Popped over to Hong Kong for a few days holiday last Tuesday night and got back on the 1st which is exactly 9 years since the handover. Even though it used to belong to the UK I was still expecting it to be more like Japan than UK but how wrong I was.
DAY ONE: The heat hit me as soon as I exited the airport and many sweaty days were to follow. I went to Kowloon to check into Chungking Mansions which is one of those places people describe as having character but that really just means its a sh*thole. 15 floors of guest houses in a very decrepit and dilapidated building which is ironically next to one of Hong Kongs best hotels. I was given a very cheap sweatbox on the 15th floor with a view of another wall in a dirty alley. It did the most basic of jobs anyway at the very cheapest of rates. Didn’t bother me too much anyway as I like to slum it a little when I go away as its more interesting in some ways and will inevitably give me a more interesting anecdote than staying in a hotel. Within an hour of checking in I was already in a street bar watching the Brazil game among a huge crowd of Ghanaians while sampling the local beer and some food which was of a size I’m not used to getting in Japan.
DAY TWO: The next morning I took the star ferry to Hong Kong island but as soon as i arrived the heavens opened up in a very heavy way and then it got even worse and thundery showers appeared for a few hours resulting in me having to buy an umbrella. I rode on the worlds only double decker trams, ventured into a street restaurant, visited the Botanical zoological gardens and Hong Kong park and then took a cable car up to The Peak which despite the clouds and showers provided an amazing view of the harbour and the high rises. Unfortunately, I forgot to recharge my camera battery before flying out there so I had to splash out more than I would have liked on a new battery.
DAY THREE: I took a bus down to Stanley in the south of Hong Kong island. This is famous for its market but I was going there to catch some sun on the beach there and as ever ended up getting sunburned in true British fashion. I later had dim sum (steamed dumpling snacks in a bamboo basket) in a restaurant on the waterfront which certainly hit my wallet hard but i thought i should sample this traditional chinese snack. As is often the case the view was spoiled by ongoing construction work which obviously is never seen in the brochures and guidebooks.
DAY FOUR: After a heavy night on the beers with a german guy and a couple of Brits I was woken up at 11.40am by a woman knocking at my door…………and then I let her out!! Seriously though the woman wanted to know if I was staying another night which shocked me as I never thought I would miss the 11.30 check-out time. Once i’d got sorted I made my way to Lanteau Island by ferry where i took a rickety bus ride to visit the Big Budha and monastery which did no good for my hangover.
Following that i sampled the ‘real’ Chinese food in terms of the McDonalds Chicken Fantastic which was a rice cake burger thing and very nice it was too. I saw a spectacular light show on the harbour front at night and then went to my regular bar to watch the world cup quarter finals until 5am when I had to take an early bus to the airport. It was a very long and tiring day but it saved me on a nights accommodation.