City Lights & Crazy Nights!
Trip Start Feb 17, 2010
27Trip End Feb 23, 2011
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Where I stayed
Chung King Mansion
The first thing that struck me was the sheer size of the buildings, I mean I though I had seen tall building before and I have seen many pictures of city skylines, but actually being there was a whole different experience. The second thing I realised was the price difference compared to South East Asia. HK is expensive!!!!
I got a bus from the airport to "Chung King Mansions" which is know for being the cheapest place to stay in Hong Kong and also for its large number of ethnic residents. It is a massive building that consists of 4 separate blocks of 17 floors. The entrance way is full of money exchange booths with outrageous exchange rates as well as other such scam shops. This plus the fact that you have people offering you copy-watches and suits makes it a very interesting place to stay.
I found a backpacker friendly hostel on the 16th floor of the first block. The dorm room I was in was very basic but otherwise acceptable, although there was a weird Chinese guy staying in there who looked either mentally ill or on drugs – perhaps both. He basically stayed in bed day and night for 4 days, mostly sleeping and twitching except for once when he sat up and picked at his leg for about 3 hours or when in went to the bathroom for about 3 hours… other than that he was always in bed…. We tried talking to him and say things like “So, what are your plans for today? Going to do any sightseeing?” but he would just grunt or mumble something in Chinese… he seemed like a nice lad.
Later on that first night I met up with a group of people from Couchsurfing (www.couchsurfing.org) who were having a small get together on a roof-top garden in town. I also went to “The Peak” where the view of the HK skyline was absolutely stunning.
The next day I dropped in my passport to get my visa for China which would take 4 days. Then I met up with James Logan, who I know from back in Northern Ireland. He is living in Hong Kong working as a graphic designer. James and one of his friends took me to some great local restaurants and to see one on Hong Kong's great beaches with the unfortunate name of “Repulse Bay”. We also went out to see a massive Buddha statue on the outskirts of HK where we had to get a cable car up the mountain. I had never realised that HK was anything other than a city, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it has beaches, mountains and forests! It was all pretty awesome.
The following day me and an English guy from my hostel met up with an American guy & a Swedish couple he knew in the area, and we went out for food and a few drinks at a district called Mong Kok It was a really funny night because the American and the English guy exchanged some witty jokes with me about woman and their inability to drive or make decisions. I also offered the winning statement to the conversation that “contrary to popular belief, women are not good at multitasking; in fact they are just crap at prioritising”. Now despite the hilarity and truth of this statement, the Swedish chick did not appear to be very amused… in fact she turned a bit psycho later in the evening when she started going mad about the fact that I eat meat and need to eat more nuts or I will die, she was speaking so fast and wouldn’t stop, until finally I said “gosh, take a breath woman” but then she freaked out at me calling her “woman” even though as far as I could tell she was in fact a woman… . Later in the evening she insisted that we all go to McDonalds.
One night later in the week I witnessed the most insane thunder and lightning storm ever. I had thought the storm I saw in Thailand was incredible but this one was something else, I was at the harbour watching both sheet & forked lightning move across the sky above the skyscrapers. I stood there for ages watching it and trying to capture it on my camera…. My patience paid off as I managed to get an awesome shot!
On one of the other nights I was there, I met up with a couple of friends my boss back home used to work with when he was an expat in HK, they treated me to a meal and a few drinks which was very generous of them. All in all I had a fantastic time and all too soon I had my Chinese Visa and was leaving Hong Kong on the ferry to go to Macau.
I am going to treat Hong Kong and Macau as separate to China for the sake of summarising my time there because they are so different to mainland China. The summary for HK will be included with my summary of Macau in my next blog entry.
Thus concludes my adventures in Hong Kong.