Bright lights, big city - like moths to a flame.

Trip Start Apr 08, 2005
Trip End Feb ????

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Flag of Hong Kong  ,
Wednesday, September 7, 2005

The start of this goes back to before we left NZ. We decided to bring the dates forward to get out of this god-forsaken place earlier than originally intended. So after a long winded process of phoning airlines on numerous occasions we managed to change the flights. The woman (sounded like she was in Bombay rather than Queenstown) assured us that the flights, to HK and to Beijing, were changed to 7th September at 7:35 and 10th September at 16:50 respectively.

So at 4:30 we left the hotel and got to the Airport at 5:30. Looking at the departures board we noticed that there was no flight mentioned at 7:35, let alone 7:35 to HK. A few enquiries later and we found out that there is no flight at that time, there is on a Thursday though. This was Wednesday. Cut a long story short, the Quantas people helped out and booked us on the 12:50 to HK that day (and booked us on the 17:50 out of HK to Beijing), the dozy mare in India was obviously too busy stuffing her face with samosa to bother booking us on the flight, but she had managed to cancel our original ones. Thanks. No upgrade though. Now only 7 hours to occupy.

Anyway after an 11 hour flight, we got there. The drive from the airport took us down Nathan Road, this is the one you always see with the neon signs and the electrical and watch shops down it. LIFE at last. There were people about and everything! The whole place was lit up like a Romford housing estate at Christmas. It was magnificent.

Getting off the bus in near 100% humidity after being up for over 28 hours, carrying a rucksack (and yes Rob, wearing that highly breathable Gallo T shirt) the first thing we are going to want is a hand made suit. Or so thought about 20 blokes between the bus and the hotel. We didn't. And we didn't want a "cuppy wuch" either thanks.

It is true what Rough Guide writes about the stairwells that led to our hostel in Mirador Mansions, they stink of wee wee and they are dirty. What the guides fail to mention is the fact that the majority of budget accomodation is located in the Red Light districts. But hey the hostel was clean, dry and had a/c and much better than the van.

You name it, we did it. The Star Ferry, across to HK Island (well worth all 2.2 dollars it costs to get on). The malls, which are all over air conditioned, glitzy and immaculate, full of the rich making sure you know they are rich and making sure they are richer than everyone around them. We loved it. The Peak tram (got to be done for the angle it climbs and to look in awe at where the rich live). Going to Aberdeen to have an argument with the "sampan tour" woman, dim sum (after nearly shitting ourselves and walking out when we looked at the price of the "champagne" menu). People watching and the amazing Lippo and HSBC buildings. And best of all meeting elderly ex pats who forgot to get a lift with Chris Patten.

We really liked the atmosphere of the place. Whether it was because NZ lacked it and we were caught in the headlights of a place that had some pulse, we don't know. But it has something and we liked it. We have decided to go back and live there. Probably after Buenos Aires though. And definately after we have become very rich.

Big love

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