November 30, 2000
We arrived in Hong Kong around 9:00pm with great excitement and many expectations. We took a taxi from the beautiful new Hong Kong airport to our hotel in Kowloon. Our hotel turned out to be the YMCA Salisbury. Because it is a YMCA, we were expecting the showers to be down the hall, but instead found it to be an exquisite hotel; comparable to a Hilton or Marriott. It was right off the harbor with a wonderful view.
We were to meet the rest of our travel group (named Hubei-4) here on Saturday, December 2 and have an orientation meeting with Les, our Holt representative. The first night after a bit of exploring around town, we soundly slept.
December 1, 2000
We took a GreyLine tour and visited many sections of Hong Kong, including a temple with a "wishing tree". People are supposed to tie oranges to a paper fortune and toss it into the tree. If it sticks in one of the limbs, you will have good luck (You're still out the $10HK for the orange though).
We found that Hong Kong is a city that doesn't sleep. After the tour, we bounced around until 1:00am or so that evening and still were able to shop at a GAP and other stores. The number of knockoffs and pirated goods were incredible too. Bargains can be had everywhere... especially with electronics and movies.
December 2, 2000
Finally we got to meet some other families at the Holt orientation meeting in the hotel. Our travel group consisted of 8 families from all over America. For the next couple of weeks, our group would be a family away from home and we would have to rely on each other for support.
The orientation process went very smoothly, although most of us were still very anxious about what lay ahead. All but one of the families would be first time parents and I could feel the excitement and anticipation fill the room as we talked about logistics.
After the 2 hour orientation with Les, we each took off to do more shopping and sightseeing and to prepare for the next day's trip to Wuhan, China. We visited more stores, took a walk around the Harbor, and took a trip up Victoria Peak.