by Harry Potter
New York, New York
June 24, 2002
Upon reaching the boating area, we walked down the wooden plank walkway to where a number of boats were waiting for passengers. However there weren't many passengers waiting to go on the boats. We discussed the amount of time and cost and agreed on paying 40 HK$ for a private 1/2 hour boat ride. This boat probably could have held 20 people comfortably, but my friend and I had it all to ourselves. Our guide/driver did not speak English, but we were just taking the ride to get to see a bit of the Victoria Channel.
The channel contained boats of different sizes and ages and in some parts the waters were quite dirty. At times it was humorous to view the contrast of a small dinghy motoring by a large vessel. Several of the boats cruising around were similar to ours - covered over the main part of the boat, open at the bow and carrying tourists. It was a nice day and we were glad to have the boat to ourselves to relax and unwind and direct the driver toward areas and boats we wanted to see closer up.
One such "boat" that caught our attention was the Jumbo Floating Market and Restaurant and our driver let us off there to explore. This spectaculary ornate vessel seems like a carnival in the middle of the channel. This enormous monstrocity cost HK$ 32 million to build and holds 2300 people. The interior decor is meant to imitate that of the Imperial Palace of China. We climbed the carpeted stairs inside to view the restaurant which had an impressive assortment of over 60 different types of seafood including shrimp, lobster, crab, grouper, shark as well as duck, chicken, spare ribs and other meat and poultry in addition to many noodle and vegetarian dishes and desserts. There is also a wine shop with selections from countries across the continents and a smaller selection of liquors. The souvenir shop did not have anything worthy of much attention.
After our tourist stop, we reentered our private boat and enjoyed the short trip back to shore. Hiring the boat to take us into the channel was a nice diversion on this warm pleasant day.
From journal Hong Kong Instant