I was recently in Hong Kong for a very brief period of time. This trip was a typical “Matt” deal. No planning, No research, Nothin’
After a stressful 12 hour flight next an irate seat hogger, I arrive. First task after clearing customs was to secure myself an “Octopus” card, as I would need one to travel around the Hong Kong metro without paying a fortune. I first stopped at a desk that said “Train Tickets” I asked at that desk if they sold Octopus cards. “NO”. He answered. You go over there! So I haul my bags over to another desk. At the next desk I ask the same question and am given a similar response: “Hmmmmmmmm…….. NO! Octopus card over there!”. So I head to yet another desk, once again asking the same question. He responds: “You want Octopus card!?!?” he says. “Two hundred dollar!”. I hand over my credit card… “NO!”. He points to a sign that says credit cards are accepted on all purchases except Octopus card. For crying out loud. I now drag my bags all the way back into the terminal and withdraw some cash. Queue up again and finally get the damn thing.
The next fantastic experience was my Hotel. Boy – What a fricking nightmare. It was so ridiculously westernised it drove me mad. The staff had fake American accents, the hotel had a phony western sounding name (when really it was a Chinese hotel registered under a Chinese name), all of the food was uber western, they had American style toilets (see previous post!) and this had to be the best part: Lifts that go… “Bing!” Like in the movies. Boy, those “binging” lifts had to be the pièce de résistance of the whole joint. The binging was so loud that you could clearly hear bings 3 floors above, and 3 floors below. In fact you could hear them so well that it was difficult to tell when a bing was for your floor. Multiply that by 6 lifts and you are literally standing there listening to a medley of binging, for a very long time I might add, as it took for ever for a lift to arrive. Argh!
So anyway, the rest of the visit. Well lets see… I went around on the metro stopping off at random places. Found a lot of very random stuff indeed. I really felt that I got to see the “Real” Hong Kong. At one point I found myself in a very shabby slum like area which was very interesting indeed. After milling around for a while I was grabbed by a local and shouted at: “WHY YOU HERE? THIS AWEA NOT FOW TOUWISTS!” He dragged me over a map of the metro system and pointed at the connection between the Hong Kong metro, and the Shenzhen metro and said in a loud whisper: “CHINAaaaa….”. And I was immediately thinking: CHINA! Didn’t realise it was that easy to get to China from Hong Kong. Not that I had time. I had a flight to board in 4 hours time. Maybe next time.