How I learnt to love Hong Kong and forget about ev
Trip Start Jul 28, 2009
51Trip End Jul 27, 2010
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Where I stayed
After arriving in Shenzhen I instantly remember how polluted China was. Feeling lazy i got a shuttle bus that took me directly to Hong Kong and almost all the way to Chung King mansion (the place i was staying) which was quite expensive by Chinese standards, but as i came discover, quite reasonable for HK standards. I remember being so excited about entering Hong Kong and even re-call a feeling of crying for a reason that I can’t really explain. Since my friends had visited HK back in October when i went north to inner-Mongolia I was desperate to go.. and i was finally there!
I was dropped off in a place called Mong Kok, a busy shopping district that is situated on Kowloon island. Finding Chung King was a bit of a challenge, because i had been reliant for so long on the others for gudiing me places. This time i actually had to find out myself. Meeting some Hong Kongese (with great English accents) for a short period, they guided me to Chung King.
Chung King - what a place. I particularly remember my friend Ole had recently described the place to me.
“That place is dangerous!” - Is the quote i remember the most. At the time i couldn’t imagine anywhere dangerous in China, so i thought that she might have been exaggerating! Funnily enough, she wasn’t, and when i first cast my eyes on it i had a small worry. Mong Kong is a great modern part of the city, with many new age looking buildings, but Chung King must have been built in the 1960’s or earlier, and you can tell from the exterior that it wasn't going to be any too pleasant.
As i walked up i was offered all sorts of shit, ranging from fake Rolex's to drugs. I was followed by 4 Indian guys trying to sell me guest room accommodation, in which i could only get rid of by claiming that i had already got somewhere to stay, and at the time i didn’t. This building had 11 floors, so i had to search on each floor asking if there was room to stay. My friend that i mentioned early gave me the business card of the Fortune Guest House, which was on the 11th floor. `Rejecting a few offers, i made it to that place. I had to barter with someone called ‘PaPa’ for a room. At first he was charging $250, but i managed to barter him down to $200. Scored myself a nice large bed, and an en-suite bathroom in a prime location.
It was quite late when i arrived in Hong Kong, around about 9 o’clock or so i managed to get out and around. I wanted to explore and see what the city had to offer. Saying that i didn’t venture too far around the city, just got accustomed to where i was living at the Mong Kok area. One thing that i found really hard to come to terms with was how rejected i felt when first arriving in Hong Kong. There were so many foreigners, in fact the most i had seen in a long time. This meant that the Hong Kongese wouldn't look at me, i felt like everyone else. I didn't like it. Walking up and down, and feeling quite lonely i enquired about how to get to places, and what to see. Strolling back to Chung King i was being invited in all sorts of places but then i managed to find a pub! This is the first time i had seen a pub for a long time, and i had to go in and check it out. Much quieter than everywhere else i decided to stay for one. This is when i met someone called Brain and what i assumed was his paid-for wife of which i cannot remember the name of. Brain must have been as old as my dad and was from northern Ireland. Not a very smart fellow, but seemed to be well travelled and was worth talking to because i had no one else to talk to really. He was with a mid-30’s Indian-Malaysian woman who was a really nice person. She seemed to be well educated, and was very interested in what i had to say about myself and my travels in China. To be honest, i liked her and quite enjoyed talking to her about Malaysia and Thailand, not to mention she got brain to buy me a drink. In fact she was my first influence to go consider going to Thailand, mainly cause she mentioned it was so cheap. The thing that i couldn’t work out was that what job she had, if you know what i mean. She wasn’t great looking, but she was much younger than Brain. And Brain didn’t seem like the sort of bloke to bring her home, it did make me wonder if she was a prostitute or some kind of escort. Needless to say, she was nice and so was Brain, so it wasn’t my business. It was time for bed, and we parted way. Getting offered all sorts of shit again near Chung King i went up the dodgy elevator to the 11th floor to where i was staying.
Next day 29th -
Armed with the Bible (the lonely planet china) i looked at all the top things to do and went out to do them. The first place i aimed for was a couple of museums and art galleries that was just down the road from where i was staying. This was pretty ideal, but i remember it was such an effort to cross the road in Hong Kong compared to what i was used to in China where J walking is completely fine and the only way to cross. In Hong Kong you are funnelled through subways and walk ways to get onto the other side. Safe, but quite annoying. When i finally made my way across to where the museums were, this is when i first set my eyes on Hong Kong’s famous skyline. Annoyingly it was a cloudy day and there the view wasn't overly great, but it was still everything i wanted it to be. Epic.
The first place i went to was the Art gallery, which was interesting but then again half the stuff was full of boring calligraphy (the typical Chinese art with the fine brush strokes and Chinese characters) which i had seen enough of. There was other forms of art that was interesting and even had some historical artefacts ranging all the way back to the Qin Dynasty. I knew i was back in a westernised country when i saw the level on sanitation. Noticed signs on doors that said ‘this door is disinfected 8 times daily’, which made me laugh to myself. I then tried to enter the earth and science museum, but it wasn’t going to open for a while, so i decided to keep walking on and see what else there was. I walked along Hong Kong’s Hollywood style name plate things. Cannot tell what that place name is in Holly wood, but i took pictures of Jet Lee and Jackie Chan’s hand prints and stuff. I decided it was about time to go to central, and then make my way to this walk around Hong Kong’s old streets that the Lonely Planet recommended doing. Central was something out of this world. Its the main centre of Hong Kong, and I had never seen so many tall buildings concentrated in the same place. In fact probably the tallest buildings i had ever seen. It was great and i was determined to venture forwards and find this place.
I walked through the famous ‘mid-levels’ of Hong Kong. Because HK is so compact, it doesn’t really have much room for the large volume of pedestrians walking around, so as a solution the