Hong Kong day 1

Hong Kong

With a new "first day" at work, approaching. It seemed a good idea to go and get to grips with the local transport system, something which we had read was very efficient and well organised.

Additionally we need to start to try and find an area to live in, and then an apartment.

Apps

It seems a little sad to start of my HK Travel page recommending an App that you can use on your Phone, but if you are visiting HK - please have a look at the app called Moovit, think Lemurs from Madagascar and you will not forget the app.

The MTR

Like most major cities the Metro/Underground/MTR is a quick, cheap and quite comprehensive way of moving around. Our chosen destination was the area called South Horizons, which meant getting the MRT from Admiralty.

This is a new line, and unfortunately required us to walk down 5 levels, which seemed a little not so user friendly. However once on the train, we sped along, passed under the impressive mountain which dominates Hong Kong island, and popped out near Ocean Park.

At this point 95% of the train got off, it is summer time, kids holidays - and a trip to a theme park, with aquatic animals is obviously high on the parents and children's agenda here in HK.

South Horizons

We spend a couple of hours looking around, in fact looking at 2 or 3 apartments almost off the South Island; One apartment looked quite inviting, but as we were on a fact finding mission not a "we must find a place to live" we will go and see some more (guess what we are doing tomorrow ?)

Return to Ikea

Yes, you read that correct. Along with looking for a new place to live, we also need to put some furniture into the place. Dora, who has never shopped at Ikea - was quite excited about this.

To get a different point of view, we decided to take the bus from South Horizons to Ikea in the main shopping area close to Causeway Bay. Normally travelling by Bus as a tourist (which is what we really are still), is very difficult - getting on (and off) the correct bus is not without some issues.

But (last and final plug for Moovit) with a nice App - it was a real breeze. We watched from the top of the bus, the bus stops tick by, and 500m to go we were given a warning that we needed to get off. It could not be more easy. Sadly I did try this app in Oman before we left, and despite the infusion of more buses - there was no data.

Ikea on a weekend

Sadly I can not recommend this experience, shopping has never been one of my favourite pastimes - the Ikea store is large, comprehensive - and was packed. There were people catching a sleep on a chair, bed, it looked like some "young people" were almost having a group date/private party in some of the show-case rooms.

Even Dora, commented this was not a good place to visit at the weekend, sadly I agreed with her saying "I have to work in the week alas"... Let us see if this is the end of the Ikea experience (I doubt it).

Returning home

Feeling braze we again took a bus - this time having to change buses. We did manage to get home, with little hassle - and rewarded ourselves with a rest, promising ourselves a small treat a little later on.

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Leaving Oman

Bye bye Sultanate of Oman

After a couple of "will they go" moment over the past few years, we finally took the plunge and decided to see what life had planned for us outside Oman.

We have had an amazing time in Oman, 25 years and 3 days in my case. It is still a good place to live, so do not hesitate in taking a position in the country.

We thank the people, our friends and the company I used to work for - for being kind, honest and loyal. We hope we have repaid that in our efforts in and out of work.

A new page in our lives now starts....

2017 UK Boxing Day

Boxing Day 2017

After a nice Christmas day, Dora and I went to see the sales in Middlesbrough.

We then headed to Redcar to have some sea air..... Brrrr very chilly.

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Skyline Cathederal and bye bye

Skyline

After a very busy previous day, we needed something a little more gentle. So we headed over to what is called The Skyline, built along an abandoned subway track, it is an urban garden, that moves through Chelsea, what appears to be a rapidly developing suburb of NYC.

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They have left the train tracks, in the midst of the concrete in places, and there are a few station platforms now grassed over. It is an excellent place to visit.

Around the footpath are some very varied architectural projects.

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Rockefeller

We now headed over to the Rockefeller centre, seeing the Filipino Embassy (nice place on 5th Street - closed of course as it was a public holiday in Manila !), bloody civil servants !!

Then we went to look inside the Cathedral which is opposite, as it was All Souls Day, there was an organ recital going on, and the place was quite busy.

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Time Square

We then walked towards Time Square, past the new stations, NBC, Fox, NASDAQ etc They were setting up for some outside broadcasts as it was the final of the very exciting World Series of baseball (Houston won in case you missed it).

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Juliet got those final last minute presents.... and more last second, ms etc

Gallery

There are some more photos including these in the gallery.

Liberty Wall Street and the Brooklyn Bridge

Statue of liberty

I think no trip to NY would be complete without going to see one of its most famous icons, the Statue of Liberty.

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Go Early

We were on the Subway a 0830, having collected a sandwich for our mid-morning breakfast on the go. Arriving at Battery Park around 0910. There was a slight queue for tickets. When I got to the window, we were surprised to be offered a ticket up to the podium (we had tried to book tickets on-line the night before with no success).

Security and more Security

As the Statue is such a symbol it seems reasonable that a degree of security is applied; This was fairly normal air-line security. With the exception the "trained professionals" and I do use this term ever so lightly, have no clue what they are doing !! When you see a bag on the scanner with something suspicious, do not shake the bag and re-scan it, in fact they did this 3 times before 4 of them looking at the screen thought it was ok. Take it out of the queue and physically examine it !!

Board the Ferry

We like 99% of the people went up-stairs, and sat down. Pointless... as hundreds of other people stand by the rails, meaning you can not see.

Museum

There is a good Museum in the base of the statue, however - yes - security. This time the same as before (without the shaking), and you have all rucksacks taken off you by the Park Service (nice easy to use system - top marks).

The Museum is very interesting, and explains just how the Statue was built and how it is repaired (shock news... it is wearing out in places).

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Real size face, build in the 1990's prior to restoration work.

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Podium

I thought we were getting to the base of the statue but the outside. So I started up the stairs, after 2 flights of stairs Dora was questioning my route finding, as she just saw a sign saying there were another 176 stairs ahead. Anyway we plodded up the stairs in quite good fashion, puffing quite a bit by the time we reached the exit point.

What a smashing view !!

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We were able to walk all around, and yet again look over the straights that had been totally new to us 3 weeks previously, but which we had seen countless times since.

Ellis Island

This is where all immigrants to the US used to be "processed" on arrival - it is a massive set of buildings, and has many historical displays. The only slight issue here is neither Juliet or myself has any connection to the US, so looking up where/when your ancestors arrived - meant nothing to us.

Wall Street

When the ferry docks, it is a short walk to Wall Street where you will find the famous Bull statue. You will not be able to see it, due to the 000's of tourists who are standing around it. But it is there.

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Brooklyn Bridge

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We plodded along Wall Street, and made our way to the Brooklyn Bridge. There is a join cycle path and pedestrian path there (sadly on the same day, there was an attack on the same type of facility just north of Battery Park - killing 8 people).

The bridge was packed with people, amazingly so; People who just stop, without checking is there is anyone fallowing them. I started pretending to be a local - grumbling loudly at people's inconsiderate nature.

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The walk in the sun was wonderful, yet cold. The wind howling over the narrows.

Halloween

I never remember this as being an important day when I grew up in the UK, but in the US this is a really major festival.

New York has one of the biggest Halloween carnivals, and we had already planned on seeing it. But we needed some food first. Just by our hotel was sort of a street food market.

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With 1 major Avenue (6th) closed for about 20 blocks, just getting there was a little more difficult. But on arriving in the vicinity of the carnival, the sheer number of people meant that Dora was unable to see (due to her lack of height).

We move locations, and did eventually manage to get quite close to the parades. The costumes, bands, floats, dancers and music was excellent.

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The police presence was very heavy, ensuring everyone was safe (especially after the earlier attack).

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Gallery

For the day photos.

For the Halloween photos.