Night Of Hell
Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
284Trip End Ongoing
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The colour tv had buttons missing and the ones that did remain didn't work. There was also no remote and no channels tuned in. The beds were a thin layer of foam on top of a wooden frame that looked like it would collapse at the slightest touch.
The aircon consisted of a box on the wall held in place by cellotape and a ceiling fan that span at about 200mph. That meant we either had to boil in the chokingly humid heat or freeze to death in the arctic blast from above, we chose the later.
The more we pointed out the rooms faults the more we couldn't wait to get the hell out in the morning. This led to us both reading the bible (LP China) for an hour or so before trying to sleep. I say try as it was nigh on impossible. The room was freezing and at numerous occasions during the night Dave and I got up to try and turn it down. But with no labels it led to switching lights on and off and resigning back to bed defeated and wrapping up warm in the blanket, wishing it was morning.
Come morning we immediately switched the freezer off and got on the blower to another hostel. We phoned the first one recommended in the bible and found a dorm room for $HK110, $HK90 less than the present cesspit and quickly agreed.
With a new sense of urgency that the experience was nearly over, we tip-toed around the bugs on the floor and headed to the en-suite for a much needed wash. The "private bath" didn't actually contain a bath and was basically a wet room. After hearing Dave's pained screams after turning on the hot water, to boiling hot water as if straight from the kettle, I decided a cold shower was a better option.
The shower was rather a daunting experience. Rather than spraying it directly at my body it decided to spray everywhere else instead, namely the toilet, sink and electric boiler. Having managed not to die we headed out at 11am in search of somewhere to obtain a Chinese visa.
CTS was directly opposite so decided to use them. After taking our passports and paying the excess 1 day processing fee we headed back to Chunking to check out of Satan's lair. We had to choose 1 day processing as its a holiday on Monday and we fly to Taiwan that evening. Either way we can hopefully pick up our passports and Chinese visa after 2pm tomorrow.
Having managed to totally ignore the touts on the way back we quickly headed to make a get-a-away. We grabbed our bags and went to check out. No one was in the office so we threw the keys through the bars on the door and headed to the safety of the elevator area. This may have seemed a good idea at first but it was disgusting. It smelled of raw sewage and the lift took an eternity to arrive. During the 3 minutes wait we seriously contemplated the emergency exits and windows as an escape route but managed to refrain for just long enough for the lift to arrive.
On reaching the bowels of hell that is Chunking Mansions ground floor we saw another poor sucker wondering what he was letting himself in for. We quietly chuckled to ourselves before making a break for freedom outside. Amazingly not one tout tried to offer us a place to stay, perhaps they realised what the answer would be?
We were leaving Kowloon to go to Hong Kong Island, where our new hostel was located. The heat was pretty bad and I had a bad back after last nights killer excuse for a bed. Needless to say the last thing I wanted was a tout to offer me a fake watch whilst I was lugging around half my body weight in 30C+ heat. I am also in even less need of a tailor in such situations but that didn't stop 3 people asking me! Perhaps it was my nicely creased shirt?
The ferry to HK Island was a bargain at $HK2.2 and took about 10 minutes. Sort of knew where the hostel was so set about walking there, which took about 20 minutes. Once at the road I managed to walk passed the hostel entrance 3 times before having to ask for directions. Thats what happens in a high rise city where everything is invariably on the 5th floor and not sign posted.
Once in the hostel reception we tried to sort out our dorm accommodation. I think the owner was rather fed up that day as everyone wanted to stay in the dorms so we agreed to stay in a twin room instead as it was only 1 pound more a night, and far more comfortable.
There were a number of restaurants across the street so went over for a quick look. Found a Taiwanese restaurant and had some delicious hot and spicy pork for less tan 3 quid. Saw that it was pissing down outside so made a quick dash back across the road to our room to catch up on some much needed washing and diary writing. The rain continued for over 2 hours and was due to a typhoon wrecking havoc on south east asia.
Once the rain had subsided we set back across the road for dinner. Had some Indonesian noodles for about double the price of lunch and headed back to the hostel, massive bottle of beer in hand, to relax for a while.
We had seen a sports bar down the road showing Premier League games so we thought we would go along. The beer was ridiculously expensive so we milked a pint for 4 hours! Were so tired during the Spurs game that we left at half time, whilst they were losing, and headed back to the hostel for a well earned sleep.