Holly shit it’s Hong Kong
After so much sun, beach, more sun, and islands, I made it to my last destination: The amazing city of Hong Kong. Making the decision of not going to mainland China was not easy, but I finally decided on it after thinking back to my experience in India. I had a great time in India, but realized I spent almost no time in the subcontinent to see its magnitude. I want to go back for at least a month. So I’m sure I need a trip in itself for China, when my feet are not hurting and I am not sick of noodles.
As soon as I arrived at the airport I was ready to take cash out of the ATM to take the train into the city. I always do this, to try and avoid exchange rates and carrying around too much cash in airports/planes. Yet as I stood in front of the ATM, I could not, for the life of me, remember the pin code. This is a number I have used for about four years, and never managed to write down because, how could I possibly forget it? Yet I DID. I had thought of having another card kept separately in case this one got stolen, but it had the same pin number. I thought of all possibilities except that my brain would suddenly fail. As I began to panic, I realized that I could pay for the train with my card since they don’t require a pin code. So I exchanged what little money I had left in my wallet and ended up with the equivalent of 10 Hong Kong dollars.
I was oh so lucky that in this city I was to stay with a friend of my mother’s. She is a Colombian lady married to a French man, and they have been in the city for about 2 years. I had to take a cab from the central station to their apartment. My stomach was churning as I saw the taximeter dial its little numbers. I was ready to jump off the cab when it reached $10 and start hitch hiking. Yet for some miraculous reason I made it there, with the cab costing $9.00
It got easier from there. My mom had left me with an emergency ATM card that I was sure I would never have to use, but it ended up saving me.
Highlights from the city:
Tian Tan Buddha (or The Big Buddha): being by myself this time did freak me out. A transparent cable car taking me all the way up to the mountains felt very precarious with just me in it. I could hear the wind and feel it moving the little capsule. Fun and excilerating.
SoHo: Walking around this neighborhood was certainly one of my favorite things. I was surprised as to how little English people spoke in general, given its colonial past. I sat down to have street food, and was only able to order thanks to the very nice guy sharing my table. He was very excited to learn where I was from, and explained to me the reason he spoke English was that he was taking classes, cause he had a baby on the way and he wanted the child to speak it too. Around here I also visited the Man Mo temple, which reminded me of the temples back in Hoi An, in Vietnam.
The Peak: This is a must-see. Probably the most touristy thing you could do, but it is certainly the best view of the city.
Food: Must eat Dim Sum, and specially the Shanghai style. I could not get enough of these! Burnt my mouth over and over again, but it was entirely worth it.
Hong Kong Museum of History: Absolutely worth the visit! “For a whistle-stop overview of the territory’s archaeology, natural history, ethnography and local history, this museum is well worth a visit, not only to learn more about the subject but also to understand how Hong Kong presents its history to itself and the world.” -Lonely Planet