Dazed and Confused in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Travel Blog› entry 41 of 43 › view all entries
March 30th, 2008 – by: worldcitizen
I arrived in Hong Kong thinking that because it was recently a British territory, many people would speak English there. Wrong. After a long line through customs and collecting my luggage, I tried to get some advice on the best way to get to my hostel. I asked three different airport employees and in the end, I ended taking an expensive and long taxi ride to Causeway Bay.
When I got to the hostel, I couldn't find it. I saw a young backpacker type and thought I had to be in the right place, but he told me to go to a different floor. I wandered up and down through the building, knocking on random doors.
It had become evident that I knew absolutely nothing about Hong Kong. So I settled in and went back to main building, hoping to look up some info on Hong Kong on the internet before the computer room closed at 11pm. In the computer room was a jumble computer parts. I had to untangle cords and plug in the internet cable, the keyboard and the mouse. By the time it was all working, I barely had time to send some e-mails before the 11pm cutoff and no time to look up information on Hong Kong.
I decided just to walk around in the general area. At 11pm, there were many stores open and many people walking around. I saw a subway station right around the corner from my hotel. It would have been easy to get to my hostel on the subway. I tried to get a feel for Hong Kong before heading back to my hotel to go to bed.
Blowin' in the Wind
In the morning I woke up early, hoping to see some sites before I had to check out. It was extremely windy, wet and cold. It probably really wasn't very cold, but it felt like it was compared to the heat of Thailand. It took all of two minutes before my flimsy travel umbrella flipped inside out. I tried to find a cafe for breakfast and couldn't find anything open nearby except Starbucks.
I really wanted to see the views from Victoria peak but the weather wasn't kind to me. Travbuddy trhoades had advised me on sites to see in a short period of time and had said to not bother going up there if I couldn't see the peak. I headed to the subway station and after rediscovering that I couldn't communicate with anyone, I decided to go ahead and purchase a ticket and head in the general direction of a place where I could get on the Star Ferry. The station was very clean and efficient. There is a glass wall with doors that open when the train comes. I missed a train, but another came just a few minutes later.
I got off in what seemed to be a business center where there hundreds of people in suits who looked like they were on their way to work. Everyone was walking really fast, but to me, it looked like no one was going anywhere. It felt like I was in the middle of a large school of fish that was moving in circles. I became really aware of the fact that I was still in Laos mode. I kept thinking, "what's the rush?"
I was shivering and wet in the streets and noticed the covered walkways. I knew I needed to get up there, so I wandered through some business buildings and got in the walkway. There were more business people moving in herds. I didn't want to get trampled so I stayed close to the edges. After the laid back attitude and/or mellow chaos of South East Asia, all of the seriousness was quite shocking.
I eventually found a ferry terminal and hopped on the next ferry that was crossing the Victoria harbor. On the other side, I saw a few gigantic Fiji rugby team members. The Hong Kong Sevens tournament had taken place over the weekend. I couldn't figure out where to go to get a great view of the Hong Kong city skyline. I went into a mall where no stores were open. It seems like nothing opens until after 11am. I ended up going to the top of a parking garage to check out the the view and take pictures.
After wandering a bit more, I headed back to my hostel to check out and make my way to the airport. Strangely enough, in less than 24 hours, I think I got a feel for what life is like in Hong Kong by riding the subway and wandering aimlessly at night and during rush hour. To me, what appears to be important in there is business, shopping, status, and order. The one thing I felt like I missed out on was the food which I've heard is great there. I just didn't know where to go to find the good stuff and I didn't have the time to search for it. At the airport, I had lunch and used the free internet before boarding my flight to San Francisco.
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