Living for the Weekend
Hong Kong Travel Blog› entry 93 of 115 › view all entries
I was held to ransom in Honkers. The Chinese government, in its infinite wisdom, had increased Visa prices for UK citizens earlier in the year. I wanted to cross the border quickly, due to the expense of staying in Hong Kong, but, having arrived on a Thursday, with a wait of two working days on the cards, I ended up in the city over the weekend and forking out 75 pounds (yes, seventy five UK pounds - you read it right) for the privilege of a swift turnaround on my Chinese Visa.
As it turns out though, it was a pleasant captive experience. Hong Kong is a great tourist city, pricey but a lot of fun. The whole weekend was also vastly improved when I met up with Hales, an English girl that I'd originally met in Thailand. She'd overheard me discussing the use of insults towards ginger people (she's a proud ginner) on the rooftop balcony at Julie's Hostel in Chiang Mai.
We'd got talking after she'd fought the ginger corner, and discovered that we would both be in Hong Kong at the same time. This kind of happy accident happens occasionally and, in this case, changed my take on the city. Hales is a chatty twenty-something lass from Harrogate and we got on well, visiting the main tourist sites and getting to know one another at the same time.
The Hong Kong skyline is easily the most spectacular I've ever seen, putting Singapore firmly in it's place. The glittering strip of neon high rise that pickets the riverfront lives up to its iconic status. It's one of those ultra-modern man made sights that leaves you gawping for ages, struggling to take in the visual feast of coloured light on dark. It's spectacular, but I wouldn't want to foot the leccy bill.
The MTR is the best underground transport system I've used, somehow coping with shifting the population of this crammed metropolis from A to B in a swift and thrifty manner.
Hong Kong is bright, brash and brimming with cosmopolitan energy. Despite the population overcrowding, I liked its East meets West culture fusion a lot and, given a chance of cheaper accommodation, could well imagine spending more time there.
When the time came to say goodbye to Hales, I was sorry to see her go. I've written about it before, but I find the process of making friends in a short period of time and then heading separate ways one of the most difficult parts of travelling over long periods.
But it does no good to linger for too long. Thinking too much can be poison to the long term traveller; it destroys momentum. Instead, it was time to look ahead to mainland China and a whole new section of the trip.