December 28th 2011 - January 4th 2012, Hong Kong & Guangzhou ...

As Claudia is studying in Guangzhou, China, since August 2011, we already planned a trip over New Years Eve in May 2011. Though we wanted to get our visas for China in December in Frankfurt, we weren't able to get them as the extremely unfriendly Chinese guy there told us, that express visas (i. e. same day) were not possible anymore, so it would have been another two 160km drives!. Back home we found out that according to their website it's still possible (?!?).

We just didn't have the time anymore before xmas with all the business trips, so we decided that Claudia should come to Hong Kong and we meet there ... but things turned out different as you see later ...

Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). After the flight we arrived in HK and took the bus to the hotel ... we helped a woman there to find her way ... guess where she was from? Melbourne ... the world is a small place ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). After unpacking we had our first dinner (of three) at our favourite restaurant Cheung Kee in Wanchai ... here an impression ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and us having our favourite dish "prawns in chili sauce on sizzling plate" !!!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Next day we made our way through Central to Kowloon to pick Claudia up at the train station in Hung Hom. Picture captured close to the original place of the star ferry.
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Over decades, Hong Kong is changing rapidly ... here the IFC and parts of the newly reclaimed land between Central and Wanchai (city hall on the left) ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... which you can see here. Apparently a new street link between Central and Causeway Bay will be built here ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We took the Star Ferry across the harbour ... btw the weather was really good for a city trip ... around 18-20 degrees, no rain, just a lot of smog (also as usual ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Finally Claudia arrived from Guangzhou with a big bag we had to take home with us ... long time no see after 4 months! At the Hung Hom station we found a visa service, that could provide us with a visa in one day ... for the amount of 1.450 HKD per person (approx. 145 Euros)! So we decided to apply the next day ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We brought her to the hotel and then took the bus to Aberdeen ... on our way we saw this tram ... photo especially for our Swiss friends Eveline and Daniel!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Hong Kong has changed a lot; especially we found out, that negotiating has diminished ... the Sampan "women" just said "200 dollars", take it or leave it ... ts ts ts ... so - to protest - we took the ferry to Lamma Island, where ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... we had an alright dinner at a local seafood place ... Funny, we've been there last time in 2009, food was great ... this time just "alright" ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Of course the xmas decorations are still there ... here some examples from Central ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and us at Delaneys with drinks and onion rings ... in the US this wouldn't be possible ... Claudia and alcohol, but not yet 21 years old ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Next morning we handed over our passports for the China visas ... and saw this scene in Kowloon ... before we headed towards Sham Shui Po ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... here Kaercher is in action ... who doubted it?
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Sham Shui Po as usual, but prices and offers aren't anymore what they used to be ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). As with mobile phones in the 90s, these days EVERYONE in Hong Kong types and swipes on their smart phones or ipads in public ... this photo shows, how little kids are trained from the very beginning ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Everything is bigger there ... even the Ferrero Rocher xmas tree ... made of the pralines ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Latest in fashion are shoes like this ... we plan to buy two middle-sized teddy-bears back home and cut off their heads ... we just haven't decided on which of the girls shoes we glue it on ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Talking about ipad ... Cynthia could take photos with it even without glasses ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and the tram station at Admiralty ... Claudia there ... just amazing that hype in HK, even the Apple Store was crowded ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Next day some walking around Sheung Wan / Western Market ... with us together ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and after the botanical gardens we took a taxi up to the Peak (long queues at the cable car) ... where we saw the latest in dog shoe fashion ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). The obligatory photo on the Peak ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and a view of Hong Kong ... taken with a wide angle lens ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). New Years Eve Claudia was with her friends and we had booked a table at the Intercontinental ... food and party was really great ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... what we cannot say about the fireworks ... just 10 minutes and then over ... everybody waited for the next eruptions, but nothing. Or to quote Cynthia: the fireworks in Weinheim last longer!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here the "shiny" couple just after midnight ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). After we brought back Claudia to the train on the 1st, we made a visit to Discovery Bay, where we lived in the 90s ... actually overrun now ... here a guy with a hangover problem ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). What was new in Discobay was this German restaurant / pub "Berliner" ... with German beer on tap and a lot of German food ...

Guangzhou

Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Well we got our visas for China on Friday, 30th, so on 2nd January we took the first train @ 7:25 to Guangzhou ... where we were greeted by Claudia ... she didn't even get rid of us for 24 hours!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Funny warning signs we saw first thing in the underground on our way to the ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... Financial (new) district ... where we could watch these people hanging on ropes and cleaning the facade ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Another building there with an elevator built-in that pile ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Also a new building, the opera ... reminded us a little bit of the stealth bombers ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... even performances from Argentina there ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and the Chinese version of the "Thinker" ... ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). This guy was very careful in tidying up his water hose ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and more street scenes there ... phoning and writing in his notebook at the same time ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). How to stabilise huge advertisements the Chinese way ... we guess it was rice bags ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). These - quite aggressivly - begging monks we saw later again ... smoking ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). They love their huge electronic screens with the cartoons ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). On the way back to the underground we found this "slightly different" palm tree amongst the "normal" ones ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and - synchronised - two guys ... see the posture, socks and shoes ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Back in the underground this sign looked like Macces ... "Star of the month" and "Outstanding conductor of the month" ... times are changing ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). This is around where Claudia lives ... a lot of fresh fruit markets ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Bicycles and bikes are very well used ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... incl. transport of your loved ones ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Close to her home they sell the fruit directly out of the van ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and chickens you get VERY fresh ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... we assume that tumble dryers are NOT that common ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). First we had a coffee in Claudia's favourite coffee shop ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... here an impression of it inside ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and finally we arrived at her building ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... where we took the elevator to her floor ... lucky, that it was not "fire alarm time" ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). This is the view from her appartment ... overlooking the river ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Next stop was a dumpling place nearby ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... where we had a quick lunch ... one bowl was around 40 Euro cents ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and if you pay and the restaurant gives you change ... that's where it was taken out of ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). On our way to Claudia's uni we saw many of those ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and us in front of a gate that is always closed, because - according to the saga - a professor dies everytime this gate is opened ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... here the entrance of the uni ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and Claudia's college where she spends most of her time (when she's not on holiday) ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Claudia in front of her unit building ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We then took the boat to the other side of the river ... and the stressful day hit us ... Claudia took a photo of Thomas falling asleep ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... a quick stop at the electronics markets ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and off to a starbucks ... with Cynthia in the picture desperately waiting for the ONE toilet being available ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We also visited the Chen Clan Ancestral temple ... a famous family there, who built their own temple ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and someone in the souvenir shop there ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). At night we went to Claudia's favourite restaurant around the corner ... they call it "banana palace" ... real name unknown to us ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... really authentic, food was good, unfortunately no wine for Cynthia but Tsingtao beer for Thomas (!) ... Nick, her friend from Frankfurt was there too ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). After dinner, we went to the Guangzhou tower, where we could take this night photo across the river ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Claudia and Cynthia were "men" enough to go out on the glass floor, several hundred metres above the ground ... nice picture taken with Claudia's camera ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and here the tower at night. Due to the construction (and a lot of light inside) Thomas could not take any good photos from above ... Well we took the last train back home (21:32) and arrived back at the hotel in Hong Kong at around midnight!


We had a quiet last day in HK and flew back safely on the 4th of January. It was good to see where Claudia lives, to experience Guangzhou (so different to HK) and - of course to be in Hong Kong again!