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Summary of Preceding Events and Getting There

From Hong Kong to The UK.

rain

The Flower Tunnel, Un Chau Estate, Hong Kong.

The Flower Tunnel, Un Chau Estate, Hong Kong.

I normally write blogs quite frequently, but in the last two weeks I have had neither the time nor the inclination.

On Monday 4th March I met up with Anne and Malcolm who write on Travellerspoint under the name Mad For Travel. I also brought my friend Lai along on that day.

Weather-wise it was a very foggy, wet day, but nonetheless we decided to do The Peak Circular Walk. It was nice to meet up with fellow travellers and we were having a good day exploring The Peak. It should have been a memorable day for all the right reasons, but .....

It all started out well.

It all started out well.

There were nice things to see despite the bad weather.

There were nice things to see despite the bad weather.

Such as these statues.

Such as these statues.

Posh buildings.

Posh buildings.

More statues.

More statues.

The Peak Tram.

The Peak Tram.

The Peak Tower.

The Peak Tower.

Foggy views.

Foggy views.

Banyan trees.

Banyan trees.

Malcolm and I took a quick diversion to Pinewood Battery, an old ruined British army camp.

Malcolm and I took a quick diversion to Pinewood Battery, an old ruined British army camp.

Malcolm at Pinewood Battery.

Malcolm at Pinewood Battery.

Pinewood Battery.

Pinewood Battery.

The camera on my phone fogged up just like the weather.

The camera on my phone fogged up just like the weather.

After the walk, we took transport back down to Central and started heading towards a restaurant for lunch. It was at that point that everything went wrong.

I got in a lift at the Star Ferry Pier. It was very crowded and I seemed to have got stuck on the man in front of me - like he had caught on my button or zip or something. This turned out to be a diversion technique and that man, together with others in the lift, was part of a gang of pickpockets. They stole my purse. Inside it there was some money, my i.d. card, a credit card and a bank card. Within minutes of robbing me, the gang made a huge purchase on my credit card. I had to get to the bank and cancel my cards. It may have been quicker to do it online or on the phone, but I was in a huge panic and very close to the bank building. I ended up cancelling four cards as I wasn't sure what had been stolen. Then I had to go to the police. I was there for hours.

Next day I had to return to the police and then go to immigration. I was caught up in a seemingly endless round of trying to sort out the mess that had been dumped on me due to this theft. There were more visits to the police, immigration, banks, constant phone calls to various organisations. My friends Lai and Agnes helped me a huge amount with all these things.

This whole mess is going to take a couple of months to sort out while my bank and the police investigate what happened.

In addition to financial loss, I had some very significant sentimental loses. My purse contained my Saint Christopher medallion which was given to me by my mother when I first started travelling around the age of nineteen. I took it everywhere with me. It wasn't valuable as such, but it was priceless to me. There was also a holy medal which belonged to my dad which I kept as a memorial after his death.

Also my feelings towards Hong Kong have changed. I always felt really safe there. Now I realise that nowhere on Earth is actually safe. Maybe this is a valuable life lesson in itself.

Of course life goes on and I will get over all this, but it has been a very unpleasant time.

The first sign of things getting a bit better came on Tuesday 12th March when I managed to get my new i.d. card, just before setting out on my travels to The UK. I could have travelled without it, but it's much easier with it.

Symbolically this was the first sunny day in weeks. I even managed to visit the Un Chau Estate Flower Tunnel at the correct time of year on my way home. The tunnel was covered in bougainvillea. I've visited twice before and there have been practically no flowers at all.

Me trying to remember how to smile.

Me trying to remember how to smile.

Un Chau Estate.

Un Chau Estate.

The Flower Tunnel.

The Flower Tunnel.

The Flower Tunnel.

The Flower Tunnel.

Things are starting to look a bit brighter.

Things are starting to look a bit brighter.

Flowers everywhere.

Flowers everywhere.

Blue skies over Tsing Yi.

Blue skies over Tsing Yi.

Blue skies over Tsing Yi.

Blue skies over Tsing Yi.

Next day we flew to Manchester via Doha. The flights were very full and cramped. I was able to sit still on them longer than usual thanks to all the practice of sitting around waiting that I've had recently. I watched "Doctor Zhivago" and a British detective series called "Queens of Mystery."

Departing Hong Kong International Airport.

Departing Hong Kong International Airport.

The poshest transfer bus I've ever seen at an airport.

The poshest transfer bus I've ever seen at an airport.

Peter in the bus.

Peter in the bus.

We arrived in Manchester early in the morning and got wheelchair assistance at the airport. Fortunately, the pleasant young man who wheeled Peter left us the wheelchair so I could use it to take Peter to the train station later.

