Posts Tagged ‘Hong Kong’

December 16, 2014

Hong Kong

Back in 2003 – Emily and I took an unplanned 2 days’ trip around Hong Kong, and vouched to return one day with a more efficient travel plan around this city… and we did it 11 years later, last week, this time with an additional team member – our daughter Regine. I’ve had that experience (at Hong Kong) written down 11 years ago in this blog (link), and it felt kinda strange when I re-read the notes on how I really felt about Hong Kong back when I was in my 20’s. Oh how time has changed. Here’s my take on Hong Kong in 2014, 11 years later. A much much negative version, now that I’ve grown into a grouchier older man.

Place
No doubt the theme is still the same. A huge metropolis with dazzling skyscrapers, neon lights and fast paced people walking all around that never sleeps. Only that, it has grown so much more. More buildings, more people. Everywhere I went in Hong Kong, I saw fuckloads of people. The city reeked of trash and rotten food because it’s so damn hard to keep clean when the place fucking gets this crowded and packed. Hell, even the air that I breathed was choking with haze, fumes and shit, that my boogers went a few shades darker than usual. All in all, Hong Kong is a shithole with too many rats in them. It’s not the kind of place to go for a relaxing vacation, but a place similar to Penang – you come here for the food and soak in the atmosphere of being perpetually on the move and being cranky. Now I’m starting to get why an old acquaintance of mine named Gordon moved out of his homeplace in Hong Kong to Australia – it’s not a proper place to live, he said. I kinda agree with him now.

People
Speaking of cranky, the people of Hong Kong (Hongkies) are definitely a cranky bunch. I thought I was antisocial, but wait till you see the Hongkies. It’s funny that they bitch so much about the swarm of mainland tourists from China being so much of an annoyance but, to be honest, that’s like a pot calling a kettle black. Hongkies are the same turd from the same colon (if not worse!). They never smile, are rude (you can tell by the way you get treated by the immigration officers at HK airport, despicable!) and are fucked up. I didn’t feel the same way when I went to China. I was treated with more respect in China (but that’s probably to buy my trust enough so that they can con me better or something, oh well). The only way to differentiate a Hongkie vs a mainlander Chinese (the people of China) in Hong Kong, is to spot the facial expression. A Hongkie can be easily distinguished with a pissed off or scowling look, like he/she has a battery operated butt plug with spikes up his/her ass and its going to vibrate harder if they smile/being-polite. A mainlander Chinese on the other hand, looks apathetic to everything and would just elbow his/her way over anything like a stampeding buffalo herd. This, is a major turn off for me at Hong Kong. Both the Hongkies and hoards of mainland Chinese made it shitty. I did go to Disneyland/Ocean Park, but it felt like visiting 2 rehabilitation centers with different majors in mindfuck. Those Hong Kong cheebyes… simply unbelievable.

Food
Hong Kong, like Penang, has a lot of evolved food that has been cross influenced by various cultures (more on western for Hong Kong), only very much shittier (it’s not even in the same league as Penang). Many of its restaurants are Michelin starred, and 90% of them are overrated. Their food are expensive, and most outlets have crappy services (getting yelled at, getting shooed away, ignored at, are norms). As if this is not bad enough, due to the limited spaces, patrons are often required to share tables at eateries/restaurants. Their breakfast to start the day are also pathetic – they’d consider instant noodles, macaroni in bland soup, half hearted shitty toasts as delicacy and would queue for hours for one shot of those craps. (if only they knew what we Penangites have for breakfasts…). And the dim sum aren’t really as good as I’ve expected either. Michelin starred dim sum at that, they’re just passable food. Of all the restaurants I’ve visited, only 2 really stood out for me. One was a beef noodle stall located in a run down wet market with roaches to keep you company (link), and the other in a damp basement of a derelict building serving noodles with handmade tomato gravy (link). For food, I’d pitch Singapore with Hong Kong, they’re probably in the same shit league in terms of blandness and limitations of variety.

