Posted by: sea2stars | February 28, 2011

Hong Kong

I know you have all been anxiously awaiting my posts on China. Your long wait is finally over. It was really a whirlwind trip that went by too quickly, leaving me little time to process or write about my experience. It’s already a distant memory and I can hardly believe that I actually stood upon the Great Wall and saw the terra-cotta warriors. I left the trip wanting more, particularly the Great Wall, but I’ll get to that later. As I usually like things chronologically I’ll start at the beginning in Hong Kong.

I left Taiwan behind on August 2nd with a fairwell lunch with my friends. We had all talked about leaving for so long that it hardly seemed like the actual moment had finally arrived. My friend Theresa took me to the train station to begin my day of waiting. Sometimes I dislike traveling because you spend a whole day waiting, waiting for the train, waiting to check in bags, waiting to go through security, waiting to board, waiting to exit the plane, waiting in the custom line. Thankfully this is when my day picked up. In the customs line I started talking to 2 people, one from New Zeeland named Craig, and another from Bali named Itha. Itha had been to Hong Kong many times and she was extremely kind and helpful. She helped Craig and I get into the city and suggested a hostel for us to stay at. She also agreed to meet me the next afternoon to help me get my visa and train ticket into China.

We parted ways as Craig and I went off to find our hostel. All I will say in thank goodness I had a big burley man with me, cause it was scary. We went to Chung King Mansion, the biggest hostel area in Hong Kong. It’s a 20 story or more high rise and has 2-3 different hostels on each floor. Craig and I tried to find the one that Itha suggested but we finally just asked a place that had rooms. We agreed to share a room with two beds instead of a dorm with 10 or more beds. We had the smallest bathroom I’ve ever seen with a shower curtain door. It was only large enough for a toilet with a very small sink next to it, which meant you had to lean while on the toilet, cause the sink was in the way. We also had a shower in the bathroom and I had to stand on the toilet to take my shower.

Craig and I decided to venture out and find some good food. We had both heard that they had excellent Indian food in Hong Kong so we went to find some. We got a little lost and about two hours later we finally came upon a night market area. I was so hungry that I practically begged Craig to abandon his idea of Indian food and just stop and eat at one of the hundreds of Chinese restaurants we kept passing. He could not be deterred and we finally found an excellent Indian food restaurant.

As we walked back I was scoping out new hostel areas cause I was not keen on the idea of staying in Chung King Mansion another night. I was glad I had already decided to change locations when we got back. The place was swarming with police and I wondered where the yellow tape and chalk drawing where, but I didn’t see any. We later figured out what all the commotion was about when we got a knock on our door at 2am and we were asked to present our passports. I guess it’s a common place for illegal immigrants to stay and they try to catch them late at night.

The next morning I packed up my things and found a nice little guest house back by the night market from the night before. I then went and meet Itha. She was so nice and helpful. First she took me to get my passport to main land China. It was supper easy. We just went to a little travel agent office where I filled out some paperwork and presented my passport and photos and told them I needed it in 3 days. I tried to book a train ticket at the same time but they didn’t have any for 8 more days. This should have been my first clue to book all my train tickets ahead of time. Luckily Itha said she knew of another place we could go.

Itha was from Indonesia and was an executive assistant to a big business man. She traveled a lot and had been to Hong Kong many times. She jabbered away telling me about her job, boyfriend, and Bali continually insisting that if I ever go there that I look her up and she will help me out. I love the kindness of strangers and a strange instant bond that occurs amongst travelers. We went to subway for lunch and she was completely thrilled about it. Apparently there aren’t any in Indonesia and she gets it every time she comes to Hong Kong. After subway she helped me book my train ticket to Guilin and I got the second to last seat on the train.

I was so grateful for Itha’s help but she had to go and I had all of Hong Kong to explore. It was an absolute gorgeous day in Hong Kong because all the smog had blown out of the city. I went up the peak tram and had the most amazing view. You could see the entire city and far out into the ocean. Before I went I had a few friends warn me that I wouldn’t get any view, but sometimes it seems like the sun is shining just for you, and that was how I felt.

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