Kevin is so eloquent isn’t he? I let him write the good stuff and I figured that I will share some of the realities of travel. Remember the plane ride he was talking about? With the friendly pharmaceuticals (thanks friends – you know who you are!) well let me add to that by saying that despite the pharmaceuticals AND noise cancelling headphones – we could hear the guy behind us snoring – louder than a freight train, I kid you not, and it wasn’t a brief interlude .. it was the entire flight! Seriously – I was so grateful we weren’t sitting right next to him – they might have found a dead man when we arrived in Hong Kong. They should charge snorers extra, don’t you think?!
Upon arrival in Hong Kong, we checked into our ‘luxury’ hotel. Our room wasn’t quite ready so we dropped our bags – I changed into a t-shirt and my Tevas while Kevin kept his jeans, hiking boots and long sleeved t-shirt on. This was fine for a while, until we waited for 1 hour to take the funicular up the mountain, waiting in the hot sun and it must have been 90 degrees and humid. I thought I was going to lose him for a while – he looked so miserable and tired and really, really hot. Every time we walked through an air-conditioned mall or shop his face beamed with pleasure. Lesson learned – I think he is going to dump his jeans soon. That’s what happens when you travel with a backpack –you soon learn what is essential and what was wishful packing. It’s just not worth the weight to carry something you will barely ever wear, especially after a traumatic first day of wearing the unworthy item.
Let’s talk water, you know how everyone always tells you DON’T DRINK THE WATER. Well on that first morning, since we arrived at 8am, we went into a restaurant and ordered food and an apple tea – well this apple tea was a cup full of crushed ice and a chopped up apple (not sure if there was actually tea in there) – we both looked at it with a mix of horror and an overwhelming desire for something cold and thirst quenching to drink. We went for it and prayed for the best – we got lucky. Hong Kong is really modern and the water seems to be clean enough. We didn’t get sick and it sure tasted good – I don’t recommend taking the risk though and we will follow the rules once we arrive in India.
Ok, now you are dying to hear about the food scene, right? Well I have to say – if you like food – this is the place to be. We are trying to eat local as much as possible, and I have put my vegan efforts on hold so that I can experiment with the cuisine. We have had michelin rated noodles and dumplings, the most amazing dim sum we have ever tried (can you say soup dumplings? They even had Dim Sum that they decorated with a cute piggy face – sorry I didn’t take a photo and have regretted it since), we have had pineapple buns, egg tarts and even macaroni and ham soup for breakfast and every single thing has been delicious. However, I do draw the line at 1000 year old eggs – you have to ask yourself how old can these chickens be and where do they live? When I see the dried lizard sticks in the store – I also tell myself – be a vegan it’s safer.
It is fascinating to see the culture and eat local. We are extremely grateful we aren’t tall though because in many of these restaurants the benches are so tight and small and you usually share the table with a few other people that if we were tall we would never be able to sit anywhere. See – it pays to be a hobbit. (speaking for myself of course and my other hobbit/smurf friends)
Lastly, where are we staying? Well let’s call it a luxury accommodation – ok it’s not really. It happens to be on the 14th floor of this bright orange building (which has been a blessing for us because we can see our building from pretty far away.) It’s above a Mahjong Parlour so the music is quite boisterous in the evening but that’s ok. I looked long and hard for a room with a window when I was making the reservation– just so you know a window can be really hard to come by in cheap accommodation in a city – to me there is nothing worse than being in a windowless room with jet lag – it’s hard enough to adjust without being in a sensory deprivation environment.
Our room is probably 6×6 with a small double bed and a single bed – believe it or not – we got ‘upgraded’ to the triple room so I can only imagine how small the room was we were going to be in. Space is at a premium in Hong Kong though so it is understandable. Our shower head is right over the toilet – so if you really wanted to multitask you could, if you know what I’m sayin’… Notice in the photo how you can see our entire room, the toilet and shower head – I took this from our doorway. We do have A/C which has been amazing and hot water so all in all I will call it a luxury accommodation as I know it could have been way worse.
So that’s the skinny on our first few days. We are loving every minute and are enjoying escaping the madness of the city to sit and enjoy a few moments in the city parks. As we write this we are sitting in Kowloon Park staring at a green oasis surrounded by gigantic high rises. We remember to find beauty everywhere and appreciate the adventure that we have begun. Now off to India where the culture shock will be something entirely different I am sure…we will keep you posted.
Update: Kevin found his sunglasses so he now has 2 pairs. The “RayBans” he bought for $4 (we are sure they must be the real deal) and we found out that we MAY have been standing in the wrong place to see the light show in Hong Kong (I say MAY as who wants to admit they stood in the wrong spot for 45 minutes and missed all the action?)