Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hong Kong Day 1- Kowloon Park

Prior to our trip we did some research as to what we should expect to see, how much we would spend and what kind of weather we would experience in each city. Lucky for us it was summertime and this means very hot and humid weather in every city we planned to visit, yay!

My good friend Amy, who has visited Hong Kong many times recommended that we purchase a UV coated umbrella to help shade us from the sun and for those rainy summer days in Hong Kong. We took her advice and ended up using those umbrellas on numerous occasions throughout our entire trip.

After a healthy breakfast we decided to take the train down to Tsim Sha Tsui for some sightseeing. Our first stop was Kowloon Park. 

Here is some historical background on the park;

In the 1830s, some westerners found that Victoria Harbour was an ideal anchorage place for vessels. At that time, the site of the later Kowloon Park was an important military base over-looking the Harbour. In 1861, the British occupied Kowloon peninsula and named the base as Whitfield Barracks.Kowloon Park was officially opened on 24 June 1970 by the then Governor, Sir David Trench. In 1989, the park was redeveloped at a cost of $300 million, which was funded by the then Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club. The park has a total area of 13.3 hectares, offering a full range of active and passive recreational facilities to the public. Due to topographical and other site constraints, the northern part of Kowloon Park is selected for active recreational area whereas the passive amenities area is mainly in the south. (source)

Little did we know that this very day was the last day of the Ramadan celebrations and the first day of Shawwal. As we walked the stairs to get into the park we passed the Kowloon Mosque & Islamic Centre which leads us to notice crowds of Muslim women picnicking under the trees all over the park. We did not think anything of it until Chris asked a group of women why they were all there together on the same day. They told us in broken English that it was the last day of Ramadan so they were all feasting together. Some of the women had traveled from Malaysia and Indonesia to be here with their friends.

Here are some photos from our first train ride and the park:

View of Hong Kong Island from our hotel window

Notice that they walk on the opposite side like the British

 These women were quite taken with my silver hair and asked to take some photos. They were some of the sweetest and nicest people we met that day.

The boys cooling off by the fountain. It was very hot and very humid (95F w/ 90% humidity)! 

 We stumbled across a cool little maze made out of hedges in the park

Before leaving the park we came across a large group of people celebrating with music, food, dancing and drinks by another large fountain in the park.

 This is a little video clip of the celebrations

The train station entrance and exit by the park

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