36 Hours in Hong Kong. Sounds rather like a Paul Kelly song where he’d drawl on about some bloke wandering Asia looking to cleanse the anguish of losing his Blue Heeler. That has Australia-Day-in-London-pub-sing-a-long all over it, but more accurately it is the first-stop itinerary of my latest travels. For those of you who just joined us, I occasionally travel for work in my day job in the para-coffee industry. Hong Kong was named after a giant ape. Her brother was also very famous and had a movie made about him. It is basically an Island or two that holds approximately 7 million people, although 40 million tourists pass through it every year making it the number 1 visited destination in the world. You could say that Hong Kong is the turnstile of the globe. I probably wouldn’t though, especially at social functions where you are trying to impress folks. They’ll most likely think you’re a bit of a muppet.
I arrived late in the afternoon and learnt far too much about the metro system and far too little about the quality of the taxi service. I spent another frustrating few hours trying to connect to in-room broadband with some fishing wire posing as cable that the hotel provided. It didn’t work. I complained and room service bought me a shiny new white cable that looked like it was from Steve Job’s private collection. Then I trekked onto the streets to muster up some chow. I came across nothing that tickled, took nor striked my fancy. In a daze of frustrated confusion I settled upon a Thai restaurant. When the green curry that I ordered was all ‘green’ (it was glowing enough to run a small car) and too little ‘curry’, I decided I’d cut my losses. I staggered back to the hotel, but came across a massage studio.” That would do the trick” I thought. “Pay some middle aged Chinese woman to rub your aching, knotted muscles at 9.30pm on Tuesday. You are in Asia afterall.” So I went up to the place and was ushered firstly into small room, before being reassigned to one befitting my giant stature. Note to self: you are not built for Asia. Public transport doesn’t want you, clothing stores and footwear outlets don’t want you and hotel bathrooms certainly don’t want you either. Anyway, I donned some grandpa pyjama outfit while this lady smoothed out the kinks of the day for only $27 AUD.
The next morning I was up for a business meeting. I know this because I put on a jacket and a business face. It face fell off somewhere in the elevator on the way down from my room. The day was great stuff. Edmond my guide took me to a dozen cafes around Hong Kong, where I consumed at least six espressos. Later that afternoon I couldn’t work out why my phone was vibrating constantly in my pocket, until I realised it was my leg taking the full hit of the caffeine.
Before getting the ferry across to Kowloon, we stopped at the Apple store. I need free WiFi, but I also couldn’t get over the queues. I asked one guy what they were queuing for. My Cantonese is that great but I think he said he was just there because everyone else was doing it. The ferry goes across Victoria Harbour and only costs about $2.50HKD which is cheap considering the view. Miss Kowloon doesn’t always ride the ferry I am told, but if she isn’t commuting that day you can always admire the other view of the cityscape. Public transport is actually pretty fun in Hong Kong. Their double decker trams are super cool. Near the tram stops are these spiritual elders with incense and shrines who will give prayers and offerings to break the curse of your bad luck. I don’t quite get what they do or which God they are dealing with, but judging by the offerings they all had he must really like oranges. Perhaps he has a bad cold or is just vitamin C deficient.
We concluded the day with a dumpling smorgasbord. They were mostly those magic ones with soup inside. Afterwards I went late night shopping at big department store. They had their annual ‘Thankful Day’ sale on. Thankful Day is an annual holiday where everyone gets together to remember and celebrate the power of 10-30% OFF.
Tomorrow I fly out of Hong Kong. Not by myself. I will be using the services of an airplane. I can’t quite do that yet. Next stop is Korea…they didn’t actually specify whether it was North or South. The North is the one with beaches right?