Hong Kong

AsiaDestinationsHong Kong

(Not) missing you at all

IMG_1474

On our last day in Hong Kong, we hailed a taxi yesterday morning to get to the airport at 7.30 am.

The driver was in the middle of making his own instant noodles (hot water, packets of seasoning all in the basket) when he stopped his vehicle. He drove to the airport while eating his noodles, stopping before he entered the expressway to Lantau island to finish his breakfast, then flung everything – the bowl, chopsticks and remaining noodles – out of the window.

Free of his breakfast burden, he expansively swerved the tiny taxi into various lanes while pushing 120 km/hr, wobbling to pick his nose hard then rubbing them between his fingers. Lather, rinse, repeat. He cleared his throat loudly and then coughed hard into his windscreen. Grimacing was all TC and I could do, thinking that was exactly why SARS had spread so easily.

The appalling but fast taxi ride aside (we reached the airport really early), the trip back as once again fraught with noisy unmentionables. So many talk of Hong Kong as a vibrant city, its stellar shopping and its superb food. Yet I can’t help but think of cramped spaces, rude people and overrated food :all the hallmarks of an unfriendly urban centre.

Not missing you at all, really.

read more
AsiaDestinationsHong Kong

The madness of Hong Kong

IMG_1467

When the Travel Companion (TC) and I decided on a whim to visit Hong Kong several years back, we never thought that there were going to be others who were interested in coming along. Our visit to Hong Kong only materialised a month ago, where in a fit of planning, shouting and screaming, the hotel rooms were booked and the flight quickly paid for. In the days that led up to this trip, various ailments plagued the travelling members – but we somehow made it there.

When TC and I decided on a whim to visit Hong Kong several years back, we never thought that there were going to be others who were interested in coming along. Our visit to Hong Kong only materialised a month ago, where in a fit of planning, shouting and screaming, the hotel rooms were booked and the flight quickly paid for. In the days that led up to this trip, various ailments plagued the travelling members – but we somehow made it there.

IMG_1475

IMG_1366

“There” is a place so packed, so full of neon lights and many steam-filled side stores. An amalgamation of smells – a mishmash of sewer, dirty back lanes, Chinese five spice – hits you the moment you step out into the sweltering, polluted Hong Kong air and the crowds. “There” is a contradiction of worlds as dilapidated high-rise buildings sit on top of ultra modern designer shops and shopping malls, where a 40-minute MTR ride gets you into the many hiking trails that lead into the hills and archipelagos.

map-03-dragon-back

Which was what I opted to do on the third day, taking a hiking route deep into Hong Kong Island into Tai Tam Country Park, onto the Dragon’s Back trail that is part 8 of a larger 50-km hiking trail called the HK trail. Tired of the crowds, I followed Martin Heyes, a Brit who’s a familiar face to the staff of Starbucks opposite the General Post Office, on the Walk HK tour. Having lived in Hong Kong for over 3 decades and having arrived while it was still a former British colony, he came as part of the police force, who, amongst British civil servants or governors seconded to their colonies, needed to learn the language of the place quickly. Along with another Asian couple, we made our merry way eastwards, then southwards.

IMG_1530

IMG_1584

Getting to the Dragon’s back trail was in itself an interesting journey – a tram from Central to Tin Hau, then on the island line to Shau Kei Wan, then a number 9 bus that to the To Tei Wan bus stop which is just after a rather inconspicuous roundabout. After an hour’s walk into a forested area, a flight of steps leads onto the Dragon’s Back route proper. Upwards of about 200+ metres, the weather was brilliant for our purposes – cloudy but cool and windy through the whole five-ish kilometres. We climbed Shek-O peak, then descended to Shek-O road runs parallel to the entire hiking route where we caught the same and only no. 9 bus back to Shau Kei Wan.

I came back only to hear that TC had gone to Disneyland, enjoying a second childhood with Mickey and Minnie.

 

read more

Pin It on Pinterest