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Bec & Simon

Hong Kong, Hong Kong

HONG KONG | Wednesday, 9 December 2009 | Views [757] | Comments [1]

Night across the harbour, the tower looked like it should be shooting the Bat Sign into the clouds/smog

Night across the harbour, the tower looked like it should be shooting the Bat Sign into the clouds/smog

Not the fondest memories of Hong Kong to be had. Actually we really don't have anything against the city itself just got a few bad memories from there that are clouding our opinion on the place.

For starters the flight into Hong Kong was fairly horrific. We got turbulance for pretty much the entire 12 hours of the flight from Johannesburg which wasn't too bad but we hit some extreme stuff somewhere over the Bay of Bengal which made the plane drop violently three times. People and objects got thrown around the cabin. Two cabin staff got injured and had to sit out the rest of the flight. 

Anyway we got there and found ourselves a hotel. It was in Chungking Mansion, a famous old building in central Hong Kong that is mostly dodgey markets and food shops. We had to fight through the local scammers trying to tell us that our hotel was closed or it was too dirty and their hotel was clean but we found our way. The hotel was basic to say the least but it was clean, cheap and right in the heart of the city. 

We didn't know much about Hong Kong so we kind of wandered around for the first few days taking in the sights and sounds of the place. First impressions were that it was really ridiculously busy, I don't know how people live like that. Just crossing the street was dangerous because you could get trampled by the 300 people coming from the other direction. Fun for a holiday but having to deal with that every day might drive me insane I think.

We found some odd sights. From turtle soup stores to brides lining up outside the bridal registry waiting their turn. Everyone in the city has a camera on them and is constantly taking photos of pointless shit, photos of walls and footpaths. We didn't understand it.

After three days of not much more than strolling around looking for Chinese restaurants (which for some reason are super hard to find) and hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop along Victoria Harbour we headed to the airport to fly out to India. Unfortunately we didn't get anywhere. We were told that we couldn't go to India because we didn't have pre-arranged visas but we were lead to believe that we got them on arrival! So we got on the phone to the Indian visa department who said they could have us the visas by close of business the next day. Good result we figured since we'd only lose two days there so we paid to move our flights back two days then took the bus back into the city to the visa department. However now they were telling us it would be at least 5 working days to get the visas and even then we weren't guaranteed them. We begged and pleaded to speed it up but they were having none of it, really annoying! Bec was getting a little emotional so we made the decision to go have another coffee and work something else out. We decided on scrapping India altogether because by the time the visas got through we wouldn't have enough time to see India properly and we wouldn't be able to get our flight organised because we didn't know when they were going to be ready.

After the India issues we decided to book ourselves into a nice room and relax for a bit. We ended up in this amazing and massive skyscraper hotel on the 60th floor! We had view way out over the harbour (through the smog) to Hong Kong island. We took the few days there as relax time and re-routing our travels time. We ended up switching our flights to Yogyakarta in Indonesia which really excited Bec because she'd been carrying on a bit about wanting to practice her Indonesian again before she loses it. 

So with that out of the way we had a few more days in Hong Kong to do what the locals do...hang out in shopping malls! I think you can traverse the entire city by inter-connecting shopping malls. We didn't go out into the light of day for the final few days in Hong Kong because there was no need to, and at time it was hard to find an exit. 

Well we left Hong Kong headed to Indonesia with some bad memories but not so much of the city, just what happened there and getting there. Truth is the city is fine, wouldn't recommend going there but wouldn't tell anybody to stay away, just as long as you like crowds!

Tags: hong kong




Great post Simon! Not good though that things didn't work out for India though. Glad your flight landed safely, dramatic turbulence is frightening! Cheers! :)

  Jan Dec 14, 2009 4:32 AM

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