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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Fragrant Harbour

HONG KONG | Wednesday, 25 November 2015 | Views [482]

A pragmatic mixture of a little Melbourne, Rio, and Wellington, slightly more of Beijing, a lot of New York, and a great deal indeed of London. Welcome to Hong Kong! I'll admit I stole the framework of that quote of one about Fidel Castro's ideology by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Hong Kong has a hint of arty vibe like Melbourne, the geography of Rio de Janeiro, and somewhat of a cafe culture like Wellington. The Chinese influence gives it a Beijing feel. With more high-rises than any other city on the planet, it definitely feels like Manhattan. With English being the predominant language and double-decker buses plying the streets, Hong Kong most feels like London. What a nice change it is going from dressing in four layers in Beijing to strolling round in shorts and a T-shirt in Hong Kong. There's definitely an air of ethnic diversity as well: Africans and Indians rule the roost in the markets of the Chungking Mansions selling DVDs, porno mags, SIM cards, and infant formula among other things. Hong Kong has proven to be the most difficult place to find a CouchSurfing host and it'd ultimately be a fruitless exercise. For now I'm crammed in high up on the tenth floor at the Day Hostel where you often have to wait two or three rounds for the lift before it's your turn to go up (so it's not the best place to forget your memory card or phone charger). Yesterday they were nice enough to allow me to check in at 9 AM so I could sleep like a rock. I'm in a six-bed dorm with a small window; thankfully there's air conditioning. Hong Kong is much more expensive than Beijing and street food is rather lacking in Kowloon. The only cheap food option is the microwavable meals at 7-Eleven. I'd hoped to go to the Space Museum but it's currently closed for renovations. This guy leaves me feeling like I'm back in Roswell.

There's a fair few free things to do as well. Last night I watched the "Symphony of Lights" on the waterfront as I chatted to a British couple and their young son. Today I'd hike up to Victoria Peak (called "The Peak" by residents) and the picturesque ferry ride is only HK$2. Most people take the tram up to the Peak but I decided to walk. This trip has cost me a lot of money already so if I could save a few dollars it's helpful. Along the way I opted to look for a few geocaches but, much like the rest of where I've visited in Asia, the geocaching scene is very disappointing. After logging one find I made my way up toward Victoria Peak. Walking up isn't difficult but definitely not for one who doesn't exercise. For the trademark view of hundreds of skyscrapers set amongst a magnificent harbour, this is the spot! You might wonder about the title of my story. Hong Kong comes from the words "Heung Gong" meaning "fragrant harbour" in Cantonese. Glistening with light from the sunset, the International Commerce Centre is ranked as the tenth tallest building in the world. At 484 m (1,588 ft) it's the tallest building I've ever laid my eyes on.

Eight of the ten tallest buildings in the world have been constructed since 2010. The view at sunset is nice but only gets more spectacular as the light fades. A woman I was talking to at the lookout seemed to be annoyed that I was talking to her as we snapped photos of the ever-changing lights of Hong Kong's skyscrapers. Foolishly I didn't bring a jumper and it got very chilly. I must remember it's approaching winter in the northern hemisphere. The lights of Hong Kong are colourfully bright and the Peak is most definitely a place to while away an hour or few. What came next was another great spectacle: a red Moon.

My jaw dropped in awe at this night sight! So much so that I lost my lens cap for good this time! After many times where Lim rescued it in the DPRK I accidented bumped my camera against the railing and the cap fell far, far down and there'd be no rescuing it this time. Bummer! I never thought I'd lose my lens cap entirely. Weeks ago I was asking myself what'd I'd find to do to fill in eight days in Hong Kong but after today I might not have too much difficulty. The main difficulty is finding a CS host, which I hope I find someone soon. Previously the most difficult places for finding CS hosts are Darwin, Singapore, and Busan. Once it gets really late in Kowloon there isn't really a whole lot to do. I'm not sure where the bars and pubs are, and I've had enough of prostitutes hissing at me with "massage" as I stroll by. Another free thing I found is to take a trip to the Felix bar in the upper floors of the Peninsula Hotel. The view from the toilets is worth the trip to the top, but you must remember to wear long pants and closed-toed shoes. 

 

These toilets and the bar are on the 35th floor! After admiring the view for a few seconds I descended to street level, walked briskly past the hookers of Kowloon, picked up a small bottle of wine at 7-Eleven and had an easy night. 

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