Hong Kong

Trip Start Feb 18, 2011
Trip End Feb 17, 2012

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Where I stayed
Canadian Guesthouse
What I did
Dialogue in the dark
Chinese tea appreciation class
Chinese cake making class

Flag of China  ,
Thursday, June 23, 2011

After making sure that the internet is not going to be censored (Chinese influence) and booking a guesthouse in Kowloon we felt ready to visit Hong Kong.

A little overwhelmed by the huge amount of skyscrapers and combination of the hot and moist air, we made our way to our accommodation, located in the - what we later found out - quite infamous Chung King Mansion – Building.

I read some articles where it was referred to as "drug hole" and “fire trap”. The bad reputation of the building surely contributes to the unusual low prices of accommodation.

Although we might have thought twice about booking there if I had read that earlier, we actually didn't have any problem whatsoever with our stay at the mansion.

Our room was surprisingly small. Only an estimated 4-5 square meter including the bed and the bathroom! After unpacking our backpacks, there was no space left to walk inside the room.

But the cleanliness of the room and the convenient location of the mansion made it a really good place to stay for us.

Hong Kong was very interesting for us. Sayo was always trying to understand the Chinese characters (a lot of the characters are also used in the Japanese language, but only the simple ones share the same meaning).

Most of the time we escaped from the boiling heat and humidity of the day by hopping from air-conditioned mall to mall in the concrete jungle of the city, but in the pleasantly warm evenings we enjoyed going down to Temple street’s night market, taking the cable-car to Victoria Peak or just walking around in the lights of the metropolis. (Don’t go to the Peak on weekends… We waited more than one hour only to purchase the tickets, after which you have to start waiting to actually using it – but definitely an impressive view at night over the lit-up skyscrapers!)

Sayo also organized a meet-up with Bowie, a young Hongkongese couchsurfer woman. We met her on our very first day in Hong Kong and she showed us around the Island by the famous Double-decker tram. She also invited us to her friend’s little home-cooking-show, to prepare a popular Japanese/Austrian dish.

This little cooking show later turned out to be a semi-professional recording including a crew of two light-technicians, a camera man and an editor who are currently generating content for a new iphone-app.

Knowing nothing about that, we arrived sweaty and in our backpacker-cloths to cook “Omu-rice” (Egg-omelet filled with vegetable-rice and ketchup).

After overcoming the shock, we really produced two servings of Omrice in front of the camera (as cooking that dish is not really a two-person task, I was mainly standing around trying to look normal – what probably just caused the exact opposite ;).

Nevertheless, we ended up having quite some fun that evening.

Another experience worth mentioning was the “Dialogue in the dark”. (www.dialogue-in-the-dark.hk)

The website explains it like that:

“Living in today’s world, being exposed to an environment of complete darkness is a rarity.
Come experience the Dialogue in the Dark exhibition, a 75-minute journey through the dark.
Explore five different exciting environments with sounds, smells, temperatures and textures, discover Hong Kong like never before.”

In the beginning we each were given a white cane (the stick that is used to find your way) and sent into a dark room. After the door closed, it was completely dark – which means PITCH BLACK.

We were then welcomed by a Cecilia`s voice, which led us through the whole experience. She knew the rooms, obstacles and even the location of everyone of the group at all times – I could hear her rushing around the group to keep everyone on track, so that I actually suspected her to be wearing a night-vision device of some kind ;).

As it turned out Cecilia was totally blind since many years and everything was just the result of her skill to use her other senses. Very impressive.
Especially after realizing how lost we are without our eyes in daily situations like getting on the ferry or choosing items in the supermarket.
Many different feelings came up, from being helplessly lost and scared, exhausted from trying to see something, to totally enjoying the sounds, fragrances and textures without any visual distractions.

In between these things, we attended a “Chinese cake making class”, a “Tea appreciation class”, found the without doubt best COCO-MANGO–Shake ever produced (look for a tiny streetshop called “Coco-master” near Templestreet), got offered to buy a fake Rolex and consumed lots of Dim Sum =)

After spending one week in the city itself, we wished we had some more time to see the surroundings of HK… but the show (trip) must go on.
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