We caught a train to Oxford Road Station. The female ticket collector on the train was really helpful with Peter. We had booked an early check-in at The Ibis on Princess Street. It was about eight minutes walk from the station. It was raining and a bit cold but not freezing.

Our room was comfortable. We were both desperate for a shower, coffee and some sleep.

Peter in our room.

Peter in our room.

Peter in our room.

Peter in our room.

I took a quick walk around the area and bought a couple of supplies. Its a studenty area now, but must have been very industrial at one point. There's a canal and lots of old red brick buildings. I noticed The Kimpton Hotel Building with its impressive clock tower. This building dates back to 1890 when it was built as The Refuge Assurance Company Headquarters. There's also a large theatre called the Palace Theatre nearby. Many people were queuing outside it to watch 'Pretty Woman.'

Kimpton Hotel Building near Oxford Street Station.

Kimpton Hotel Building near Oxford Street Station.

Kimpton Hotel Building near Oxford Street Station.

Kimpton Hotel Building near Oxford Street Station.

Palace Theatre with long queues for 'Pretty Woman.'

Palace Theatre with long queues for 'Pretty Woman.'

The Salisbury Pub.

The Salisbury Pub.

Canal.

Canal.

Former industrial buildings.

Former industrial buildings.

Pub sign.

Pub sign.

Modern building.

Modern building.

There were several good examples of street art around, especially near the station area. There were also Chinese lanterns for Chinese New Year.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Chinese lanterns.

Chinese lanterns.

That evening we met up with our friend Gillian. We have known her since we all worked in Cyprus and we hadn't seen her since probably around 2018 due to COVID. We should have met up last year, but it all fell through with Peter getting ill.

We had a lovely evening together. We had a meal in Fuku, Joshua Brooks. This is a strange restaurant/bar which looks like it has a large menu but on closer inspection doesn't. For example Peter and I had a burger. There are about six on the menu, but they are all double chicken burgers. The difference between them is only the sauce they come with. Gillian is vegetarian and opted for starters. There were lots of vegetarian meals, but all of them were tofu in different sauces. Anyway it was £3 a pint, so I am not complaining.

The three of us.

The three of us.

Burger.

Burger.

Giozas.

Giozas.

We then went to the pub next door, The Lass of Gowrie, for a coffee. The coffee didn't actually happen as noone there knew how to work their coffee machine. Peter had a half cider and Gillian and I had a soft drink.

Gillian in The Lass of Gowrie.

Gillian in The Lass of Gowrie.

It was lovely to catch up with Gillian again and she very kindly treated us to the meal. I hope it's not too long till we meet again.

We had had enough to drink really, but had our free drink in the hotel too, because it was well .…. free.

Night cap in our hotel.

Night cap in our hotel.

By this time we were really tired and jetlagged so had an early night.

Posted by irenevt 05:16 Archived in United Kingdom

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Comments

so sorry to read about the robbing! that's really awful especially for the things you lost besides the money. I hope all is sorted well and I hope you can enjoy your time in the UK. The start looks already promising! :)

by Ils1976

Hi Ils, thank you. It's been a really unpleasant experience, but all I can do is get on with my life. I think being somewhere else for a while will do us both a lot of good.

by irenevt

What a terrible experience to be robbed. The worst part would be the mementoes. Those are things that can't be replaced.

I loved the flower tunnel. That is spectacular. Good to see you back in the UK. We like flying into Manchester, much easier then LHR.

by Beausoleil

Yes it was a horrible experience, but I guess all I can do is move on.

by irenevt

🥺 terrible that you were robbed. It takes time to get over something like that. You photos of Manchester are super - quite a contrast between the old buildings and the street art. I’m really pleased that you have started writing your blogs again. Your fans have been missing you!

by Catherine

Hi Catherine, yes I'm trying to just put this horrible experience behind me as much as I can.

by irenevt

I’m just now taking time to read this block. It’s really sad you lost your st Christopher , the sentimental value is irreplaceable. I am awfully sorry it happened to you

by MAd4travel

Thanks Anne and Malcolm,

I was very close to my mum so I am very upset about it, but I just have to accept it.

At least I have now been told the money those b******* stole from my credit card will not be charged to me. The bank accepts they are fraudulent transactions.

by irenevt

Oh no, I am so sorry about your stolen mementos!

by hennaonthetrek

Thank you Henna. I was very upset about the Saint Christopher as it was a gift from my mum and I have had it since I was nineteen and went to Finland as an au pair. Peter has now very kindly bought me a replacement though, of course, this has different sentimental value. I guess I just have to put this horrible event down as a learning experience.

by irenevt

Very understandable! It is not the same but sweet of Peter to try to make you feel better. I will send mental gust of Finnish spring to your replacement-Saint Christopher so it has something from Finland (not the same, I know, but at least it's something) :)

by hennaonthetrek

Haha, thank you, Henna.

by irenevt

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