Leaving Home

Hong Kong Travel Blog

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Waved goodbye to mum at Heathrow airport and swallowed the lump in my throat. It was a scary feeling as I queued through the bag checks wondering how I was going to feel in Hong Kong, all alone in the big bad world! I kept remembering what Caroline had said. 'Just think one step ahead and do not even consider what may happen after that!' So, determined not to sob like a baby who needs their mum I thought about what I could buy in the airport to pass the time. Straight to the shops I headed! Spent the money that the girls gave me in about 2 minutes flat and then stood wondering what the next step should be. Convincing myself that Hong Kong must be at least ten steps away yet so no need to get myself in a fluster. Hmmm what to do now... Hong kong dollars!! Thats what I needed. Off to the queue I go.........why is it you always choose the wrong queue. 15 minutes later and I'm still standing behind and old woman who can't hear what the assistant is saying. You know too that if you switch queues you're doomed, as soon as you jump ship the coast is clear in the queue that you just left. Its a lose lose situation.

After changing my precious pounds to Hong Kong dollars, using the toilet and getting a drink, I still didn't want to think about Hong Kong. I play around with my laptop and search for wireless, before I know it its time to head to the departure gate. Still thinking one step at a time, I wondered if I would get a big fat person sitting next to me. Or a screaming child... Hmm which one would be worse? I debaited this the whole way to row 52 seat A. I was lucky I had a window seat, I had asked to be on reserve for me and like a sign that god is watching out for me there is a cancellation and my seat number is changed.  As if karma is paying me back for all the good I give to the world I arrive at row 52 there was a nice young (slim) lady sitting in seat B. We made polite chit chat for the next half an hour which completely distracted me from the take off and from the reccuring thought of 'what the hell am I doing?'.

The Proposal, Ghosts of a girlfriends past and The hangover got me through the next 11 hours. Food was ok, a bit like a conveyor belt delivering processed mush but the taste was bearable! Gives you something else to do other than watch the tv!!

As we touched down on Hong Kong turf my stomach turned over. This was the part that I had been dreading most of all. As the plane steered towards the parking slot I steered my mind towards whether my luggage would arrive and if so would it be in one piece? One of my concerns was that the wheels may fall off of the convenient pull along rucksack I had bought turning it into the heaviest back pack ever! Many backpackers had advised against the wheels claiming that they make the bag heavy and have a tendency to fall off, I had of course ignored this advice and gone for the flashpackers bag! Could this have been a bad decision?

As my mini suitcase (for Sarah) and nice and new (all in one piece) rucksack along on the conveyor belt I began to panic about getting to the hostel. I didn't speak Hong Kong language, I had no idea where the bus stop was and I was on my own. All on my own....

Dropping off sarahs case to be kept for two days, I grabbedthe tourist leaflets out of the display unit. Next step, find the bus stop! Trying my hardest not to think of anything but finding the right bus I head out of the electric doors. It was HOT, REALLY HOT! Like someone was following me with a steam machine and all I could breathe was moist hot air! Getting the right change, finding the right stop and sweating like a pig I manage to get on the number 21 bus to Mongkok.

This is where the bad part begins. First I whack my head jumping up at my stop only to get off the bus and realise it was a stop too early. In my jumper and jogging bottoms (it was cold when I left heathrow) I fight my way past the people, through a stench that I can only explain as a smell of dried meat and hunt down my hostel.

I arrive at the entrance, (not exactly what I had pictures). Two double doors (with security cages) next to a meat shop. That will be me then! The entrance leads to a lift and the lift only stops on every other floor?! I daren't attempt the stairs, the hostel is on the 7th floor! I check in with a woman who doesn't speak english, she uses a calculator to show me the amount of money she wants and indicates that I cannot use the room until 12 midday. Its 06.50am. I turn the laptop on, what else do you do to kill time? I daren't lay my head on the sofa as it looked like it had been found down a drunks alley! Two english looking girls are sitting on the 1980's computers linked up to the internet. I ask them about wireless and they tell me its free. Amazing, in the bronx of a hotel, in a stinky battered old building and they have free wireless! I guess we are in Hong Kong after all! I think I must have looked like a virgin traveller, within minutes the candice and Jess ( the english looking girls) are reassuring me that everything will be alright. Before I know it, my bag is in their room, I've used their shower for a rinse down and I'm on my way to the Ocean Theme Park. They are Canadian, live in the Caymon Islands and have both travelled around the world on their own. I was like a fish out of water and they knew it. Bless them, they took me in and wrapped me up in cotton wool, I was so new to all this! Its wasn't as tough as I thought to make friends!!!

After the Ocean theme park I head back to have a shower, I open the key to my room and the bed is enclosed by all four walls! Apart from a shoebox which is my bathroom there is not an inch of room to swing a cat. The shower is attached to the wall directly above the toilet and the shower tray is the floor itself. The thought that one could shit shave and shower all on the same spot came to mind! I visit the ladies market opposite my hostel and head back to my pitt for some sleep.

Waking at 8.30 I realise I have been asleep for over 13 hours! I think that my eyes were too scared to open incase they were back in the pitt again. Unfortunately thats exactly where I was! Jumping up and out that room faster than I have ever moved before I knock for the girls. Terrible hangovers from an alcohol fuelled night kept them in bed most of the day, I leave them to sleep and go it alone. Gripping the tourist information that I picked up at the airport I head over to Lantau Island to be a real tourist! I take the cable car over to the Big Buddha, he sits high up on the mountain and weighs about 250 tonnes.  He is defiantely a sight worth seeing! I've tried to find out why exactly he is there but unfortunately I haven;t had much luck! Note to self, this will be my project next time I am lonely. I meet an american and an australia both working in Hong Kong who are off work for nationals day. We go to the monastries and climb the hundreds of steps to see the musuem within the buddha. I head back after a long hot day of walking and change ready for the fireworks. I meet the girls for dinner and then we head to Hong Kong island. This is by far my most favourite area. You get a real city feel and there is a buzz in the air as the fireworks go off. My camera dies before we hit the bars but we enjoyed ourselves with 'ladies night' meaning girls can drink vodka for free! Proabably a good job that the camera died, I must see if we can introduce this theme at home!  

I wake with a sore head, shove nurofen down my throat and get the hell out of the pitt! Straight on the train and straight to the airport. I'm like a pro already and I have only been doing this for a few days! Life doesn't feel so bad after all, I'm off to see Sarah and the kids and I'm getting out of Mongkok. Praise the lord!

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