Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Final Stroll in The Pearl of the Orient

Not much time left before we have to head out to the airport for the flight home but the flight's not until later in the day; so we actually have the morning and early part of the afternoon to run around.

Keeping it fairly local seemed like the way to go and both the Flower Market and the Fish Market were only a subway stop from our hotel. We hadn't been to either and they seemed like a good way to start our final hours. The Flower market was bright and beautiful - with exotic plants and colours galore. The Fish Market, on the other hand, was certainly a bit different than what I would expect to find at home it I was going to the fish market. This wasn't a series of stores to buy seafood. I suppose that, in a way, it was but these fish weren't destined for the dinner plate. They were displayed in order to catch your eye so that you'd take them home for your aquarium.

A relaxing coffee was next in line and we decided to live a little and sit back in the grand lobby of The Peninsula Hotel. There's no doubt we were paying for the location because they were easily among the most expensive cups of java that Boo or I have ever had. And they weren't anything special. The machine at my office isn't far off on the quality and Boo could easily have whipped up a tastier cup at home. If nothing else, we can say that we took in the atmosphere that is The Peninsula.

Our next stop was a plaza just off the waterfront to have a little picnic - and finish off a bottle of wine so that we'd have one less bottle to take through Customs.

1140. 2009 Bowen Estate Shiraz (Coonawarra - Australia)

Bowen Estate was one of our stops during our afternoon in the Coonawarra. It wasn't a winery that I'd known anything about but a couple of the tasting room staff we'd run across mentioned it as a small, good producer. Family owned and operated, Bowen Estate only produces around 10,000 cases a year and only offers a Chardonnay, Cab Sauv and Shiraz, with the bulk of production being the Cab. Considering that the Coonawarra is best known for its Cab, it was somewhat surprising that both Boo and I gravitated towards the Shiraz after our tasting at the winery.

The winery's vineyard is located on Coonawarra's famous red, terra rossa soil and it did feature more red fruit on the palate that the Barossa Shiraz we tend to see in Vancouver. That's not to say, however, that there still wasn't some big fruit and plenty of spice there. We might have opened it earlier than we would have normally. The winery suggested holding it for 5-7 years - but that wasn't really an option with Canada Customs looming. We needed to pick one of purchased wines to be sacrificed and this was one of the more economical of our purchases.

I'm not sure that picnicking is all that common in urban Hong Kong. We didn't have much luck in finding shops that sold the treats that we usually pick up back home. We also felt that we needed to be as circumspect as we could with the wine - hoping that no one of authority came by to question us. I'd be surprised if drinking a bottle in public is permitted - tourist or not. Luckily, we didn't run into a problem at all though.

The end of lunch left us with one last stop and that was the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The Museum was featuring a show of Fantastic Animals in the Arts of China and there were plenty of magical creatures, legends and historically interesting pieces on display. This crown was only one small piece and it featured dragons, pheasants, butterflies, carp and kingfisher. It seemed like a good half of the museum was closed as new shows were being set up but it was still an interesting way to spend our final hour or so.

Hard to believe to everything was coming to a close on the vacation and that all that was left was for the long flight home.

And to see how Canada Customs was going to treat us when we reported that we had a dozen bottles with us - eight more than we were technically allowed. Fingers crossed.

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