East meets West

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  ,
Saturday, March 12, 2011

To ease our transition into life on the road we splashed out on a 4-star hotel in Hong Kong. This luxury included a swimming pool, gym (though both remained unused!), a very helpful concierge, in-room TV, free wi-fi and aircon, and a great view of the city from the vertigo-inducing 15th floor. This was a great intro to the city too except when we arrived it was all rather hazy... due to the weather, jet-lag and sleep deprivation.

 Because we left home in great haste and had lots of London-related stuff "to-do", we did precious little research on Hong Kong. This made life a little more challenging, in fact we got a tad lost looking for our hotel! Great way to start... and this while carrying a 40 litre backpack each plus dragging an oversized duffle bag with our formal clothes for the wedding plus our ski clothes and accessories (the plan is to dump these at an NZ charity shop at the very first opportunity!).

Hong Kong is a fascinating city – cosmopolitan in nature, with loads of international chain stores and restaurants, lively till the early hours, very social, and very expensive. Kinda like an Asian London, but here East meets West. Everyone speaks English very well and unlike London, our experience of service was impeccable!

We mastered the public transport system in no time, using the average local's choice and the cheapest form, that is, the tram. Our concierge informed us of the travelator. Rather than a bad Swarzenegger movie, it's a long series of escalators that eliminates the need to climb the very hilly streets of HK. From there we followed our hungry noses to an authentic street food vendor and tucked into the obligatory steamed rice accompanied by spicy fried chicken and beef. An awesome first choice! We showed off our chopstick-wielding skills, much to the amusement of locals. The trotters stew was not so great, too soup-like and bland for our liking, but pleasantly reminiscent of a Cape Town classic, "pens en potjies".

Aside = We love trying new beers wherever we go in the world so we've decided to keep a photo record of the ones we've tried. Watch this space!

Back to Hong Kong...We lost 8 hours flying to HK so jetlag and fatigue was an inevitable ball and chain. But we pushed on and were determined to paint the town red! It was Saturday night, after all! A Lee motto has always been: "Sleep when you're D.E.D. dead!" ;-D. Ryan, an American buddy that we met in London, lived in HK for a while. He advised that we check out Lan Kwai Fong. It was definitely the place to be! A series of bar-lined streets with revellers spilling into the streets, and deafening tunes pumping and competing for airtime. The crowd was mostly Western but very cosmopolitan. We suspect that they were migrants working for multi-nationals so a rather older crowd of professionals.

Our second day was also our last full day in HK so we headed out early to make hay. We hopped aboard a ferry to check out Lamma Island, a sound recommendation by dear friends, Chiu and Lisa. Another great decision because it helped drop our shoulders a(whole)nother level! It's a very laidback island with a few shops and restaurants, and a leisurely trail that takes you across the island in about 40 minutes. But we strolled at snail's pace, stopping for a meal and photo opps, including one of us sipping yet another beer. Then we strolled some more. When we came across a quiet beach it was undoubtedly time for a well-deserved nap on the warm, intoxicating sand... or maybe that was the beer?

That night we checked out the night market. Only "window-shopping" for use though! We won't be buying anything non-consumable in a hurry. After all, we just liberated ourselves from most of the “stuff” we managed to accumulate over the past several years! It's hilarious how markets the world over have the same junk. As the Thai saying goes: "same-same, but different". We ceased browsing to enjoy a proper seafood meal at one of the many restaurants alongside the market. Deeleecious! Another late night meant we still hadn't caught up on sleep but this was all part of a cunning plan. A plan to increase the likelihood of us passing out on the plane to Auckland. Next day we checked out, put our bags into the luggage store and squeezed in one more tourist attraction. We simply couldn't leave without giving in to the city's biggest tourist trap, ag, I mean, without getting a proper view of the famous skyline from the best vantage point. We joined the string of tourists waiting to board the Peak tram and worked our way up to the Peak Tower. It was a crystal-clear day so we enjoyed awesome 360 degree views. 

I guess that tourist traps earn said reputation for a reason. Next we dashed off to catch a tram back to the hotel, then an airport bus and got there before the check-in even started! Very unlike the Lees! This meant time to fit in one more meal ;-D. As you can tell, the weekend in HK was very much about the food. To leave without trying dim sum would be absolute sacrilege, so it had to be done! And it was awesome!Our time in HK was very short, just a weekend, really. As a result it was all about fitting in one thing after the next after the next. As you can tell by the nature of this entry..."first we did, then we did that, then..."                                                                                                                  

This is exactly how we DON'T like to travel, and exactly how we WON'T need to travel for a very long time. From henceforth time will be on our side and we will only need to leave one place once we get bored...

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Rob on

Then you came to see us :-)
...call you later, we are off to Rotorua but will see you and the Mario cart soon.

thelees on

Indeed, we did! See next entry...

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