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HK questions for Cicerone et al

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If these questions have already been answered on the site I apologize, but I'm traveling - a link would be fine. I'll be in Hong Kong the beginning of November, resting up and regrouping between east Asia and south Asia and I have some specific needs:

1. A recommendation for somewhere to get my hair cut and colored. At home I have it hennaed, but I'll settle for what I can get on the road.

2. Somewhere to buy English-language guidebooks - preferably Lonely Planet Nepal and South India. Or at least Nepal - I can probably get the Indian books cheaper in Thamel.

3. A recommendation for someone to alter my black travel pants. I've lost weight and they are really too big, but I don't want to go too far in the other direction!

Thanks for any suggestions.

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    Sorry not to be of much help here: I've never had my hair done in Hong Kong, so can't help in that regard. There is a moderately large English-language bookstore in the Pacific Place mall (MTR: Admiralty), but it's a general-purpose bookstore with a travel section, not a travel bookstore.

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    The dymocks bookstore in the iFC is great and has an excellent selection of travel books. As does Page One in times square (causeway bay)

    For hair, I would recommend the aveda hair salon as they seem to have a very diverse clientele not just for people with asian hair. I have been to the one on the Kowloon side on Canton Street.

    There is a good tailor in Central. Her little shop is above al's Diner on d'anguilar street. Her name is Margaret and her contact no. 2525 5596

    Good luck!

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    Thursdaysd:

    1. Haircut - Without knowing what you want to pay, these reccos may or may not appeal. Any good hotel salon will be able to cut and most likely colour your hair, esp if you mean just cover gray as opposed to doing something like blonde highlights. In years past I have used both the Mandarin Hotel or the Island Shangri-La and thought they were fine. If you want highlights, then I would recco the place I go to:

    Tala’s
    4 Shelly Street
    Central/SOHO
    Tel: 2521-9333
    http://www.talashairandbeautycentre.com/
    Stylist: Renee

    The salon is next to the mid-level escalator, near to the Life Café. Renee is quite good, IMO. But not cheap, at least compared to more down-market places in town. You can see prices on their website. There is another Tala’s in Sai Kung if you want to head out there for the day which could be fun and could be combined with something like a visit to the Chi Lin Nunnery if you don’t want to go into the Sai Kung countryside. The colourist I would go to there is Mojdeh who is the owner.

    You might also try Toni & Guy, who are on the expensive side, but have a training school where you can apparently get cut-rate cuts, see http://www.toniandguy.com.hk/

    Another thought for a more local experience (and cost) would be the Cut and Sharp Salon in Wan Chai, see:

    Cut & Sharp Salon
    20 Hennessey Road
    Wan Chai
    Tel: 2527-4499

    This is about 2-3 blocks from the Admiralty MTR stop. I used to get my hair cut there, but the stylist left, so I don’t have any current reccos for that place, but you can just call or walk in. I never had my hair highlighted there. I paid about US$20 for a haircut there.

    2. Books are quite expensive here, so if you can hold off on the even the travel guides until you get to India, you may be better off. The bookstores mentioned above plus some other reccos are:

    Kelly and Walsh – Pacific Place Mall and other locations, they are also associated with the Hong Kong Book Centre on Des Voeux Road and Swindon Books on Canton Road in TST, both of which have a very large selection of books. But Kelly and Walsh’s travel section is pretty good. See http://www.swindonbooks.com/AboutUs.asp

    Dymocks – all over Hong Kong, see http://www.dymocks.com.hk/. They have a large travel section as well. I think their IFC Branch and their branch in the Central Building are the best.

    Bookazine – several locations in town. See http://www.bookazine.com.hk/eshop/. They have a large travel selection as well. I think their Prince’s Building location has the best selection.

    Fleet Arcade – they do not have a huge selection of books, but those that they do have are at US Prices. This is on the waterfront basically in front of Pacific Place Mall, and is the pier access for the US Navy when they are in town, and so prices in the bookstore are cheaper. They are open to the public except when a ship is in town. It is a little bit of a walk from the Admiralty MTR, but could be worth it for the prices. There is a porcelain shop here that has some nice items and you can also go through their catalog (their main showroom is in the New Territories). There is also the excellent Vero Lounge for chocolate (or chocolate martini) to sweeten the trip (see http://www.verochocolates.com/. The Quarterdeck café is also quite nice, although construction is marring their view:

