July 10, 2012
Beijing - Hong Kong
JW Marriott Beijing - Harbour Grand Kowloon
My final day in Beijing began with another outstanding breakfast buffet before taking the airport express train to the airport.
Weather was once again hot, humid and the air was grey as usual. The 50 minute trip cost about $4.00 so it's definitely a bargain as are most things in Beijing as the government wanted Beijing to be "an affordable" city to visit because most people might only have the opportunity to visit once in their lifetimes. A subway ride costs just 30 cents, and most tourist activities are either free or very cheap. Very unlike most capitol cities around the world where prices are usually hyper inflated.
The3 hour flight to Hong Kong was pretty non-descript. Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities in the world and very easy to navigate. Beginning with the Airport Express train that takes you to the center of the city in just 24 minutes where you are met by a hotel shuttle bus, things are easy in "Asia's world city".
Check in to the Harbour Grand Kowloon was seamless and I was met by the director of Group Sales who was intrigued by me for some reason... so after telling her that I bring groups to Hong Kong on occasion, she offered to meet me at breakfast tomorrow morning to give me her sales pitch and a hotel tour... kind of like a timeshare presentation with a nice free breakfast buffet as the prize.
That afternoon was spent trying to catch some late afternoon rays on the rooftop pool... which as you can see by the pictures below is one of the coolest pools I've ever swam in.
My goal this evening was to play basketball and fulfill one of the missions of my trip, and give reason for bringing my size 14 Kobe's around the world with me. From my past trips I knew there were public courts in Central that always seemed to be bustling. Tonight was no exception.
I arrived at the Southorn Playground around 8pm to 90 degree weather with 90 % humidity and four full courts of hoops action. With a mixture of locals and foreigners there were ability levels running the gamut... and for my first 3 on 3 game I had two locals who were absolutely horrendous and we lost 11-5. After sitting out for about 15 minutes while two other games finished, I picked up a Brit and a Frenchman and we proceded to win four straight games. After about two hours my feet were burning, knees aching and I don't think I had ever sweated so much, but there's nothing like playground basketball. Just like the movie "Heaven is a playground" the cast of characters and the storylines are constantly changing...however I hope the playground in heaven doesn't leave me sweating so much that I start thinking that I took the elevator down instead of up before I got to the pearly gates.