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


HONG KONG | Monday, 30 November 2015 | Views [560]

Returning from Macau I was so exhausted I was ready to fall over and collapse. Instead of heading to Kowloon, this ferry headed for Hong Kong Island. I was already knackered enough. Why has Hong Kong been so damn difficult? When I talked to my father a few weeks ago and told him about how I'd be in Hong Kong a bit longer unexpectedly he said "Hong Kong seems to be a pretty happening place" but overall it hasn't given me the best impression. All I could think of is a long nap yet in a fit of Murphy's Law I couldn't buy a train ticket with my credit card. My strategy in that situation is to visit a place where credit cards are accepted, offer to pay for a customer's purchase with my card and collect the cash from them. Out of nowhere a businessman named Sam would give me HK$100 and told me not to worry. We chatted for a few minutes and I gave him my Fearless Journey card, asking him to spread the word. Janet and Leigh are my BeWelcome hosts and they live in the "New Territories" region of Hong Kong very near to the Chinese border. Taking the train north and then searching near the station for a few geocaches, I could immediately sense a different feel to this part of Hong Kong. Fewer people speak English and, due to the proximity to the border, people come across the border for the day to sell their goods. To the point where I couldn't stay awake any longer, Janet and Leigh would meet me at a Macca's in a shopping mall. They rode their bicycles (not many people own cars in Hong Kong) so they directed me to a bus and instructed some locals to tell me where to get off. It turned out I was only a few dozen metres from their doorstep. By Hong Kong standards their home is very spacious: two bedrooms, a sizeable front room, roof space, and (hallelujah!) an oven! Excitedly, I can finally cook for a host in Asia. All I could think of when I arrived was sleep and I crashed out like a rock. When I awoke several hours later Leigh said he could hear me snoring, that's how exhausted I was. After 51 sent requests on CS without success Janet and Leigh are the only BeWelcome hosts whom I sent a request. Why didn't I send them one sooner?

My time in Hong Kong is winding down and I only have a couple of days left. Leigh would give me a number of ideas this morning, and suggested the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Instead of taking the bus to the train station I walked and searched for a few geocaches. Like much of the rest of Asia I'd fail to find caches but I'd discover a new place. A pleasant walk I had through North District Park netted a failed attempt at a geocache but some lovely photos of the gardens.

When you're very short on time and you're dead tired of sitting in front of a TV in your tiny flat on the 53rd floor, this is a welcome relief. Taking the train from Sheung Shui to Sha Tin I'd end up just short of a stone's throw from the museum in a lovely riverfront setting.

Nature and Hong Kong aren't perceived as being in the same sentence, but it's perhaps the hiking world's best kept secret. There are literally hundreds of trails dotted round Hong Kong. If you don't have time or energy for the various hiking trails this area is a pleasant break from Kowloon or Hong Kong Island. I'd scope out a few geocaches and end up at Snoopy's World. Brut champagne (in a giant glass) would be on order. NOT! 

After a bit of laughter in Snoopy's World, I'd pick up a couple more geocaches and then call in at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. As much as I'm not into movies there's a fascinating Bruce Lee exhibit. Though a Chinese American from San Francisco, he died in Kowloon during a shoot and has hero status in Hong Kong. In the New Territories exhibit there's a display showing how the river was much larger at one time and how much of the land in the Sha Tin area is reclaimed. After more than an hour round the museum and a stroll outside I observed locals playing a unique board game

Janet and Leigh seem like the consummate couple. All around their home are home are photos from their wedding and from travelling together. Leigh told me his first marriage failed but certainly it seems his marriage to Janet won't. Next month they're off to Taiwan for a cycling trip. For me, Taiwan will be a special trip because I've now visited most of the countries in this particular corridor: Japan, the two Koreas, China, and both Hong Kong and Macau. When I'd return tonight Leigh would meet me at the station to go food shopping, and I'd cook for a host in Asia for the first time tonight. Pizzas with red wine would be a great dinner tonight! In addition to ovens, affordable wine is difficult to find across much of Asia. Leigh and Janet would end up being my highlight of Hong Kong. What a fun night it was full of pizza, wine, comedy, and laughter. After several tough days in Hong Kong, things have finally come together.  

It's my last night in Hong Kong, and I'm heading back toward Australia tomorrow evening. I'd like to reflect on this trip a bit. For more than six weeks I've been on the road. With my second lengthy Asia trip under my belt this was a great yet tough one! Most of the trip would be in Bali with a few days in Lombok. Who would have ever thought I'd follow through with the DPRK? Friends and family were fearful I wouldn't return alive! China would be the ultimate thorn in my side on this journey. Where will my next big Asia adventure take me? Thailand? Cambodia? Mongolia? I don't know! Though I will say that staying with two spectacular hosts is the sweet cherry on top of (what will be in retrospect) an amazing journey, and I shall tackle Asia again soon. 

"If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done." -Bruce Lee

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