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April 9, 2006
Tour day, weíve been looking forward to this one.  Baby or no baby this is our chance to really see the sights and sounds of Hong Kong.  If I didnít already mention it, Ben who has helped us with the adoption process while in Hong Kong is a full time tour guide when not working with adoption groups.  Part stand up comic, part child psychologist, and now tour guide as well!  This guy ads some serious value.

Once again itís breakfast in the airport.  We definitely feel like weíre in that Tom Hanks movie, The Terminal.  All of our meals, shopping, and exercise are done in the airport.  We still shower in the hotel room but I wonder how long until that changes.  More greasy food, this time McDonalds for some eggs and pancakes, and as usual Zoe munches the new food down.  We meet the rest of the group at 9:30 and head out on a nice bus.  The drive takes twice as long as the train, but no one seems to mind, and for the most part the kids do OK.  You learn to filter crying and whining from your hearing when youíre surrounded by it for 10 days straight.  We take the bus into the center of town, and once again the modern architecture is amazing.  Glass towers, huge high rises, it all looks like a much more modern New York City.  Our first stop is the Victoria tram, which takes us up the mountains behind downtown Hong Kong.  The tram rises an unbelievably steep grade, and at the top we are once again greeted by another mall, smaller but still another chance to shop.  At the top the view is extraordinary, mist & clouds smolder the skyscrapers and you half expect to see the Golden Gate Bridge popping out through all the white.  Here you get great views of the Bank of China tower, an elegant triangle glass structure that dominates the skyline.  Apparently though the triangle is bad luck in China so everyone there despises the thing, no matter how beautiful it is.  We end the view with some ice cream and then head down to the opposite of the mountainsÖthe beach.  The beach faces the South China Sea which looks much like the northern pacific coast.  Rounded outcroppings of rock dot the coast like little green islands breaking the waves for the boaters and water skiers who enjoy the hot hot day.  We are sweltering and the humidity is so think youíre just dripping wet standing outside.  We gulp down water, and try to focus on the view to distract our minds from the heat.  At the center of the beach lies large hotels, and a shrine where locals come to rub the Buddha.  We all take our turns as well, but it doesnít make the day any cooler.

After the beach we head for a harbor to take a sampan ride.  An old woman whose face looks like itís seen lots of time on the salt water takes us out to the Fishing Village, where people actually live on their fishing boats.  Our tour guide tells us that some of the women have not been on dry land since the day they were married.   Their schools are on boats, they socialize on boats, I even saw a bar on one of the boats.  They have children, dogs, catsÖand everyone lives on the boats.  It is a crazy scene, and the boats look like they should have stopped floating sometime around Napoleon, but there they stand, both the homes and livelihood to all who live in this floating village.  Zoe takes it all in stride, and takes occasional naps rather bored with the entire thing.  After the nap we head to a local jewelry manufacturer (Aberdeen Jewlery Manufacturer).  Iím convinced that our tour guide does this deliberately to watch the expressions on the menís faces which start out as boredom and then to terror as their wives ask for the credit cards to get diamonds, jade, & pearls.  Our host passes out cups of beer but it isnít nearly strong enough when the credit slips are signed.  Lastly we take a ferry ride out into the main harbor for a view of the entire cityscape.  Really incredible, definitely the most impressive skyline Iíve ever seen including any city in this country.  After the bus picks us up, it's back to the airport for one last night before the long plane ride home.  Last minute packing, followed by a steak dinner with our friends Mike & Anne.  The food is very good, but we choke when we see weíve racked up a tab of over $1700 Hong Kong dollars which is well over $300 American.  One last hurrah I suppose.

Zoe really just came along for the ride today, it was the only day that was more about us.  By the end of it all itís late and we are tired.  We just pray Zoe gets some sleep because itís going to be a long day tomorrow.