Friday, January 31
The last day, and we will be at sea. For the first time I have a list with things to get done, mostly final things for my days before flying home.
After the unsuccessful attempts to change my flight home, I checked the CDC website and talked to is closed, not letting anyone in from China. The risk is quite low if you take reasonable measures and are careful with hand washing and watching where you go and avoiding crowds. I plan on checking in to my hotel and just relaxing with a few outings now and then before heading home. I will probably overdo Internet access and TV watching!
After my late lunch, I headed up to the Crow’s Nest at the front of the ship on the top level. It was wonderful to watch the departure of the ship making its way through the little islands on our way to several folks who confirmed Hong Kong is Level 1 warning rather than level 3 in China, and the border open sea. The red and green buoys seemed very narrow, but our ship threaded through them easily enough. We were in the bay of islands at low speed for about an hour, maybe longer (it got dark). Then it was time for a light dinner and an early night getting ready to disembark.
Saturday, February 1
I had my big bag out in the hall before midnight and headed to bed. I woke several times, probably worrying about oversleeping for my disembarking time. The cruise terminal has great views of the city, which are quite striking. It is a true concrete jungle! I was ready to go and exited the ship for the last time, entering the terminal where folks where I claimed my bag and made my way to the shuttle to the station where I got a taxi. We were warned about a lack of taxis at the cruise port, hence the shuttle bus. I think things must have slowed down around town, because there would have been taxis available there. There were plenty at the station, however. The first driver put my bag in the trunk, and then when he saw where I wanted to go, he took the bag out and motioned to another cab in line. I’m not sure what that was about, but the second guy was fine with it, and we zoomed off through the city streets and through the tunnel under the passage between the mainland and Hong Kong island, the center district.
I am on the 15th floor in a room somewhat larger than my cabin. I specifically asked if the room had windows, and she put me in a corner room with two walls of windows looking out at surrounding high-rise buildings, and a small park on one side. I rested a bit and got my second wind and went out to explore the neighborhood. Hong Kong is on some hilly territory, and the side street I went down had sporadic steps which required attention. There were some interesting little shops, a housing goods shop, bakeries, a place with bags of dried things that were a mystery, and a little place where I got lunch (spaghetti!). It is back to feeding myself now that the cruise is over! I found an ATM, the first I have seen since Singapore. I'm sure there were some, but my schedule and activities didn't have one when I might have used it. I found a small market and got some yogurt, diet Coke, and various other foodstuffs to provide breakfast and snacks. I walked back up the hill on the other side of the street where there was a slope rather than steps, and headed back to my room to settle in. The TV has an interesting combination of English and Chinese programming. There are some Chinese programs with Chinese subtitles, so I guess it was some combination of Mandarin and Cantonese. That was about it for today. I will do some exploring again tomorrow. I didn’t find a place to buy a mask. It seems about 1/2-3/4 of the folks are wearing one. I never realized how visual speech is and how I must do some lipreading by habit. It is harder to understand people, especially when they have an accent and are wearing a mask.
I am going to have a relaxed time here, doing a little sightseeing, but avoiding crowds and keeping it low key. Now I am really looking forward to a good nights sleep and no alarm in the morning!