Wednesday, November 7, 2007

First Day in Hong Kong With the Family

Woo hoo! Hong Kong, finally. All 14 members of the family were eagerly anticipating this scheduled vacation for months. Everyone was a bit concerned that I may not be able to join them because of my recent bout with Dengue. I spent three whole days prior to our departure doing absolutely nothing so that I can get my strength back. I took refuge in LP and let the maids pamper and spoil me like crazy :-) I felt like a donya for three days :-)

Anyway, our family flew via Cebu Pacific. This time, we had excellent service and hubby and I were seated on the exit row so leg room was great. We flew in two batches for safety reasons. Cebu Pacific offers three flights daily to Hong Kong,7:30am, 4:30p.m. and 7:30pm. The 7:30 am flight is more expensive but you get to be in HK earlier. Ergo, more time for shopping!

After safely landing in Hong Kong International Airport with none of us getting sick on the plane, we made our way to the immigration. The lines were very long and it took almost an hour to get through.

We booked months in advance in Imperial Hotel located along Nathan Road, excellent location. Their rooms are a bit small and cramped, specially the one shared by hubby and me with barely enough room (I mean that in the literal sense) for a queen-sized bed, dresser, small refrigerator, TV and a teeny tiny closet. If you're booking in Imperial Hotel, remember to always get a room with two single beds for they allow a bit more room to move, you can always put the beds together like what my brother did in their room. Imperial hotel is 3-star hotel with just the basic amenities but the rooms are clean, great shower pressure and the towels are replaced every single day. The rooms are old and not very fresh looking but the location is what you're paying for. There are subway stations (called MTR) located beside and in front of the hotel, commuting is very easy and convenient.

After checking in, we all immediately plowed through the streets of Nathan Road to get a bite to eat. We settled for KFC since it was quite near to the hotel and we were all starving.

After being fortified with chicken, we go our separate ways to roam the streets of Nathan Road to look for bargains. Tita Socky, hubby and I made a beeline to Causway Bay to shop at Ikea (Causway Bay MTR station, Parklane Exit). We all bought a lot of stuff that will surely guarantee an overload in our suitcases. We bought a slew of lamps, weighing scale and implements. I couldn't resist posing at one of the kitchen showcases there.

After Ikea, we made our way back to the hotel to drop off our purchases because they're quite heavy to lug around.

Back to the streets of Nathan Road to shop some more! Hubby was the first one to score with an all-weather bright yellow jacket with a separate gray jacket ideal for Asian winters (we don't have winters in Manila, but hubby travels a lot within Asia) bought on sale from Bossini and I bought a shirt as well.

The beauty of Hong Kong is that you can spend the whole day getting lost along its side streets and yet discover a lot of amazing things and bargains. I'm not much of a shopaholic, since I'm way to practical but I really love walking around Hong Kong, every year is a new experience. I don't think I'll ever get tired of it.

When it was time for the second group to arrive, we all met at the Spaghetti House located at the second floor of our hotel. We had lasagna, spaghetti with bacon and sausages, onion rings, pizza, ribs and a whole slew of Italian dishes. I particularly love the spaghetti with bacon and sausages.

No rest for the weary, even though we were all very tired from the walking and the waiting in line in immigration (for the second group), we decided to still walk around Nathan Road and show the sights to the first timers in the group. Tita Honey was particularly mesmerized with how bright the streets are. It practically looks like daytime! We all oohhed and ahhhhed and took pictures.

My brother and hubby did not waste time looking for some electronics. My brother Jake was looking for a video camera and had asked for hubby's opinion on some of the stuff that he's looking at. We found a store that offered a too good a deal for a video cam, the price was only HK$2,000 for a JVC, 20 gig video cam. Very cheap. When the price is too good to be true, remember, it probably is. We waited and waited for the stock, in the meantime, hubby was browsing through the still camera section and a particular once caught his eye. A 12.1 megapixel, Full HD Sony Cybershot. The price was reasonably haggled at HK$3,000 (from HK$3,500). We eventually bought the Cybershot. And this is the very first picture taken from the camera, my nephew Jay-jay. Isn't he cute?

My brother didn't get his video cam. Beware of this modus operandi...the clerks will give you a low price and will tell you that they're getting the stock or the stock will be made available in a few hours, in the meantime, they will ask you to pay or will try sell you a higher model. Don't give your money unless the stock is in your hands. Browse around first and compare prices. If one store is giving a much lower price from the other stores (in the video cam's case it was HK$1,800 lower than the rest), you're being cheated. Fortunately, the Cybershot that we bought was just the right price across other shops that we looked at.

My brother was sawi with his quest for the video cam. Tomorrow's another day, more excuse to browse the stores!


ericbau said...

The very first ever pic taken by our new Sony camera is very nice, wouldn't you agree?

Or, how about the pic of Jake and me smiling ear to ear, out to get our hands on some serious electronics?

But the story only gets more interesting, folks...

Stay tuned!

ericbau said...

Its just so frustrating to go to an IKEA store abroad knowing that there are a lot of items you want to buy, but couldn't because of the airline baggage weight restrictions? Freight or shipping only adds to the expense and wipes out the savings gained from the low prices.

Which brings me to the quesiton: when will a full-blown, true-blue IKEA store open in the Philippines? I can't wait!