So I got up at 5, got on a nearly empty train to Taipei. Watched to sunrise over the ocean shortly after the journey began which was kind of cool, but I don’t like beating the sun up. I got to the airport roughly 3 1/2 hours before my flight, but when I got to the check in counter they offered to put me on an earlier flight to Hong Kong. 2 hours earlier, so no waiting around for hours at the airport. First thing I noticed in Hong Kong was the smog.
It was hot too, not quite as hot as Taipei has been though. I got to the hotel easily enough via airport bus and met the owner who is very friendly and speaks excellent English. All the transport signs are in English and Cantonese and I think anyone I’m likely to be dealing with will speak English, which makes being here pretty easy.
I’m staying near the tip of the mainland peninsula called Kowloon, not on Hong Kong island itself since it’s much cheaper here. Only one stop on the metro from the island anyway. My hotel is on Nathan road, which is the main street through Kowloon.
Full of shops, restaurants, double decker buses, taxis and hawkers. Way too many hawkers, many of whom seem to be originally from India. Foot massages, tailors, jewelry shops, restaurants and fortune tellers seem to be the most popular among them.
After checking in at the hotel I wandered down to the promenade at the end of the peninsula to get a view of Hong Kong itself. Quite impressive. After walking around there for a while I took the metro under the harbour and found one of the nitelife districts very close to the central metro stop. Lots of shops, mainly western, restaurants featuring all sorts of food and plenty of bars. Hadn’t seen this many western people since, well since before I was in Asia. I had some noodles for dinner, and then stumbled on some kind of street carnival. After that started to die down I stepped into a pub where they were showing a live premier league game, I never turn down the possibility of seeing Chelsea lose so I had a couple beers there.
Today I ate lunch at a dim-sum restaurant, mmm pork dumplings, then went to the Hong Kong museum of history. Pretty interesting how the British gained it 160 years ago, all to do with trading and war with China over the opium trade. They even had a video at the end of the display where I could watch good ol’ Price Charles officially handing over Hong Kong to the Chinese in 97. Hong Kong is part of China, but as a “Special Administrative Region” with a high level of autonomy. No visa required to land here, I got 180 days stamp upon arrival.
After that, and finally getting my laundry done so I can put truly clean clothes on tomorrow (first time in a while!) I went down to the promenade again, this time for the night view which is better than the day view.
They also put on a sound and light show involving a lot of the buildings in the skyline every night, pretty cool.
After that I took the ferry across the bay for the view, and then went to Soho, another top dining and entertainment district on HK island. Not much Chinese food in this area, but whatever is there is a quality place for the most part. I ate Ukrainian, partly because I didn’t want to walk to another region where I could find more local food and partly because, well, how often do you see a Ukrainian restaurant? I think I’ve could’ve eaten something from any continent on earth at a place on this one street. It also has an escalator running through it from the business district to the high rise apt bldgs on the mountain…