Champagne, Nuns and Dim Sum!

That morning John and Karen went hunting for a new Nikon Lens for their camera. You see the J1 camera model is great (you have all the photos!) but the life cycle of their lens is rubbish. The Lens we bought in Bangalore was now broken by the time we reached Laos.

As the rain beat down on us and our Kagools we chose the Camera shop street in Monkok Electric City as our destination. Soaked and deflated, after 2 hours of fruitless searching, we gave up and hopped on the MTR to meet Judit and Richard.

Our first touristy thing to do was the Chi Lin Nunnery up in Diamond Hill (Thanks for the suggestion Eric). This large Buddhist complex was founded in the 1930s and contains nunnery, temple halls, Chinese gardens and a gift shop selling some of the best sweets ever made from Soybean!! (Yuk!)

The courtyards were amazing and use a simple design. As you can see here:

There was a ceremony taking place at this time and the chanting could be heard all around the temple giving it an atmospheric feeling.

Opposite the Nunnery were some gardens (Nan Lian Garden) complete with Golden Pagoda.

With the rain easing up we decided to head back to Mongkok to check out this little Dim Sum restaurant nearby, which our Airbnb host recommended. As we turned the corner the queue was huge – the reason being that not only was this an authentic local restaurant, but that it is probably one of the cheapest Michelin Star restaurants you can get.

We were handed a ticket with a number and told to wait. The boys grabbed some beers in the pub next door to help the wait pass quickly. After 15 minutes we were ready to get ordering. This was a challenge. As this was a ‘local shop’ we had to fill in a bingo-type card with numbers that matched a book of pictures.

The food was delicious, even if we were not 100% sure of what we ate and it was super cheap for lunch even if we did over order.

 

To work off our Dim Sum we spent the next few hours taking in the funky (Flower Market Street), the disturbing (Yuen Po Street Bird Garden) and the tacky and commercial (Ladies Market).

As we split up before meeting later Karen and I noticed yet another camera shop and with an impending sense of rejection we went inside the shop…. But this time we were in luck.

We managed to get a better lens than we wanted and at a price that was cheaper than back home by 30% (That was only verified later in a moment of OMG panic!).

With the lens bought we worked our way down Nathan Road towards the Chinese Visa Agency office. The moment of truth was upon us, would the PRC let us in!

They did and we can happily say that we are writing this blog post from Hangzhou in mainland China 🙂 (And published from Xian!!)

That evening we brought Judit and co to the Kowloon harbour to see the Symphony of Lights. For those not in the know, this is a 10 minute light and music show involving 45 buildings from the Victoria Harbour skyline and is the world’s largest permanent show of it’s kind. It runs every night and has done so for the last 10 years.

After this ended we headed to the Peninsula Hotel and it’s sky bar for a drink. Little didn’t we know how fancy this place was. A formal dress code was in force. While the girls were suitably dolled up the lack of trousers and shirt (ahem.. Richard) meant that it was a case of “Not tonight lads!”.

Not to fear. The view from the Sheraton Hotel next door was just as good and not as stuffy. We enjoyed some fizz while we took in the amazing skyline.

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