Docking at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal was a new experience for us. Usually, the Holland America Line ships dock at the Ocean Terminal which is right in town and very close to the Star Ferry Terminal. So, on day 1, with a spirit of adventure, we disembarked and explored the new cruise terminal created from the old airport. It was a disappointment. The building is large and mostly empty. Banners advertise restaurants and shops—but they are no longer in business! We did find a coffee shop adjacent to a huge catering hall. The hall was being used as a conference facility with a small business lunch served in a side room. The coffee shop, itself, was quiet, but at least, open! We ordered a pot of lemongrass tea and planned the rest of the day. Before boarding the shuttle to Ocean Terminal, we noticed “The Old Hangar,” an attractive looking bar with glass walls overlooking the dock, and made a mental note to sop by later for a drink.
Once at Ocean Terminal, we wanted to visit the Page One Bookstore in the Harbour City Mall. How terribly disappointing to find it no longer existed! Page One had once been a large chain in Hong Kong. Now, in only about a year, all those stores are gone! Interestingly, there is another bookstore chain, Causeway Bay Books, that has also shut down. Between Oct-Dec 2015, five Causeway Bay employees disappeared! It is now known they were kidnapped and detained in China. One escaped and has returned. Several others are known to be in Chinese custody, charged with selling “sensitive” political books. One (with a Swedish passport) is still missing. Page One began closing several of its Hong Kong stores in mid-2015. The Harbour City branch went into receivership in November, 2016. All its doors closed. The problem at Page One seems to be financial rather than “sensitive” content, but the up-shot is—TWO large booksellers in Hong Kong have been forced to close. What a pity.
When we returned to Kai Tak Terminal later that afternoon, we discovered “The Old Hanger” was no longer open. No “Happy Hour” in China! We boarded the ship. Around 10:30pm that evening, the MS Amsterdam left Kai Tak and cruised over to Ocean Terminal, arriving on the dock at 11:30pm. It was a lovely crossing, very much akin to an evening sightseeing harbor cruise.
We awoke to the hustle and bustle of a big mall right outside our stateroom. Who could ignore the siren call of the mall? Not me! We went shopping! We ate lunch at a great place called BLT Burger. We stopped at the CitySpace Grocery Market on the 3rd floor. And we headed back to the ship for an emergency lifeboat drill scheduled for 4:15pm. Passing by a Marks & Spencer Gourmet Shop, I spotted this bag of potato rings. It looks very much like the Funny-frisch Ringli Paprika treats from Germany. I developed an addiction to these when we lived in Germany. I cannot describe my excitement upon finding this!!!!!!! The paprika flavor may be missing, but the crispy and satisfying crunch is there. Life is so good!