At 12 noon, on 18th of December, the clouds were ominous and overcast. With our heavy luggage, we boarded the Maxi Cab. It was headed for Changi International Airport. After checking in at the Singapore Airlines Row, we changed our currency to Hong Kong dollars. We then went to Spinelli Coffee for a drink before boarding... after the stringent security check at the boarding gate we then boarded the plane of flight SQ 892.
On the plane, the service was good. The stewardesses and the stewards served us good a good dinner and there were even games and movies available on the plane.
After 3 hours and 20 minutes, we landed in Hong Kong. After the immigration clearance, we collected our luggage and got on to a Hong Kong red taxi which brought us to our accommodation for the next 4 nights, BP international House.
We relaxed for a while before going to Temple Street. We did some shopping and we bought some gifts for our family and friends. After shopping we had supper at a road side stall, which sold excellent wanton noodles and beef brisket noodles.
We went back to our hotel for debrief and briefing for the next day’s activities. Finally we came to the end of the first day.
Lesson Learnt: Scouts must be disciplined and considerate. For example, some of us laughed out too loudly and played roughly which irritated other people, not allowing them to enjoy their flight.
At 8 in the morning, we reported in the lobby, we had breakfast at McDonalds. With full stomaches, we walked to the historical Clock Tower, which was near Avenue of Stars.
After that we went to Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station and took the MTR and KCR to Sha Tin, where the Ronald McDonald House was. We were going to be charity workers for the day! It was rather interesting, so to speak. En route, we went to Snoopy World which was at a huge shopping centre called New Town Plaza. The place was full of little kids. It felt good to be back to our childish selves once again, without getting reprimanded of course. The air was really dry, and as we all got static charges from the playground. Our next stop would have to be the Ronald McDonald House.
Not knowing how to get there, we took a bus and walked around asking for directions along the way. With the help of the gracious citizens of Hong Kong, we managed to find our way to Ronald McDonald House. We pictured it to be a huge McDonald Restaurant. To our “disappointment”, it was a really huge house. We did service such as cleaning, washing the place and decorating it to bring the festive spirit of Christmas. Once again, our imagination went wild and we thought it would be boring. Who would’ve thought doing such simple chores could bring such happiness?
After that, the staff of the house, told us that Sha Tin was actually just a short walk away. We had actually traveled around a hill and park. Anyway, we took a short walk to the Sha Tin MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui station and had a very experiential dinner at Koor-I-Noor. The food there was extremely spicy but it was good. It had a very unique Pakistani flavour.
After that we walked back to our hotel, had a debrief and went to sleep.
Lessons Learnt: Do your best when doing work. While we have fun doing work, we should not divert attention to playing. Finish work quick and efficient and we don’t have to do it a second time. Also, since we’re doing a service… we must ensure that we leave the people we serve a pleasant memory to our good work, not otherwise.
At 8.30 in the morning, we went to McDonald’s as usual and had breakfast but this time we went to the one in Kowloon Park. They do not serve hash browns and hotcakes and the crew was fairly rude. We are not happy about it. After that we went to Jordan MTR Station where we headed Disneyland Resort MTR Station. It was a REALLY long ride! We then transferred to the DisneyLine MTR Line.
The DisneyLine train had loads of Mickey Mouse symbols, such as the on the left. When we reached Disneyland, we noticed the extremely long queues, but luckily for us, we had already bought the tickets online in which the queue for it was, well, zero people. Thank you, Internet!
Hong Kong Disneyland is divided into 4 sections. Main Street is a place full of shops. Shop here if you’re looking for souvenirs. Tomorrow Land, explore the wonders of space age in this section. It consists of several unique rides, such as Space Mountain and Astro Blaster. Shaun and Aaron managed to ride Space Mountain 6 times! Fantasy Land, can’t say much here. But it has a really huge restaurant and a carousel. It was so royal! I felt like a king! Adventure Land, makes you feel wild. It’s a jungle out there! I mean in there. The really cool ride was the Jungle Cruiser. The special effects were really cool! The pyrotechnics and waterworks really captivated us!
