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Hong Kong: the Beginning

This summer holiday’s headlight is Hong Kong!

I took off from Europe 2 days ago and arrived in Hong Kong yesterday at 11am, local time. Now I realise how little time I’ve spent in Hong Kong, it almost feels like I’ve been here a week.

I have 2 main reason for visiting Hong Kong: 1. actually I once passed through Hong Kong airport on the way to Sydney and after having walked a very long time to get from one end of the airport to the other, I saw a small part of the city from the airport and lost my breath. It was so beautiful and strange that I promised myself that I’d come back. However the reason for me going this year and not next year or in 10 years is my roommate in Korea, who happens to be from Hong Kong. So really, although I’m here to look around and explore I’m just as much here to visit her.

So yesterday when I arrived at the airport Kei (my roommate from Korea) came to pick me up at the airport and helped me take the bus into town.

What I saw from the top of this double-decker bus was just as amazing as I had thought. Every building taller than the previous and lots of life in the city.

We took the bus all the way to Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island (for those of you who don’t know Hong Kong consists of many small islands, around 200 as far as I understand). Kei had helped me to book a hostel room in Causeway bay at a very reasonable price. She had already been there a couple of times; to book the room, to pay a deposit and to remind of my arrival. The woman in charge of the hostel remembered Kei right away and started chatting away in Cantonese. She knew little English but didn’t hesitate to use what she knew. At first it took me a while to understand that she was speaking English to me, as her accent made it sound like she was still speaking Cantonese. After a short while she took me over to another building and showed me my room. She informed me that no matter what I was not to mention the price for my room. I soon found out that this was because I got it a lot cheaper than most, all thanks to Kei. She led me up to the 12th floor and showed me into a small room. One might think that I might be disappointed by such a small room, since I’m used to having a lot of space to myself, but actually I was rather pleased. The room has 3 windows, a bed, a TV; own bathroom and even an airconditioner that goes on with a loud purr-purr. I was told that I would be allowed to move into a bigger room two days later, after the girl currently staying there leaves, but now I’ve already taken a liking to this room so I’m not sure that I would still like to move.

After having moved my suitcase into the room and locked the door Kei and I barely managed to grab some lunch at a Taiwanese restaurant before she had to go to work. While she was at work I walked around Causeway Bay and tried to orientate myself. I must confess that this is the first time, to my knowledge, that I have been in a country where I do not speak the local language. However it is not much of a problem since most people in Hong Kong have a pretty decent English anyways and all road signs are written both in Chinese and English.

After her work I met up with Kei again in the evening and we went out to eat sushi. Yum, the taste was just like in Japan, it has been a long time since I’ve had such delicious sushi! After sushi we went shopping, I didn’t buy much, just a couple of accessories, but had I been in a better shopping mood I would probably have bought a hold bunch of clothes too. Hong Kong is an amazing place to go shopping.

Hong Kong has 5 public ways of travel: bus, subway, taxi, tram and ferry. Yesterday I got to try 2 out of 5: bus and subway.

This far I find that Hong Kong is an incredible city yet it is slightly different from what I expected and looks more like what I would expect mainland China or parts of Vietnam to look like. That is not a bad thing though, it adds a certain charm to the city. The city looks older than I imagined, the buildings often look old and used but as far as I understand the buildings in Beijing, Shanghai and even Taiwan look exactly the same, so no surprise there. It’s impressive though how tall the buildings are. This far (2 days into my travels) I think I’ve spotted no more than 20 buildings that wouldn’t qualify as skyscrapers, and all seemed to date from the time when England was in charge of Hong Kong. Kei is telling me that these sort of short buildings often disappear to leave space for tall skyscrapers, because that is the way that money is made in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is a huge port, on the way into the city for the first time I couldn’t believe the amount of boats that I saw (I’m still not sure that I can). Boats, and millions of container, stored on the side of the ports, what a sight.

The weather is hot and humid which of course makes it even harder to walk around the entire day for sightseeing, but I manage.

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