    Fenwick Pier Fleet Arcade
    1 Lung King Street
    Wanchai, Hong Kong

    To get to Fleet Arcade, take a taxi from Central (3-5 minutes), or take the MTR to Admiralty, exit Door E2 and once upstairs and outside keep walking along the elevated pedestrian walkway toward the harbour, go into the office building which the walkway will lead you into, go downstairs to the ground floor, go outside, cross the street, turn right, and walk down this street for a block looking for a 2 storey white concrete building on your left with blue lettering which says “Fleet Arcade”. This would also be walkable from the Wan Chai pier of the Star Ferry in about 10 minutes. After getting off the boat, turn right, walk under the Convention Centre and past the entrance to the Hyatt and follow the road for about 200 yards, Fenwick Pier will be on the right.

    3. The tailor mentioned above is Margaret Court, I have used her for many years:

    Margaret Court Tailoress
    Flat G, 8th Floor
    Block A Winner Building
    27-37 D'Aguilar Street
    Central (Lan Fai Kwong)
    tel: 852-2525-5596
    http://www.margaret-court.com.hk/
    e-mail: mc@margaret-court.com.hk

    Another option, which is going to be cheaper than Margaret and possible faster is:

    Fashion Altering Company
    Shop 215
    2nd Floor
    Melbourne Plaza
    33 Queen’s Road, Central
    Tel: 2868-1713

    There are a few other tailor shops in this building, IMO any of them would be fine for a simple job like alterations.

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    Thank you VERY much! I only get highlights done every other time, so it's just color this visit. I think I'll only buy the Nepal book - I can probably get the Indian books in KTM. Will definitely get in touch with Margaret.

    I'm staying on the island at Bishop Lei and I'm still having trouble with my foot. The ankle has recovered, but now the front of the foot is swollen, so I'm looking for the best method of getting there with the least walking and the least use of taxis.

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    The hotel has a shuttle bus which goes to Central, and stops both on Queen’s Road Central and the Airport Express Station. The shuttle also goes to the Citibank Building (on the edge of Hong Kong Park and near the Peak Tram station), the Admiralty MTR and to the Hong Kong Convention Centre. There are some maps on the hotel’s website which are helpful, although they are not to scale.

    To the extent you can, I would take the hotel’s shuttle combined with short walks. As good as our public transport it, it is not really set-up for people who want to go slowly. Getting on and off buses will require a step up and down, some buses have small steps inside them or are double-decker which may require going up stairs on a moving bus. There are stairs to get up to street level at virtually all MTR stations rather than escalators, and at rush hours on the MTR people tend to push and not make room. Hong Kongers, while they have many good points, are not the most considerate bunch of people. Even negotiating the side walks can be difficult. (You might want to get a cheap collapsible walking pole with a handle grip while you are here, you can find them for like HK$50 at many local markets. Work as well as the expensive ones from Switzerland.)

    That being said, some bus routes which probably would be helpful to you are at the end of this message.

    Otherwise, for Tala’s if it is before 10 am, you can take the escalator down from the Bishop Lei. While some of this will require walking, it is walking on the flat so should be OK. Otherwise, I would take a taxi to Elgin Street. Get out of the taxi and look for the escalator, then go up the left hand side of the escalator for about 10-15 steps. Tala’s is on the left. You can then take the escalator back uphill (it goes downhill from 6 - 10:15 am, and then uphill for the rest of the day.)

    For the Cut & Sharp, you could take the hotel’s shuttle to the Admiralty MTR and walk. This is on the flat except that at some point you would need to go up or down stairs to cross streets. You could also take the hotel’s shuttle to Citibank and walk via Hong Kong Park and through Pacific Place Mall out to Queensway, this would be longer but would not require stairs (although there is one small incline to cross Justice Drive.) You could also take a taxi right from the hotel, should cost somewhere around HK$30-35.

    For the other salons, you can call and see what the best public transport options are depending on their location.

    For a bookshop, I would take the hotel’s shuttle to the Airport Express station. This is also the IFC Mall. Go in the main door of the Airport Express station and take the elevator to the 2nd floor. The Dymocks is on this floor. If you want a walk back, you could take the escalator, but there is a longish walk to get to it from the IFC Mall, although all of this is above ground on pedestrian walkways and there are very few stairs.

