Goodbye Hong Kong

Hong Kong Travel Blog

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Waiting to be waited on

I started out the morning heading out for a dim sum breakfast.  I was the only non-Chinese person in the entire area and stuck-out pretty badly.  I found a restaurant and sat down at an empty table and proceeded to be ignored by the wait staff for twenty minutes.  I finally flagged down a waitress and gave my order.  I'm not sure if the ignoring was due to them not wanting me there or them thinking I wasn't ordering anything.  A few minutes after my food arrived a local Chinese woman joined me at my table and was served immediately.  She ended up pointing to my meal and ordering the same thing, so I suppose that means I chose well! 

After finishing my dumplings and bao, I navigated my way to the MTR to Che Kung Temple.

Sik Sik temple
   It's a small temple that was difficult to find.  I had heard that fortune tellers hang out around the temple and I looked all over for them.  I finally found a few men sitting at tables under an alcove, but all their signs were in Chinese so I didn't think a fortune from them would be particularly interesting.  The temple itself was small, but a number of people were giving offerings while I was there.  I wasn't sure about the etiquette, so I didn't enter the center temple and just walked back to the subway feeling dejected.

I decided to try my luck at Sik Sik Yuon Wong Tai San temple instead.  This temple was huge and consisted of a number of buildings each dedicated to different types of deities.  Clearly some were more popular than others, but without an English guide I was a bit lost as to the meanings of what was going on around me.

Sik Sik Temple
  I didn't see any fortune tellers and started walking back to the metro when I noticed a dingy little doorway to my right.  I walked in out of curiosity and ended up in a long hallway with a number of small "storefronts" with signs written in Chinese.  I eventually figured out the entire "mini-mall" consisted only of fortune-tellers, but wasn't convinced by some who had posted "I speak English" signs because when I said Hello they'd look at me confused.  I made it to the second to last shop and a woman shouted Hello to me and spoke in passable English.  I decided to have my fortune from her and was very happy with my choice.

She was a smaller, older lady and read both my palms and my face.  I couldn't catch everything she said, but she did keep repeating herself so I caught the general idea.

My fortune teller
  Overall the fortune was pretty good and I was surprised at how specific she was.  She listed exact ages when certain things "would happen" so I wrote a number of them down and I'll find out in a few years if she was right.  It was a fund diversion for an hour.

Next it was off to see the Golden Bahiria which was not as exciting as it sounds.  Unfortunately after sweating in the humidity, the expo center next door was closed so I couldn't see the excellent harbor view.

I then followed a walking tour in the Lonely Planet guide that was pretty disappointing.  The majority of the "sites" were small shops that were identical to those throughout China and Hong Kong.  I stopped at a small local shop for some Peking duck and saw the stores selling bird's nests, but at hundreds of dollars a piece I figured I'd have to pass on the bird's nest soup.

Golden Bahinia
  :(

I made my way over to Mid-level escalators- the longest outdoor escalator system in the world.  I was surprised to find out it's not one escalator, but a whole series of them.  It did make going uphill much easier though.

I then walked downhill to the peak tram.  It was farther than I realized and I didn't enjoy the humidity that much.  The peak tram is a cool wooden car that goes practically straight up the hill.  At the top is an expensive, several story mall that was very unappealing.  I took a quick look around and got right back on the tram heading back down.

I called Pat and she asked me to take a bus to meet her.  I couldn't figure out where the bus stopped, so instead took the metro since I was already at the station.

I think these are newts?
  We went to a restaurant but I was feeling incredibly nauseous and couldn't eat more than a bite of the delicious shrimp wontons and a few sips of tea.  I wasn't sure what the problem was, but I suspect the humidity was getting to me since I hadn't eaten much all day.  She helped me shop for some moon cakes and we went back to her place.  She again worked until past 4am before heading back home. 

The next morning, I woke up at 6 and headed for the airport.  While I was sad my trip was over, I was rather happy to leave Hong Kong.  I generally dislike big cities and Hong Kong was no exception.  I was very annoyed by some of the experiences I'd had with locals in Hong Kong where I was frequently given wrong directions and treated rather rudely nearly everytime I'd ask someone for help.

Hong Kong
  I didn't expect people to speak English, but I guess I didn't expect them to go out of their way to make my life difficult either, from pushing me out of their way to get in front of me in lines to demanding money for something as small as walking down a public street.  Even my host, who'd seemed very happy to have me stay with her from our correspondence, had left me feeling unwelcome and an inconvenience.  I don't doubt that some of my impressions could be very wrong and related to a cultural difference I don't understand, but Hong Kong is not a place I plan to return to anytime soon. 

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Waiting to be waited on
Waiting to be waited on
Sik Sik temple
Sik Sik temple
Sik Sik Temple
Sik Sik Temple
My fortune teller
My fortune teller
Golden Bahinia
Golden Bahinia
I think these are newts?
I think these are newts?
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Walk to the Golden Bahinia
Walk to the Golden Bahinia
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
The bay
The bay
Fish stand
Fish stand
Dried seafood
Dried seafood
Butcher shops
Butcher shops
Birds nests
Bird's nests
Bao and wontons for breakfast
Bao and wontons for breakfast
Temple
Temple
Temple decoration
Temple decoration
Outside temple
Outside temple
Sik Sik temple
Sik Sik temple
Sik Sik temple
Sik Sik temple
Sik Sik temple
Sik Sik temple
Mid Levels Escalator
Mid Levels Escalator
Peak tram is arriving
Peak tram is arriving
View from Peak tram
View from Peak tram
Peak Tram mall
Peak Tram mall
Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airport