Bonkers Honkers

Trip Start Aug 03, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Oriental Lander Hotel

Flag of China  ,
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

After slightly longer than planned in London during which time I realised the pain of living without an income, I found myself back on a plane (unable to hide the disappointment of economy class for an 11+ hour flight) heading off to start the first leg of my dash around the world and "Sprake's back on a plane".

After a restless journey (I only managed 3 films) I arrived in a somewhat temperate Hong Kong shrouded in a blanket of white fog/mist/cloud - I'd like to suggest that this poetically added to the mystery and excitement I was feeling at the prospect of what I would discover in Hong Kong but, if truth be known, it simply ruined the view as I landed.

Alighting the aircraft I efficiently swept through Immigration and Customs where I purchased my "Octopus card" for convenient cashless travel and purchases throughout Hong Kong (Where did Ken get that idea - I wonder?). Jumping on the Airport Express I found myself in downtown Kowloon less than 20 minutes later and grabbed a taxi to my hotel (a modest element of flashpacking to start proceedings negating the need for a hoStel) a short distance to the North near "Boundary Road" which delineates Kowloon from the New Territories. I already expected my room to be on the small side but was pleasantly surprised with it.

The essential "freshening up" dealt with, I headed straight down to Admiralty station on Hong Kong Island on the underground (MTR) to meet my friend Anil at the British Consulate for a quick catch up before he left HK for the UK that evening. We soon found ourselves in "The White Stag" on Lockhart Road in Wan Chai (an HK expat institution i'm reliably informed) enjoying a couple of pints and a catch up. Wan Chai is full of shops and Bars (including, as was pointed out to me, a formidable array of what are best described as "hostess bars" where charming young ladies will attempt to persuade you to spend some time (and money) with them - I was grateful these establishments had been pointed out to me (before anyone says anything, in order to stay clear of course) - Anil and I darted out for some delicious Cantonese grub before he headed to the airport and I back to my hotel having been up for about 30 hours.

Next day, it was back down to Hong Kong island and a catch up with my friend Sarah - had a good natter with her and next thing you know it was evening and I was off to Happy Valley Racecourse for the midweek meet. An extortionate 10 HK$ to get in (less than a quid) - this is definitely one of the most interesting things I have ever seen....a frenetic mixture of locals and expats at a racecourse surrounded by massive skyscrapers. Not knowing a great deal about horses, I opted to base my strategy on the nags name and so "Sammy's Fortune" ridden by T Clark in the second looked a good place to start...... it came last and that, i'm afraid summed up my evening at the races, not even a sniff of a victory!

At the races I met Sam from the Consulate (who I had been introduced to earlier) a couple of crazy lawyers, Pete and the two Georges and a few other Brits who were in HK promoting the Olympics - next thing you know I had been swept up in the night and we headed to Lan Kwai Fong for a couple of vodka jelly syringes (I know, grow up Sprake!) before finding ourselves in Wan Chai where dancing on bars was witnessed (you can speculate if I participated but i'll simply point out the elevated angle of the photos). Successfully avoiding the hostesses I made my way home and crashed out.

The next day (it wasn't early)I took it upon myself to explore Kowloon and the craziness of Nathan Road. I took in the nightly light show near the Avenue of Stars and sampled the delights of one of the most popular local dishes - McDonalds (a Big Mac meal only costs 20 HK$) but knocked it on the head early as the following day I was intending to have an early start and take in another SAR (Special Administrative Region).
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