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Published: April 27th 2006
Hong Kong from Victoria Peak
Amazing lights from the top of the mountain. Beautiful!
So how do I start to explain my trip to Hong Kong....I guess my best explanation/justification for my random/last minute trip to Hong Kong would be that "I am young, I only live once." and to abide by my quote of life "Carpe Diem." You see, mid March these 2 guys from Cal happened to be in Hiroshima visiting fellow JET/Cal grad/fellow traveler partner (see past photos) Jeff. There names are Ryan and Misha. This guy Misha, well we hit it off pretty well. I may have even found a bigger Cal fan than myself, only being rivaled by mic woman Kate. After a fun night/day spent together carousing around Hiroshima and Miyajima, I thought it was over as he took off on his 5 months trek from Japan to Spain, and well I would be here until at least August 2007. Our chances to reunite would be possibly at a Cal football game or Lair of the Bear family camp. Somehow he managed to find internet (possibly run by yaks?) during his trek in Mongolia. A few sappy emails back and forth, and before I knew it I was booking a flight to meet him in Hong Kong. Crazy yes,
You think Misha purposely picked a hostel that was named after a Japanese City :-).
emotions aside completely absurd and overpriced, had the potential to blow up in my face, potentially romantic and a fabulous time-very high...hell how could I not go! Every girl/romantic out there that heard my story said I would be a fool not to go! As I said earlier, Carpe Diem. Regardless of what happened, I was going to see a new city that I hadn't seen before! I had heard great things about this city and originally wasn't on my itinerary during my time in Asia. So, ask yourself what is the craziest thing you have done for a boy (as much as I hate to admit this), and yes folks, I may have topped you. I'm turning www.travelblog.org into traveling romance website!!
At the airport, so nervous and shaking, I get out of customs expecting to see Misha, and well, no one was there! I found Misha outside customs. From that moment our funfilled weekend adventure in Hong Kong took off. First stop, hostel to drop off our stuff. I borrowed my friend's LP and was reading up on Hong Kong, specifically different places to stay. They have a section dedicated to the slum hostels of Hong Kong
The Victoria Peak Cable Car
Never crashed, and never broken in over 100 years! Now thats something you don't want to miss when you come to HK ;-)
on Kowloon, so famous that there has been a movie made on this building full of shitty hostels. Oooh and where were we staying? I will quote parts of LP and their wonderful description of the Chungking Mansions:"Otherwise there is always the less-than-salubrious stairs, which support a large amount of wildlife, including rare species of aggressive flying cockroaches. Be grateful for the stray cats, as they keep the rats in check," or "This huge ramshackle high-rise dump," or lastly "You may be put off by the undercurrent of sleaze and the peculiar odors - a potent mixture of cooking fat, incense, and shit." Quailty, that's all I have to say. Yet, the hostel we stayed at was clean, we used our gut (well Misha had some logical reason that could rival 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding's father's explanation fo windex and Greek history that clearly made no sense) that it was safe, and all in all added to our experience. No problems whatsoever, and in fact was BETTER than some of the places (ie the reptilarium and tree house) in Thailand! So, if you are looking for accommodation, hit up the Mong Kok building and the Osaka Hostel!
that we headed to Victoria Peak, and took the cable car to the top. Quite historic, as it is over 100 years old and has never broken once. It is a fun ride up bc you can see a lot of the city. At points the car is at a 45 degree angle, and if left standing without a seat, you are holding on/leaning so you don't fall. At the top we saw spectacular views of the city. No one does lights like these Asian countries! After that we went down and attempted to see the light show, but got lost, so instead went to the drinking district of Hong Kong Island. We grabbed a kombini beer, wandered, got some Chinese food (yummy! back to my roots!), got another street beer, and then headed to meet up with a Berkeley alumni party. You see, Misha has contacted all the cal alumni groups in the countries he is visiting. Us Cal grads spreading far and wide...I am telling you we are taking over the world! They were actually having a going away party for two fellow cal grads returning to (gasp!) Palo Alto (home of our rival Stanfurd). After a few
drinks they pointed us in the direction of a fun club with a great coverband, playing everything from Blink 182 to "It's Raining Men." An absolutely wonderful first evening/night in Hong Kong!
The next day the weather was not the best so we decided to have a lazy Sunday morning and feasted on my favorite, DIM SUM!!!! I love how they bring around the little carts and you get to choose what to eat. Unfortunately for Jewish Misha, there were quite a few pork dishes, yet when in doubt and looked delicious, they all of a sudden turned to Chicken. So the BBQ pork buns all of a sudden were BBQ chicken buns. A meal enjoyed by all. After that we wandered around the pier of Hong Kong Island and up in the hills in search of the world's longest escalator. Indeed we found it and rode it, exchanging some of the corniest jokes I have ever heard. After that we rode a boat to Kowloon and wandered up to Kowloon Park where we thought we would get to participate in Kung Fu. We were rather excited, only to be let down as we were only allowed to
Look, No Hands!
Cable car at a 45 degree angle
watch. Bummer deal, still it was fun. After that we wandered the park doing some great people watching, then found our way north where we hit up the jade market, fish market, flower market, and the bird market. Hong Kong is all about shopping. I was told this before even going there. After that we headed down to see the nightly light show. At 8 pm all the buildings in the main harbor have their lights flashing and there was music going. Rather cheesy, yet still entertaining. We headed up to the night market (again more shopping-I got two watches for 5 bucks Misha got speakers for 15), and had dinner. After that, it was already late, and headed back. Monday morning we had one last meal and before we knew it, I was headed back to Japan and the boys were on their long journey to Vietnam. A quick trip and may not sound like much but it was really fun. A weekend full of good company, a fabulous city, really bad jokes, some beers, a few squid tentacles, a lot of neon lights, FABULOUS accomdation, all in all a great trip.
So many may ask, was it
I'm as Big as a Building!
Neat buildings and lights all over the city
worth it? Indeed yes, some of the best money I have ever spent. Crazy? Yes. Fun? You betcha. Maybe I am the crazy girl who flew to Hong Kong to meet a boy....but he is the crazy boy meeting me in the Philippines for Golden Week. Best part is, Misha and I went to college together for four years and even sat within spitting distance of each other at the Main Commencement at Berkeley, yet we never met. Instead we decided to meet in Japan/Hong Kong/Philippines and completely surpass California/America/Western Hemisphere. Who needs 'em anyway ;-).
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