On historic Blake Pier in Hong Kong

DAY 7–My eyes are closed and soft music is playing as my feet are getting massaged.

AAH…After four days of exploring Hong Kong, I can’t think of a better way to end the day—or a more unusual way to end Christmas afternoon.

Of course in Hong Kong, there are reflexology shops; it seems, on every street. Employees hand out brochures in the street and prices vary widely from $10 to over $100. Our guide has suggested this shop where for just $30 our feet are first soaked in lavender and then in a quiet room, we lay back on a comfortable chair while a smiling woman massages our feet and legs.

This started years ago as part of Chinese medicine, our guide Wing Lau explains, but has evolved into an affordable spa experience that “99 per cent of tourists” enjoy—locals too. I’d recommend it in any city sales where you are walking around a lot!

What a strange Christmas. We started the day at Hong Kong’s famous Stanley Market—about 100 small shops and stalls that cater to tourists selling everything from your name spelled out in Chinese Calligraphy and chopsticks to silk scarves, fine linens—all  near the South China Sea. Along the promenade are restaurants serving every variety of Western cuisine and because it is Sunday, the road along the waterfront is blocked to traffic and tables are set up outside.

You only know it is Christmas because all of those walking their dogs have dressed them up in Christmas outfits and hats and the servers sport reindeer ears and tiny Santa Hats. IT is relaxed and beautiful—a far cry from the frenetic Ladies Market or the crowded shops the night before in  the city. There are more than 20 restaurants here mostly serving Western cuisine—burgers and sea food and chicken which is why we see more Caucasian faces  in one place than I’ve seen anywhere else in Hong Kong. It feels almost like we should be in Europe rather than Asia.

We stroll out on historic Blake Pier –the roof is more than a century old and was moved here in 2004–and watch the bobbing rowboats, the traditional Chinese Junk that serves as a harbor cruise and the wind surfers out on a Sunday.

I’m glad for a western lunch at Rock Salt overlooking the water which sports an Australian menu (Kangaroo anyone?) We opt for chicken instead, watching the locals walk their dogs along the promenade in the sunshine.

Being on the Stanley Promenade makes me realize yet again how many faces and facets there are to Hong Kong. We stop in before dinner to the Inter Continental Hotel for a drink—but really for the view.

There is a light show over the harbor as the buildings flash Merry Christmas, 2012 in green and red and white lights. Middle schoolers are singing carols in the lobby—as we’d left our hotel—The Mira—another group was singing. Apparently they make a circuit entertaining the locals and the tourists.

The view is spectacular—post card worthy, especially with all the holiday nights. What a way to end Christmas.