We boarded our Air Canada flight AC15, direct non stop to Hong Kong out of Toronto and arrived into Hong Kong 15 1/2 hours later. The first thing I noticed on coming into the Chek Lap Kok airport was the huge Buddha on Lantau Island. It was clearly visible from the air. The next thing I noticed was how absolutely huge the airport was. By 2006 a new Disney Park near the island's eastern tip will be opened and I can only imagine how impressive that will be. Before you knew it, we were on our way to our coach and headed towards our hotel, the Langham Place Hotel in Mongkok. This hotel just opened up this summer and was situated in the most heavily populated area of Hong Kong. I was told 6800 people per square kilometer.
If you have never been to Hong Kong (fragrant harbour) before, you are definitely in for a bit of culture shock.but once you get over it, you are smitten. There is nothing you cannot get here and believe me the markets are lively, crowded and packed with bargains. OK, on with the trip..
We arrived at our rooms just in time to get settled in and changed because we were going to the 2004 ASTA World Travel Congress reception and Opening Gala hosted by the Hong Kong Tourist Board. The Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre was incredible. A beautiful building situated right on the water with a view of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon just across from it.
Our dinner was a long affair, Chinese style of course. After opening remarks, we tucked into 9 different courses and by then we were all very full and tired. After dinner there was a colourful presentation of dance and sound then the Dragon came out to much pounding of drums..we were all given red lanterns and little silk boxes of moon cake to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Lantern Celebration. It did not take that long to get to sleep!
Next morning, after a delicious breakfast of either western or eastern food we headed back to the HKCEC for general sessions and the trade show. This was another super experience because not only could you sit in on various speakers but the trade show was full of suppliers from all over the world - one stop shopping! We enjoyed a wonderful sunset harbour cruise then back to the hotel for dinner and a chance to chat.
The next day included more sessions and more trade show, but I did find time to sneak out and take a few photographs. Do you see the picture of the leaves? I really wanted to find the flower on that tree and did..you will see it a bit later on. We had free time in the afternoon so took a ferry across to Kowloon (9 dragons), did major walking around and ended up having Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula Hotel (some of our group and the hotel lobby) then walked back to the hotel snapping pictures along the way.