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A dazzling day in Hong Kong

Note: we visited Hong Kong on Friday November 24th. I’ve been unable to upload photos to the blog since visiting Hong Kong.  I am unsure if there is a regional restriction or block from an internet provider. This post is a week late in the making…

It was yet another pinch me day in Hong Kong.  This has been the most amazing year and having just been Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I promise you I am not taking any of this for granted.  Spinning around the world when the world continue to spin around you with all of the the current events and wars contrasted against the beauty and sights of the world. I’ve seen so much and yet so much more to see and I am thankful beyond measure.

It just hit me, the Northern Hemisphere is complete in this journey to step foot on all seven continents in a year.  Wow.  A mini victory!

It’s a cloudy day today on the South China Sea.  It’s actually comfortable to slightly cool and the ship is really rockin.  Sitting poolside for the second time today, I am not gonna lie, this is the good life.

I’ve had so much fun this voyage, largely due to Kiran and his outlandish sense of inappropriate and potentially offensive humor.  A self-proclaimed “Hindu on a budget”, he’s been an unforgettable connection in this trek around the globe.  He will end up at 330 days traveling in 2023, so y’all, I’ve met my match.  Actually, he’s on a different strata than me…always has been and always will be.

He organized the “Fag Brunch” and spends his time entering shipboard raffles to win prizes, not for himself, but to selflessly gift to staff members that work so hard for our enjoyment each and every day.  Joining he and I in the LGBTQ+ group are Steve and Adam from the UK, Tito and Ben from San Diego - both gay couples on their honeymoons along with Alex, fellow solo traveler on his own 6-7 year trek around the globe and last but certainly not least, Julian and Jackie, also honeymooners from New Jersey.

We have a Gay Happy Hour at 7:45p nightly at the Martini Bar, we silent disco together and brunch on sea days. Most importantly, we enjoy each other’s company...tremendously!

It’s kind of ironic as I type this how worried I was to be surrounded by love in Africa, and this is actually the leg that it’s pretty front and center with 3 honeymoon couples, but to be frank, Asia has been all about surprises.

Asia in general, has exceeded all expectations.  I can’t wait to come back.  Thankfully, I will return to the East at least twice in 2024 and I suspect that count will increase before the year is fully booked for next year.  It’s simply that good.

Hong Kong was visually stunning.  Like Tokyo and Taipei, HK is an amazing city with little to no crime. The sights, sounds and flavors are so unlike everyday life in the U.S it’s hard not to be enchanted.

My morning in Hong Kong was spent exploring with Julian and Jackie.  In an unplanned but we’re both at the taxi stand at the same time moment, we hopped in a cab together and headed from the harbor in Kowloon (site of the former Hong Kong airport) on a hour-long taxi ride to Hong Kong Island.

We got dropped at Man Mo Temple, an incense filled, and I mean FILLED temple.  It really took your breath away visually as well as physically, by the hundred or possibly even thousands incense sticks burning at the same time.

We then wandered around Hollywood Road (antiques) and eventually found our way to the famous Central/Mid Level escalators that literally carried us up the hillside.

The street art scene in Hong Kong is legit. The murals and graffiti (if you can call it that) is very well done. In yet another live street art moment, we came across a photoshoot of 2 models and I was able to snap a few pics of the their photoshoot. I am still not sure of it was just for their Instagram or if it was a brand shoot, but the colors definitely popped against the city skyline.

We stopped for gelato roses, wandered and zig zagged down the hillside amongst markets of fresh foods, meats, jade stores and vendors selling trinkets.

We ended up inside a McDonald’s and tried seaweed seasoned french fries, which were actually quite delicious and gave a bit of herbal and earthly salty twang to the fries.

Now early afternoon, we took the famous Star Ferry for the eight minute ride back to Tsim Sha Tsui, home of the Avenue of Stars, designer shops and museums. We separated for a few hours and did our own thing, before gathering again for a 5p excursion to go out to Victoria Peak.

Kiran, Julian, Jackie and myself boarded our shuttle and left the ship terminal at 5p sharp for the 4 hour excursion.  It was well worth the $99 price tag as the line to get onto The Peak Tram was hours long.  As a group with reservations, we were given priority and got to cut the wait down to 15-20 minutes maximum.

The ride up in the carriage was steeper and more scenic than I expected.  Holding up to 210 passengers, 167 in seats and the rest standing.  From their website, it’s described as “one of the world's oldest and most famous funicular railways, the tram rises to 396 metres (about 1,300 feet) above sea level. It is so steep that the buildings you pass look like they are leaning a gradient of between 4 to 25.7 degrees!”

Seeing the city lights from the cliffside viewing platform known as Sky Terrace 428 (428 meters above sea level - about 1400’) was only one part the special evening.

We caught the bus back down from the peak, went back across the harbor in the underwater central tunnel for the 3rd time today to view the famous “Symphony of Lights”.

At 8p, 43 buildings on both sides of the harbor illuminate and dance to the score of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in a 10 minute display that bounces lights and lasers and fills the sky.

It’s magical. It drew another moment of happy tears.  While the music played and lights danced across the sky, I reflected on all of the absolutely amazing things that I have seen this year and all of the equally amazing people that have come into my life. I stood there and nodded and knew this was more than I deserve.  My cup is not only full, it’s overflowing.

A late dinner back on the ship as we departed Hong Kong shortly after 9p, we watched the absolutely spectacular city lights and skyline fade into the horizon as the Celebrity Millennium sailed away.  The end of yet another absolutely amazing day.

So to you, my family and friends, new and old alike, I am thankful for the time, place and space you give me in your life.  Life may be short, or it may be long, but it is beautiful.

Cole from Colorado

In a razzle dazzle state of mind.



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