Drenched in HK

Hong Kong Travel Blog

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Shangri La Hotel
 Hong Kong is really great. To put it simply, it's an Asian New York at discount prices. There's great food and shopping (too much shopping) and when it's not raining, there's always something to do. Once you get past the initial stages of playing "Name That Smell" and "Wa Doku Deska My Umbrella" it really is fun here! Right now with the World Cup going on, especially, the fanatics are out and a cheerful beer is available at any hour.  There's a really strong expatriate presence here as well, so the Aussies and the Brits are hitting up the pub scene in full force. Lan Kwai Fong is the bar district and the first time I went there I was shocked to find out that a Little Tijuana existed just down the street from my hotel! The Gwai Lau, as we foreigners are called, literally fill the streets on Friday and Saturday nights.
Terri and I in the most Asian inspired picture I've taken.
It was really unexpected the first time I went up there. But since Lan Kwau Fong has New York prices or higher, my exploration of the area is limited... Point Tijuana.

So far the highlight of my trip was when my dad came out to visit! The majority of my classmates and friends have been to Hong Kong before at least once, and they're not as adventurous or curious as I am. So having my dad here to be my travel buddy was a real treat, because to us, everything is new.  Plus Dad has money, so I could take advantage of his resources (kidding Dad).

His first day in town, he went on tour of Hong Kong while I was at the High Court. I headed over after classes were canceled because of the rain for a nice dinner at the Shangri-La Hotel. After what I thought would be a quick walk to the hotel we arrived at the nicest hotel I have ever seen.
High Court
Unfortunately it started raining buckets on the way and we showed up looking like a couple of stray dogs, drenched to the bone. My clothes were literally soaked through and when I asked the concierge where we could have dinner, she sent us to the cafe. Not as nice as we had hoped our dinner would be, but there was no way we were presentable enough to eat in the fancy dining room.

The next day, my class arranged for us to charter a boat to see the pink dolphins, only found in the South China Sea near Hong Kong. This wasn't quite the dolphin watching we're used to, with hundreds of dolphins swarming up next to your boat all freindly and "flipperish".  At first, we were worried we wouldn't see any at all. It seems the nearby airport and the infamous Chinese pollution has disturbed their habitat somewhat, so the viewing was slim.
Big Buddha
But we finally did see some dolphins (leave it to my Dad to spot them in the distance) and they're really bright pink!

After dolphin watching, the lot of us had the mysterious Hong Kong delicacy of "dim sum."  I hope you are sensing the sarcasm in my writing. Nearly every chinese restaurant in the US has dim sum, but we just call them dumplings or pot stickers. Still, every Asian person in my class thinks they've introduced me to some mysterious Chinese cuisine, not yet discovered in America. I think we're all still in denial as to just how global everything has become. I'm pretty sure the true experience of eating dim sum lies in the hole-in-the-wall restaurants. The obvious test of a good restaurant is how many people are inside. But here is no waiting for a table in HK.
The restaurant staff will litereally relocate you in the middle of your meal to accomodate more patrons. And sharing a very close quarters table with strangers, usually means you're in for some good eats.

Next, it was a quick bus ride to the world's largest sitting bronze Buddha. I'm not sure where there is a bigger Buddha, perhaps standing, or made of gold instead, but I'm gonna find it. There wasn't much to do at the Buddha besides just see it. But it was worth the trip. Next to the Buddha was a monastary teeming with Buddhist monks. And inside the monestary, a man farted the loudest, most obnoxious fart I have ever heard!  We figure he must have been deep in meditation and just got a little too relaxed.

Finally, if I hadn't tortured my dad enough with Asian experiences, I decided we would pick up dinner in Mongkok, the sort of night time swap meetof Hong Kong.
Sha Tin Races
Basically,a big outdoor market, notorious for bargaining amazing deals on completely useless crap. You have never seen so many people in one place before in your life! Even though it was just a short trip through a couple of streets, I thought it would give my dad a heart attack. For somebody even more anti-social than myself, it was a little much after a long day of discovery. At every turn, I worried he might go off on some tiny little Asian for bumping into him. I kept having to say, "That's just the way they are here."

Next was the trip to Macau. If you're short on cash flow, Macau can definitely be skipped. Unless you really want that stamp on your passport. It's just a big ghetto Las Vegas, with weird games that Americans don't know how to play and the future home of an MGM Grande, Venetian and Wynn Casinos. However, they did have a "Vegas Style Buffet" where I devoured the best damned salad I've ever had. Well, not really, but under the circumstances, spinach is a luxury, and I indulged.

Since, Macau was a bust, we decided to have a long afternoon at the Peninsula Hotel for high tea. Since the rain had started up again we were in no hurry to get somewhere else. And on Dad's final day we went to the Wan Chai district, also an expat area, for dinner and had Mexican food. It was much better than the Mexican food in Tsu, Japan since they didn't try to put white rice in my burrito. It was almost like home. I can only handle so much noodles and dim sum, so something close to home is really a treat. And another anecdote about Wan Chai, was the discovery that the USS Ronald Reagan had invaded Hong Kong Island! It made me realize just how much Americans stand out in HK. It's clear who is here for business and who is just passing through.

Well, I've come to the end of my Hong Kong story. Sorry, it was seriously long. As for my future adventures, this weekend, rain permitting,my class is going to the horse races. It should be a cultural awakening since the Chinese take gambling so seriously. Normally, I'm not a big fan of horse racing, but my professor has arranged a corporate box for us, and that, I'm a fan of My class will be over shortly and then it's a short trip to Shanghai, and then to Beijing where I will meet Tanisha. Tanisha have plans to visit all around Beijing and then go to the Sichuan Province near Tibet. And after that, we're headed for cocktails on the beach in Phuket, Thailand, where we will meet another old friend, Emily I'll keep the updates coming, but next time, I'll try to keep it brief! I miss you all!

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Shangri La Hotel
Shangri La Hotel
Terri and I in the most Asian insp…
Terri and I in the most Asian ins…
High Court
High Court
Big Buddha
Big Buddha
Sha Tin Races
Sha Tin Races