Saturday, January 29, 2011

Trip to China (pt1)

- The Flight - I am fortunate to have a sister that works for Emirates, so I get discounted flights. The best value is to fly business class standby. However, after not getting on any of the three flights, I might have to look at the numbers and re-evaluate. Stress levels will definitely be apart of the calculation. The plan was to fly to Dubai and spend a day visiting my sister , and then head to Hong Kong. Since it’s such a long journey it would be painful to fly to UAE then HK without a break. I bought a ticket direct to HK. It saved me 14 hours of travelling, gained me a day in HK, and cost me $500 extra. With less stress added into the calculation, I think the confirmed ticket was worth it.

Hong Kong

I arrived in Hong Kong at 6.15am, and took the airport express into the city. The shuttle ride to the hotel was the first sign that I wasn't in Kansas anymore. Nothing was open, no one was on the street, there were high rise buildings everywhere, and there was a hazy fog around. It was like a post apocalyptic movie. I check into the hotel and pass out for a couple of hours.  When I awaken I take a walk. Wow. From post apocalyptic to the busiest streets I have ever seen.  I make my way past some markets, numerous fake Nike stores, gazillions of people asking if I want a suit or a fake watch, and eventually make it to the waterfront.

- Fortune Teller - 'sure is pretty here isn't it?' asked a guy with a beard down to his tits. He shook my hand. If I was wearing a watch, I would bet on it being gone. After asking where I was from he stated that he was a fortune teller from India. Humour me Mr fortune teller. After paying me compliment after compliment he wrote down a type of flower scrunched up the piece of paper and put it in my hand. I chose one out of the three flowers, Lily, Rose, and Tulip. "pick one." - "Lily." - "Pick another one." - "Rose." - He looked at me with such a proud face, "open the paper". Holy Shit it said Rose! He then went on about how I would live a long happy life, and I would have a lot of luck on the 1/01/11. But only if I put money in his leather book. Gave him about tree fiddy for his efforts.

- New Years - I'm not sure what it's like in other countries, but in NZ there is a correlation between how drunk you are and how good your new years is. In HK its different. Beers are cheap and you can drink on the street, yet no one was drinking. We joined the majority and didnt drink because we didn't want to spend the whole night making our way through massive crowds on the way to the toilet. Biran and I watched a vid of a NY celebration and they estimated half a million people on both sides of the harbour. Yikes. So, for my first sober NY in years, Biran and I make our way through the seas of people to find a good spot to view the fireworks. After a two hour wait the firework show was less than spectacular, but overall it was a cool experience. The number of people, boats and everyones friendly attitude made for a cool atmosphere and a good time.

subway after new years

- Other Activities -  There is so much to see and do in HK. We had 5 days there and could have easily spent another 5 looking around the place. There were plenty of markets we didn't hit up, including the gold fish market, flower market, and Stanley market. We could have taken a trip to old HK, looked at some temples and taken a boat out for a tour. Next time.

Me at Lantau Island

Biran at HK Disney

At the Peak

Overall, HK was awesome. The mix of the modernness, and its culture from both Britain and China make it a unique city. There is plenty to do and friendly people all around. If I don't come back here, I will be surprised.

Next stop Macau.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

HK thus far

Just a few pics from my first couple of days in Hong Kong. I will write up a trip report when I have more time, and when it's not New Years eve.

Happy New Years!