On Thursday, we woke up at 6:30 AM as usual - still not fully adjusted to HK time! However, we made good use of the time by catching up on a couple days' worth of the travel blog and uploading photos to Flickr. In addition, Gwen got super creative in securing an upgrade to business class for our return flight (woo hoo!). To make a long story short, we received an offer to upgrade to business class for what struck us as a reasonable increase in fare. However, for various reasons, we were unable either to pay the fare increase online with our credit card or make an international call from either our cell phones or hotel room to secure the upgrade via phone. Ultimately, Gwen was able to call our credit card customer service via Google Talk, and they were able to push the transaction through. It'll be nice having business class for the 14 hour leg from Dubai to DC!
we headed out to dim sum at Maxim's Palace at the Hong Kong city hall,
which was highly recommended to Todd by a partner at his firm. After
walking around the block a bit, we finally located city hall and Maxim's
Palace (which is one of a handful of restaurants in city hall, another
of which confusingly is called Maxim's Cafe).
Maxim's Palace is a large,
beautifully appointed ballroom / banquet hall. Though it appeared
totally packed, we were seated in just a few minutes and quickly were
brought piping hot tea. Shortly after that, we had chosen almost too
many items to eat from the numerous carts that came by frequently.
Items we tried included char siu bao (three different kinds), bai tan
gao, dan tat, sweet bean soup, shu mai, and zhong zi, all of which were
super. Also great were the carts themselves, which were state of the
art. Each cart listed each item for sale in English and Chinese and
provided the price of each item, and some carts even included screens
showing videos of the items! Overall, this restaurant was a huge hit
with us -- we were stuffed until 9pm.
Afterwards, we visited a series of stores in Mong Kok that qualified as
... interesting, but unfortunately some of them were not as cool as we
had hoped. We did get some good souvenirs out of the excursion,
however. We checked out a $12 dollar store (where we picked up a couple
cut strawberry-shaped dishes), a place called Sim City contained floor
after floor of electronics items (where we picked up a couple lighting
cables that appear not to work due to Apple's greediness), a shopping
mall, and an outdoor market that we think was the Ladies Market (which
seemed quite a bit larger than Temple Street). We declined to buy
anything at the Ladies Market, though many vendors were quick to drop
their asking prices after the slightest bit of haggling, because we just
weren't sure whether was could place any faith in the items there. If
you buy a watch, for example, how can you know if it will work two weeks
After wandering around for hours and racking up 14,000 steps on Gwen's
FitBit, we decided to give our sore feet a rest at a noodle place in
the Langham Place mall, where we grabbed a quick late dinner.
As our last act for the day, we decided to buy Gwen a dress to wear for
the next day's adventures. Sadly, this task proved much harder than
expected! We had read a blog post claiming that Mong Kok has a giant
and excellent Esprit outlet. However, the outlet was quite challenging
to locate, as it is underground and only marked with fairly modest on
the street (modest signage really doesn't cut it in Mong Kok, where
there are so many lights at night that it feels like day on most
streets). After many trips around the block, we did eventually find the
outlet, but found it very underwhelming and would not recommend that
others make the trip. We decided to go back to the real Esprit just a
few blocks away, buy Gwen's dress at a fairly reasonable non-outlet
price, and call it a day.