Hong Kong: Up in the Air at Ocean Park

On a hot and smoggy day in Hong Kong the usual tourist pastimes of shopping, yum cha and more shopping are not as appealing. The humidity in Hong Kong can be extreme on some days, combined with pollution this can make the city centre uncomfortable. A trip to a marine themed park out of the city centre seemed like an excellent idea.

I was prepared for a day of laid back kiddy-style rides and fun. Because of the hot weather, the park was close to empty. After watching the seal show and a visit to the aquarium, I decided to take the chairlift to the other side of the park. From what I could see, the chair lift just traveled up a hill about 200 meters or so. I was joined in the lift by a young man.

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‘Are you ready?’ he asked.

‘I guess.’ I replied feeling a little confused.

‘I’m here to get over my fear of heights.’ He said. ‘I’m just riding back and forth all day.’

Well, we were only two meters off the ground at this point, but I figured this poor guy had to start somewhere in conquering his fears. The lift slowly climbed to the top of the hill. As its summit, the carriage took a sharp turn to the left. Suddenly we suspended 200 meters over the ocean making our way across a cliff face.

The only thing between myself and an untimely death was a razor thin length of cable wire. This unexpected change of course left me short of breath and desperately clinging to the sides of the carriage.

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The view, despite my anxiety, was spectacular. I could see the flat, blue ocean stretching out for miles. Tiny green islands dotted the surface of the water. In the distance I could see the city skyline.

My traveling friend said he made good progress conquering his fear of heights that day. I can’t say the same about myself. Heights never bothered me before, but I knew it would be some time before I would be getting on a chair lift again.

Date posted: 28th November, 2010

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