Transport
11 years ago, I navigated half of Hong Kong with a big ass paper map and a few brochures. Now, I did it all with just a Google Map app, with my planned places saved in my profile and let the app tell me how to get there with public transport – which is impressively efficient as hell (that’s the only impressive thing about Hong Kong – but really, what’s the point of having an impressive transportation network, when the whole city’s that shitty?). Hong Kong’s public transport is second to none (compared to Singapore, it’s much better). Its subway network covers most major spots, and for the rest that are not, it will be covered with intricate networks of buses and taxis. You don’t really need to have your own car there. And the Octopus payment card saves you the need to keep loose change, as most places support payment with this card (it’s like a virtual wallet). That’s efficiency at the next level. I kinda wonder, with such first class transport infrastructures and payment system like what they already have, why Hongkies are still so stuck up in the ass like they are now? Shouldn’t they be much more stress free than most of us and be that wee bit of a pleasant people to contend with? Fucking boggles the mind really.

Anyway, it was just a trip to bring my Regine to the poor man’s Disneyland (Hong Kong) and some tripping day at the Ocean Park. The city roaming and food hunting were just the sidelines which we’ve been wanting to do since our trip back in 2003. It wasn’t as enjoyable as I thought it would be (well, I might have enjoyed it if I’m a Singaporean), but at least I’ve crossed this off my list.

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August 26, 2003

Hong Kong vacation – summarized

Back from Hong Kong on 24th.

The trip was awesome, despite the fact that some part of the trip weren’t really that enjoyable. The part I was talking about was the China tour on the 2nd day till 4th day.

1) Emily & I was the only young couple there – the rest of the 2 couples were old beings. Hell they were so irritating. One was a prick & the other a nagger – who talks really fast. I had to wolf down plenty of paracetamol tablets in order to withstand their screwed up attitude. Goddamn.

2) The people from China are rude. They have hygiene problems – couldn’t build a proper toilet. And their food sucks + dirty. Out of the 6 pax from our group, 5 got serious purging after consuming the food there. I’m the only one who didn’t get the poisoning. I think I’m tough. :PbPb

3) The road works in China are a turn off. Although I can say I’m seriously concerned about the number of potholes on our Malaysian roads but, it was not really that when compared to those I encountered at Shenzen & Guangzhou. Taking a car or any road vehicle there is like riding a horse with parkinson’s disease. Car sick is the national past time on the road there.

4) Stuck at immigration for 1.5 hours at China-Macau border just because the immigration computers didn’t sync properly – our visa info was ok when we entered China but the information was not found when we’re leaving from the other side of the country. It was like scanning your Touch n Go from the northern highway and when you reach Jelapang, the fucking system beeps an error telling you that no info was found on your card. China was such a screw up country – on that day.

Coupled with all these cons and hot weather, it made our China trip really dull & boring. Macau was ok – not much place to go except the casino.

The free & easy trip at Hong Kong was totally different. The city is scintillating with life and vibrant. The night scene from Victoria Peak was amazing. Skyscrapers so close together and there were lights everywhere. Our Petronas towers are like 2 chopsticks sticking out from a bowl of rice, and Hong Kong is like having 365 arrows sticking out from Milla Jovovich’s flat chest – big difference. Favorite past time there would be shopping. We shopped from Mongkok to Causeway Bay and Emily was out of control when she saw so many SALE signs all over the place. I had serious aching on my legs from these concrete jungle trekking. Bought lots of stuffs. Emily bought a few handbags for her sisters, and some designer clothes for herself. I got myself a pair of my dream Timberland shoes (the model which I’ve been droolling for so long in Penang).


Images taken with Nikon SQ.

And yeah, we also visited Ocean Park. It was a fun place to be – for kids. The roller coaster got my brain tangled with some part of my colon – felt so fucking sick after the ride. The only thing I enjoyed there was the cable car ride & the dolphin show. The place was simply too full of China tourists and trust me, nobody wants to get near those bunch of wild people.

There were so many wonderful experiences & places I had visited which I’m not able to cover in this entry. It was beyond what I can describe. (ok… maybe it’s because I’m freakin’ lazy)

But there are some downside about Hong Kong – food there was not that good compared to Malaysia. They are very expensive and not appetizing at all. The best thing I ever had at Hong Kong was the RM90 Thai food buffet at Causeway Bay – which didn’t even taste like Thai food. Not spicy enough.

Overall, I can say that I enjoyed my vacation to the fullest this time. China trip was boring yes, but still, it wasn’t really that bad as I didn’t have to see Rob’s face for the whole week. I believe if it weren’t for the screwed up China trip, I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself so much in Hong Kong. Sort of accentuated Hong Kong as the better half of the trip.

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