Opening the hotel room curtains, I was greeted with a cloudy sky. I made sure to take my umbrella. The plan for day 7 of the film shoot was to visit several areas on the southern portion of Hong Kong Island.
I booked an Uber ride and told the young driver to head to Aberdeen. Two minutes into the ride, I regretted picking a car as my mode of transportation since traffic that morning was BAD. But, my feeling of regret quickly disappeared since the driver was talkative and entertaining. The hour-long drive went by quickly as the driver intrigued me with his story of luck and major financial success at the Baccarat table in a Macau casino.
I was dropped off at Ap Lei Chau Park where I began my day of filming. The park is a good spot to capture scenes of the adjacent Aberdeen West Typhoon Shelter. I hopped on the ferry that criss-crosses the typhoon shelter and disembarked at the Aberdeen Promenade.
I was immediately approached by an elderly lady who offered to take me on a Sampan ride around the typhoon shelters. After haggling for the price that I was willing to pay, I boarded the Sampan, commanded by the elderly woman’s husband / brother / relative. I was the only customer.
During the next 30 minutes, I was taken on a comprehensive tour around Aberdeen’s two typhoon shelters. The waters were filled with an array of various boats, from traditional Chinese junks to fancy yachts. The hundreds of boats found in the typhoon shelters form the Aberdeen floating village, a community of thousands of people who live on the boats, mostly the Tanka who are also known as ‘The Boat People’.
The Sampan tour also passes by the famous Jumbo Kingdom Restaurant, a world-renowned landmark, featured in films and visited by millions. The front of the floating restaurant is impressive. The rear, not so much. Nevertheless, it is a major tourist attraction. I cannot attest to the quality of the food since I did not dine there.
I really enjoyed the boat ride. It’s a must thing to do when in Hong Kong. I also liked the fact that Aberdeen felt like an authentic neighborhood in Hong Kong, with locals going by there normal business. It wasn’t nearly as hectic as Kowloon or the northern part of Hong Kong and did feel much less touristy. The traditional looking floating village with the backdrop of tall and thin residential skyscrapers made for a great viewing experience.
My next destination was Ocean Park, a famous theme park, the largest in Asia and one of the most visited in the world. It is also located in the southern district of Hong Kong, about 10 minutes drive east from Aberdeen. Happily, the park gave me access to capture and include some of its highlights in the travel video.
The park was celebrating its 40th year of operation and seemed to be very popular with Chinese mainlanders.
I spent the next several hours doing my best to capture the ambience of the theme park. The rain proved to be a small nuisance, easily overcome using my umbrella. The fresh breeze was a bonus. My personal highlights were seeing the Giant Panda and Red Panda in person as well as riding the cable car while taking in the beautiful vistas of the area as well as the theme park.
There is A LOT to see and do at Ocean Park. I could have easily spent a full day wandering around and experiencing all the rides and shows available. However, my time was limited. Once I have obtained enough footage that provided the viewer with a taste of the theme park, I bid Ocean Park farewell.
My next destination was a 15-minute taxi ride away, Stanley Village. While traveling on the windy road, the weather took a turn for the worse and rain started to pour down heavily. I was quite concerned that I would not be able to film once I got there. The taxi dropped me off at Stanley Market, a popular open style mall. It took another 20 minutes for the rain to subside as I breathed a sigh of relief
Located in South East Hong Kong Island, this popular expat spot has a European flair to it, a famous promenade, good restaurants and a general ‘chill’ vibe to it. I got there just before sunset.
By far, the most famous feat of Stanley is Murray House, an impressive Victorian era style building originally located in the Central district of Hong Kong Island. What’s more impressive is the fact that the entire building was dismantled and re-assembled in Stanley, in a successful effort to preserve this landmark building. Today it is occupied by posh stores and restaurants and provides a great viewpoint of the area (as well as a popular selfie background).
An hour or so into my visit, the rain returned and darkness had fallen. I was conflicted as to where I wanted to eat supper and after much internal debate, decided to head back to Causeway Bay for a meal and some evening / night filming.
Causeway Bay proved to be just as busy during the evening as it was during the day. People crowded the streets, the rain wet surface reflecting a plethora of colors from the countless signs. Restaurants and malls were full of activity, buses and Ding Dings were packed. Even as evening turned into night, the city was alive and awash with activity.
The long day had taken its toll and I was exhausted. I took an Uber to the hotel, resisting the urge to fall asleep in the car. This time, the driver was not as chatty which made it much more difficult to stay awake. Once I got to my room, I just crashed on the bed and fell asleep.