The trip for the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2011 did not start on the right footing as I spent 1.5 hours sitting in the plane on the tarmac because all flights out of KL were grounded due to a malfunctioned radar system. Reader’s Digest and tidbits from the aircrew were my companions. The flight was maxed out and there was no way to switch seats (which I managed to snag on the return flight. Yay!). Small consolation was the food – Asian Vegetarian – and the cheap fare (~ RM750; got this during MAS’ sale in September/October)
From Hong Kong: Capati, basmati rice, eggplant curry and tofu curry. This looked so good that the passenger on the next aisle asked the aircrew for it only to be told that it was a pre-arranged special order/diet.
I stayed in Ibis North Point on KK’s recommendation and I booked so far in advance (i.e. September last year. LOL! Talk about advance planning!) that the rate was an average of HKD520/night. Likes and dislikes in bullet form.
• Location was excellent. Two stops from the race start at Tin Hau (need to minimize time shivering in the cold!) and three stops from Causeway Bay (CWB).
• The place was old and jaded but since I only needed a bed for the night, it made no difference.
• Room and bathroom were small (this is the same with any other Hong Kong hotels) but clean though I cannot say the same for the carpet and they did not provide bedroom slippers! Bah!
• Surprised that guests are required to purchase internet connection in “technologically advanced” city! 3 hours = HKD40. I tried using the PCCW Wi Fi (24 hours = HKD15) which I got with the MTR Airport Express but could not get a connection.
I relieved my love for Pret a Manger from days of yore in Cambridge and London. Plus I needed to eat “clean” before the run.
Not much bargains since the Christmas and year-end sales ended a month back – there were still selected items. E.g. Kate Spade and Furla bags at Sogo, Coach bags at Pacific Place, Giordano outlets, Zara at Pacific Place, Bonjour, Rockport at the bargain corner of Times Square. I was tempted to get a bag at either of those outlets and even the Lancel bag at the airport (hey it was only HKD3,100 for a nice soft leather, big red bag!) but held back because I was getting the Rolex from Uncle Wai Kok. Dang! I am regretting it big time now! I did manage to get an uber cheap Zara blouse for HKD69 and some knick-knacks from Bonjour. Next trip people, next trip people. Of course, the current low exchange rate helps…tremendously.
The more I travel and use the facilities abroad (Hong Kong and Singapore), the more I realize how crappy the ones we have here. Firing the bullet points (almost literally!).
• I used the California Fitness at Lee Theater Plaza CWB and this is probably one of the smallest one around (just one floor for everything – reception, weights and cardio). Yet they are equipped with the technologically advanced treadmills – touch screen Life Fitness! Man, I felt so backward! You can even change the screen view from a field track to outdoors or elevation etc.
• Individualized TV, Ipod socket etc for treadies.
• They provide cheapo stuff like tissue papers, cotton wool, cotton buds, body lotion etc in the changing area which the gym here dispensed with on the excuse of “hygiene”.
• FOC PCs with internet connection.