After our own free time, we gathered and watched the Christmas tree light-up and the amazing fireworks display. After that, we went back to the hotel for debrief. We had dinner at a roadside restaurant opposite our hotel before going to bed.
Lesson Learnt: The importance of sticking together is being stressed here. We are in a foreign country, we do not speak their tongue. Therefore, we need to stick together so that we can watch out for one another.
This morning, we were awakened by morning call, as usual. Once again, we got changed in a very sleepy state; we took an MTR from Jordan station to Central and walked to the Hong Kong Convention Centre.
There we saw, the handing over ceremony photo exhibition. Walking out of the Hong Kong Convection Centre, the cool breeze and the Golden Bauhinia greeted us. By its side was a plate explaining the significance of Golden Bauhinia. Treading along a cold path, with our heating packs in our pockets, we arrived at a really tall monument, Hong Kong Return to China Memorial Tower. We took a lot of pictures, like the Golden Bauhinia, a huge plate once again explained its significance and the fact that it could emit light.
A quick time check told us we were late for Ocean Park. We returned to the bus-stop and took a bus to Ocean Park. We were on the bus for a long time, when we finally reached Ocean Park! We split into two groups, the first group consisting Aaron and Shaun already ran off to try the rides, such as The Abyss, The Dragon, Mine Train, the Eagle and the Crazy Galleon.
The other group went to take the Raging River, Mine Train and the Space Wheel. We took The Dragon together. As a group, we took the cable car to the lower part of Ocean Park, where the kiddy rides were located.
We took a bus back to the shopping centre. We took the MTR once more. We then walked to the Pier 9. A big surprise then hit us! Pier 9 was closed! We had to run to the other side of the jetty and go to the Queen’s Pier. We ran like there was no tomorrow! But in the end we were 5 minutes late for the Duk Ling ride. In the end, missing our Chinese Tea Appreciation lesson as well. What a pity! We were all looking forward to learning how appreciate tea! Disappointed, we decided to set off for lunch + dinner = dunch? We ate our “dunch” at an Egyptian Café known as Al Habibi. Can you believe it? Egyptian food in Hong Kong! It wasn’t exactly fantastic but it was really filling.
Another long walk brought us back to the Avenue of Stars where we got to witness the Symphony of Stars, a beautiful laser display put up by the major buildings of Hong Kong. A truly spectacular sight! After which we returned to BP International House ,had our debrief, and that marked the end of our day.
Lesson Learnt: Once again, importance of sticking together is stressed.
This morning’s morning call was a little more unique. We accidentally knocked over the telephone, sending a staff member of the hotel to run up to our room, knocking on our door, and shouting “Morning call! Morning Call! Sir!” It was stretched to the extent that he entered our room and shook Shaun just to wake him up. We all had a good laugh about it after that.
We set out early in the morning to have our Tai Chi lesson. Tai Chi was really interesting! We had to be relaxed to do it. After Tai Chi, we went to a roadside restaurant at Mongkok for our breakfast. However, Miss Noordiana and Shaun had to go for McDonald’s meal as it was both vegetarian and halal. Then we went back to the hotel to get changed into our Scout uniforms.
We went to visit the Hong Kong Scout Association. When we reached the 11th floor of the hotel, a grand display of badges, uniforms and posters awaited us. We took a good look at each of the displays to understand more about the history of Hong Kong Scouting. What really dampened the spirits was that the Hong Kong Scouts could not come meet us. So we took a picture with the Executive.
Since we had so much time left, we went to find the legendary fermented beancurd. It was really smelly! But some found it really enticing! It was really delicious! We were proud to say that we went to Hong Kong and ate the smelly tofu there! We also bought some Wife’s Biscuits.
After that, we returned to the hotel. After hailing a taxi, it took us to the airport. We were quite early, so we could explore the airport. There was a variety of shops at the airport. We boarded the plane and headed back to Singapore. On the plane, we spent another good 3 hours on the flight back. When we reached Singapore, we all felt like exclaiming,” Nothing’s as good as home!”
Lessons Learnt: Hong Kong has a wonderful history of Scouting and of course, and while we had a great time in Hong Kong, nothing beats the sweet feeling of being home in Singapore!
(originally posted on www.soaringeagles.org by Hathi)