The Peak is the local name for Victoria Peak. It’s also known as Mount Austin and is the highest point (552m) on Hong Kong Island. Tourists flock to it.
A popular way of going up is to use the funicular tram. First opened in 1888, it has been repeatedly renovated. The most recent refresh finished in Aug 2022.
At The Peak is a mall with many shops and the option of paying to go up to the Sky Terrace. My Hong Kong friend said I would get better views for free doing a particular walk.
I did the circular walk along Harlech Road and Lugard Road. This goes around The Peak. There are stunning panoramic views of Hong Kong Island, the mainland and other islands that make up Hong Kong.
I saw trees on The Peak similar to the ones I liked in Taiwan. I learnt that they India Rubber Trees.
They develop aerial roots that hang down from the branches. The aerial roots absorb water and nutrients from the air and, when they reach the ground, grow into the soil. After that, by absorbing further nutrients, the roots thicken and gradually become the prop roots actually supporting the entire tree. The wetter the environment, the larger number of aerial roots that occur. The Peak area often has high humidity, so the aerial roots of this impressive India Rubber Tree have grown luxuriantly. Indeed, ‘the aerial roots are so well developed that this fine tree is especially remembered by many visitors.
My Hong Kong friend had suggested doing a tram ride on Hong Kong Island. There are trams that run west to east and are the cheapest transport to take to get across the Island. They also double as tour buses.
I took a bus from The Peak to Kennedy Town. The first tram was going to Happy Valley only (about mid-point, going west to east). The tram going all the way to the east part was still thirty minutes away. So, I took the first tram.
The windows on the upper deck of the tram can come almost fully down. This acts as natural air-conditioning and lets you take photos too. The tram itself goes slowly and is definitely to be avoided if you’re travelling far and in a rush. The ride is of varying comfort based on the track surface. The trams don’t seem to have any shock absorption.
At Happy Valley, when I got off, there was another tram waiting to go all the way east to Shau Kei Wan. I took that and glacially got there.
Whilst on the tram, I saw a vegetarian restaurant. After the tram reached the terminus, I made my way to North Point to the restaurant: Three Virtues Vegetarian Restaurant. The restaurant again served big portions.
I wrote yesterday of how restaurants look to serve as many customers as possible in an evening. Hong Kong restaurants, because of some of the highest real estate prices in the world, specialise in customer turnover! I saw an example at this restaurant.
There was a table next to me that had been laid: it had chopsticks, plates, and bowls already on the tablecloth. I was puzzled when staff placed a circular wooden tabletop on top of this prepared table! They then placed a tablecloth on that bare tabletop and one person proceeded to very noisily place cutlery, plates, etc on it. She was practically throwing the plates on the table! The result was that there were now two laid tables, one on top of the other! The only effect this had, I thought, was to raise the table. Perhaps, they were expecting some especially tall diners? I was surprised that the new wooden tabletop could be placed on the already laid table without knocking anything over. They had done this before.
The reason for this all became apparent when diners vacated another adjacent table. The staff cleared their table and removed the tablecloth. Now what looked like a wooden table was, in fact, a wooden table with a circular wooden tabletop on top of it, much like they placed on the already laid table earlier. They removed that wooden tabletop, lifted the previously prepared tabletop, and placed it on top of the now bare table. The vacated table had been instantly laid! At busy times, I could see how this would save time. New customers would have to barely wait for their table to be prepared; it had already been prepared on top of another table!