Day 1 - Hong Kong 2012

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Asia » Hong Kong » Kowloon
May 1st 2012
Published: May 16th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Fancy that no dramas leaving good ole NZ this time, for those first time readers last time we left for an overseas trip we got hauled out from boarding because they found something suspicious in our luggage, a printer, however I digress. Arriving in Hong king airport in fog, it was hard to see many details of the landscape apart from mountains. Breezing through customs, like no check of our baggage at all we couldn’t find our transfer people and I didn’t have the contact details in my hand luggage it was packed away, so I am stressed to the max after a long flight and no sleep, we finally figured out we were in the wrong entry area, for those of you who don’t know HK airport is really really huge, like bigger than a big thing. Leaving the airport was like walking into a solid wall of heat, it was so hot, 30 odd degrees at 8,00am. Finally locating our transfer lady, Angela Wong, we left for the long drive into HK central where we were staying. The roads are cement and uneven, but the suspension bridges are amazing, they tower into the low hanging cloud. We arrive at our hotel and checked in at the Park Hotel an excellent hotel in a great location close to the main transport and shopping hubs. Top marks to the park we rate at 8 out of 10 all round. Not really knowing what we wanted to do we had seen an old ramshackle set of building on the drive in that pam wanted to take dome shots of so we left the hotel and walked down the street, past the flashing neon signs advertising foot massages (more on THOSE later), tailors, cameras, watches, jewellery, any product you can think of. It is a consumers dream. We catch a cab to the Old Fruit Markets, about 5 km away and really see the back streets of Hong Kong for the first time. Honestly, its pretty grotty. Many of the apartment buildings have peeling paint, rust stains reaching from the roof to the ground and are generally filthy. The fruit markets are very run down and unappealing to my untrained and un-artstic eye but Pam thought they were great so after about an hour in the area but we buy an orange each and head for the Ladies Market. There is a group of ancient old men playing Mah Jongg outside a fruit store that was typical of life in the back streets of HK. There are men with carts running around everywhere, delivering goods into shops, out of shops, out of trucks, buses and vans, running along streets, up alleyways, it seems to be the main method of transporting goods around the city.
We wander up Nathan Rd, the commercial heart of Hong Kong. It is a hugely busy 4 lane road, with shops lining each side. The shops are grouped together by what they sell. Clothing, makeup, jewellery, electronics, watches, designer footwear, designer handbags, the names read an A list celebrity credit card bill. Armani, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Apple, Canon, the list just goes on and on. Most of the jewellery shops heave Fook in the name. I laugh, because I am an 8 year boy at heart. We head under Nathan St to the Ladies Markets, and it is the best shopping experience of my life. Small Asian men run up to you and ask "You want watch? Rolex, I get you best price on Rolex" and so on. Hilarious. The markets run for 4 or 5 city blocks, and are all temporary structures made of steel frame and tarp, filled to overflowing with stuff. Cheap, cheap stuff. More watches, toys, clothes, wallets, handbags, jewellery, Dvds, handicrafts, you name it, it is here. The stallholders are aggressive too, they will grab you as you walk past and try to steer you into their stall. Great fun! Haggling is a real laugh as well. Lunch is in a tiny restaurant, where nothing is written in English. The food is incredible, and costs $126 Hong Kong dollars for the three of us, which is about $20nz. We took the underground (MTR) to the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, right on the Victoria Harbour, we amble around there for a while, and take in the sights, before going across the harbour on the Star ferry, which used to be the only way to get from Kowloon to Hong Kong. We take the MTR back to the hotel for a wee rest. Then back to the promenade for the Symphony of Lights show, which is a laser light show held every night, some buildings have lasers on them, and others light up in different orders. It is kinda disappointing really as we were expecting something a little more.
We head to the Temple Street Markets for dinner and a wander around, but after the ladies market they were a little tame, We have kebabs for dinner, because they are easy and we are knackered. We take a taxi back to the hotel, and on the way discover those foot massage places massage more than just your feet. Zac was telling us he got propositioned by some old mama san who told him get nice girl for foot massage and full service, Zac tells us he scarpered, but now I think about it he was a little late getting that night. Thus ends our first day. We are all knackered, sweaty and smelly but we have had a great time, and can't wait for tomorrow.

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