Hong Kong! Unexpected Surprise!

This year, my “big” travel was Hong Kong. Travel was on the back burner because of my focus on bodybuilding and gym, but for many reasons, that may become a bit less of a priority with a greater focus on yoga and hopefully travel again.

Anyway, when I think of Hong Kong, my impression would be a cramped, cosmopolitan, busy kind of city, overlooking the sea. In fact, my recent impressions of HK would be mostly influenced by Pacific Rim and the Jaeger and Kaiju battle in Hong Kong. Or else, I would also think of HK as being really rich and elegant and classy, being one of the fashion hubs of Asia. Of course, I would also think of poverty, loneliness and squalor, as with any other large metropolitan in the world.

Gypsy Danger fighting Kaiju in HK in Pacific Rim (2013) (photo courtesy of gigazine.net)

Was Hong Kong all that? Yes and no. Eddy decided to go to Hong Kong, land of TVB, Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui. His impressions of Hong Kong was based on that. And he decided to treat me! Awesome!

Upon arrival, we found that you can get by with English or act the dumb traveller at service counters with bimbo English, and they are super helpful. Eddy though did speak a lot of Cantonese, and also some Mandarin, because Mandarin is the new English.

KLIA on Christmas Day – heading to Hong Kong

Riding the public bus from the airport to our hotel, the cityscape was much as what you would see in documentaries of Hong Kong, or any other shows that feature HK. Hong Kong has a very distinctive cityscape and view, especially taken from the harbour. Sadly, it was a little hazy those few hours and the air quality was not good.

What was good was the weather. Christmas time in Hong Kong means about 18-22 degrees Celsius kind of weather. Some people had warned us about how cold it would be, so I packed my usual travel jumper, plus a woollen one I used in winter in the UK and Europe. And I also packed warm socks and shoes. Silly me for having listened to such advise. I didn’t use the woollen jumper at all, and my feet were constantly soaked in sweat!

One observation I noted the next morning was that Asians (whether local or tourists) dressed like they were heading for the Arctic, while Western travellers were usually in shorts and t-shirts. Sadly, I didn’t pack any shorts because of the dire warnings of how cold it would be.

Trams in the neighbourhood on the first night

Our hotel was in Northpoint, City Garden Hotel on City Garden Road. It was a really nice 4-Star hotel, the room was comfortable, the bathroom was roomy but sadly breakfast was not included in our deal. We did take one breakfast though, and it was awesome!

The first night, we just rested and took a walk around the neighbourhood, looking for dinner. Unsurprisingly, the food was nothing to shout about and incredibly expensive. We were told about how expensive the food would be and also how bland it would be compared to South East Asian cuisine, even if Chinese food. I kinda knew this already, having eaten at many Hong Kong eateries in China Town, London.

Christmas photo – it was Christmas Day, after all

We noticed how many bakeries there were, practically every third shop was a bakery. Again unsurprisingly, the buns and pastries were expensive, nothing to shout about and sometimes severely disappointing, even with lowered expectations! The neighbourhood though was charming, kind of a distillation of 1960s and 1970s architecture with trams and buses and with a somewhat orderly pedestrian behaviour (a little looser and freer than the anal tension of pedestrians in Singapore, but more orderly than us happy jaywalking Malaysians).

We went back and settled down for the evening and of course I had my oils with me to help us settle in. More on travelling with oils and on Hong Kong soon in separate posts!