    For Margaret Court, take the hotel’s shuttle to the Queen’s Road Central stop (According to the website, the stop is at the Manning Building). Then walking against the direction of traffic (this is a one-way street, and you want to be on the right side of the street with traffic coming at you), walk to the first intersection, which is D’Aguilar Street, and turn right. You would then walk uphill (it’s kind of steep), across 2 streets and a small alley; Margaret is in the next block on the right near a big yellow sign which says “Agave”. If you come to a curve in the road you have gone too far, head back downhill a bit. You might consider a taxi, it should not be more than HK$25, probably closer to $20. You could also take bus 12 M, it goes to the corner of D’Aguillar and Wellington; although this would be a longish ride down as the bus will detour around many other places before getting to D’Aguillar. However, you could take the 12 M bus back up to the hotel as that is a shorter ride. (You could also just take the hotel’s shuttle back up.) To take the public bus, from the tailor, turn left and go downhill past the alley and across one street (Wellington) The stop is in front of the 7-11 on the right in this block. You could also go up or back via the escalator, however D’Aguillar is not really close to an escalator entrance, and will require some downhill and uphill, not sure this works for you.

    Do you want to see a doctor while you re here? Or a physical therapist/sports medicine therapist? I can give some reccos. Otherwise, from your location I would say to consider going to Adventist Hospital. See http://www.hkah.org.hk/ (Canossa is closer to your hotel, but I prefer Adventist unless it is an emergency).

    The Bishop Lei has a bus stop literally at the front door. This is for going down into town. Also, because of the one-way nature of many of the streets in the area, trips up or down will end at the same stop; and some return trips may be shorter than the outbound and vice-versa. Generally there are some good buses on this route. Some are below, the hotel should be able to give you others:

    3B – this goes to St John’s Cathedral (Peak Tram station is across the street), and the Landmark Building on des Voeux Road in Central.
    12 – this goes to St John’s Cathedral (Peak Tram station is across the street) the HSBC Building, the Pedder Building and ends at the Star Ferry piers in Central
    12 M- this goes to St John’s Cathedral (Peak Tram station is across the street), the Admiralty MTR, the HSBC building, to Lan Kwai Fong to Hollywood, then up to Caine and Robinson. It’s a circular route. From the Admiralty MTR you can get the #6 bus to Stanley or the #15 to the Peak.
    23 – this goes to St John’s Cathedral (Peak Tram station is across the street) , then to Admiralty MTR, then Sogo Dept store area in Causeway Bay, passing through a good chunk of Wan Chai on the way. It ends up at the North Point ferry pier. From the Admiralty MTR you can get the #6 bus to Stanley or the #15 to the Peak.
    23 - this goes to St John’s Cathedral (Peak Tram station is across the street), the Admiralty MTR and parts of Wan Chai along Hennessy Road, and also goes to the Tin Hau MTR/ temple in Causeway Bay. From the Admiralty MTR you can get the #6 bus to Stanley or the #15 to the Peak.

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    Thanks SO MUCH Cicerone! That's so helpful. My medical insurance will only cover (after a deductible) a visit to an emergency room, so I should probably visit the hospital if I'm still having trouble. I can't imagine what I've done to the foot this time!

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    thursdaysd, one comment about taxis: they're relatively extremely inexpensive and a good way to get around town, esp when hobbled. However, if you're trying to hail one on the street, be sure that the curb (kerb) is not painted. Taxis are not allowed to stop for you in an area where the curb is painted (and I forget which color(s) this applies to) -- they'll just pass you by. I'd found this out the awkward way -- standing with an armful of stuff and seeing cab after cab pass me by, until a kind passerby clued me in.

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    Taxis are not allowed to stop where the are two yellow lines painted on the side of the road. Yes, you do see tourists trying to hail taxis on such roads to no avail. Taxis are not really suppposed to stop in bus stops, but they will generally do so. Otherwise, taxis can pick up where there is a single yellow line painted on the side of the road or no painting at all.

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    Well, the hairdresser worked out well, even though Cicerone's stylist was on holiday.

    I was horrified by the prices in Dymocks - should have bought in Taipei. I decided to wait until I get to Kathmandu - surely I can pick up a copy of LP Nepal in Thamel!

    I went to Adventist this morning - I thought I wouldn't bother but my foot swelled up again last night after I walked down from Robinson Rd to Elgin Rd for dinner (the Indian place I was looking for is gone, but I ate quite well at Enoteca instead ). Verdict - it's still recovering from the sprain in Vancouver, wear boots rather than sandals whenever possible. (Subtext - stay off it as much as possible!)

    I gained some weight back on Taiwan, so will likely skip the alterations.

    Thanks again for the help! (And extra kudos to Cicerone for her HK threads and restaurant list - so useful!)

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