March 04, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 59

Day 59 – Last Day in Hong Kong. The weather continues to bless us. High temperature today is 70 or 71. The skies are mostly cloudy, the humidity low, and no rain.

My tour today takes me to Lantau where I board an aerial cable car for a 4 mile ride to the top of the mountain where recently over a period of 10 years the largest bronze Buddha in the world was constructed. It is appropriately called "The Big Buddha". The cable car ride was spectacular with views of the harbor, the airport, and the continuing building of skyscrapers and other infrastructure on reclaimed land in Hong Kong Harbor. As predicted, I chose not to climb the final 300 steps to the Buddha, but took pictures from the "village" at the tram terminal.

Our bus was unable to return to the pier because of traffic so we were let us off several blocks away. This was the first time I have seen traffic a problem in Hong Kong. I decide to wander the nearby shopping district before returning to the ship. The sidewalks are jammed with local people. I think I was the only tourist. I slowly work my way back to the ship.

Once on board I speculate that with tomorrow being a sea day the laundry would be busy, and with today being a port day everyone would be on shore. I decide to do my laundry. Well, again, great minds think alike. The laundry was the busiest I have seen it, but all is still good, I did not need to wait for a machine. In and out in no time and I have clean clothes for another week or two.

Yesterday when I was getting my token for the ferry I had one of those moments where I felt like a true experienced world traveler. There were three men, I think from the middle east, but I don't know for sure because they did not speak nor understand any English. They were trying to purchase tokens for the ferry, but couldn't figure out the process. I was able to help them, they were most grateful, and we all boarded the waiting ferry.

Yesterday lifeboat # 9 was lowered to the dock, and repairs appear to have been completed. I expect that at our next port they will launch it to verify everything is operational.

Being in port I was able to easily connect to the internet earlier in the evening as most passengers were using the free internet on shore instead of the ship. Not having sleep interrupted by email activity was nice. I doubt if that will happen many more times. Here in Hong Kong, free internet is available everywhere. On all the tour buses, on the ferry, in nearly every restaurant, on the tram cable cars, and even on the harbor cruise boat. I won't speculate on how safe any of the connections would be, or if the government was listening.

Debby's concert on deck was well attended last night, regretfully I did not get back on the ship soon enough from my Harbor Cruise to hear any of it. Previously I had thought they moved a baby grand piano to the aft deck for her to play. Tonight I learned it was just a wood enclosure made to look like a piano but actually housing an electronic keyboard. Just can't believe your eyes about anything anymore.

All aboard was 7 PM. About 30 passengers were called to report to a customs officer. I suspect they may be passengers that boarded here in Hong Kong. By 8:45 the gangway was removed, and we left the pier about 9:00. I go outside, with jacket and camera, to have my last look at the Hong Kong lights as we navigate the twists and turns of the channel to the open sea. Hopefully a few of the many pictures I took will be printable.

Tomorrow is a sea day. Many of us are looking forward to a much needed day of rest. We also set our clocks back 1 hour tonight, so we get an extra hour of sleep. Being on vacation is rough.