage of Gadhafi’s death.  This is a long night, and I’m looking forward to boarding our flight in the morning.  Farewell, Hong Kong!