Wednesday, July 22, 2009

HERRO Hong Kong!

When we got here the captain said it was 28 degrees. It felt a lot hotter than that so I don't know. S and I have a lot of hate for Hong Kong airport right now. It wasn't really that bad but our stop-over here lasted frmo 5:50 to 23:15 so we hate it mostly out of spite for making us so bored and dried out by the air-con. I was feeling 'highly strung' when we arrived, in my usual, paranoid, organising way (this is syntactically generally horribly put but hopefully you'll forgive that considering the 2 hrs sleep I've had in the last 48 hours.)
We went straight ove to the check-in areas for those in transit and were told they had no idea what gate/terminal we were departing from that evening. We were to come back at 19:00, until which time we could not have boarding passes. This made both S and I a bit nervous as we were unsure of both finding the fate on time and clearing customs if we were to go ahead with our plan of leaving the airport for HK city.
We asked around a bit but everyone including the customer service lady had an air of being slightly bemused by these Australian tousists wanting to know their opinion on whether such a day visit to the city was advisable considering our circumstances and the time we had available.
Finally one guy at the money exchange answered unequivocally 'No,' as 'getting to the mainland takes a long time.'
Not realising that he had thought we were asking about China we resigned ourselves to napping on the purple chairs by the chek-in counter.
Finally someone told us all we needed to do to get to HK was walk through customs (10 mins), buy a HKD 100 rail ticket (that's like 20 Australian) and get on the next train. We would get there in like half an hour.
We did this; the thing we were chasing most being fresh air as we were both incredibly drowsy. The train was great, this fast, quiet, lithe thing, pulling up right as we walked out onto the platform.
The HK trains seriously are incredibly fast and quiet, I kind of felt like I was gliding.
Thisbeing the first foreign country I had visited I was fascinated in a 'child-like' way, or something. The outside of HK is so green and beautifully unkempt, it reminded me a lot of Port Douglas actually.
The first sight of the increibly dense, ragged, staggeringly tall apartment buildings was a real shock to me. It looks like Melbourne housing commission but each building is multiplied by 10 in both size and density and they are EVERYWHERE, growing like thick, untameable hairs out of the ground. I do not even see how there could be a need for so much housing, it's crazy.
HK proper is surrounded by these buildings that in turn are embedded in the green, jungly hills. It's not a particularly inviting or social city, coming across to me as perhaps quite similar in the struture of its roads/paths to LA, or the way I've heard LA described. The roads were very wide and full of big, rattly Chinese tucks like you see drawn in Tintin, and maroon taxis. The footpaths are narrow and skirted by a low fence that S and I joyfully discovered prevents jaywoalking, forcing you to walk extra long distances to the rare pedestrain crossings (yay!)
The feel there is weird, hard to describe. It is not homey, nor pleasant, nor vibrant. However it is bustling, there are many people who are ready to help without being asked and it has something else. I?m trying to acoid saying it has a certain je ne sais quoi but I think I just lost that battle.
S adn I saw a fair bit of the business district when we arrived. We wanted to find local markets/food and acoid the malls but we ended up just covered in a sheen of sweat going through a few of the park/plazas that are pretty commonplace in HK. We mucked around abut, taking photos with the life-size models of HK's Olypmic games mascots that look like female and male molar But seriously, we could not work out what they were. We kept touching our cheeks or hands to stone benches or flagstones, hoping they'd be cool but everything was so fucking warm, it was irritating and we couldn't cool down. Somebody directed us to the bit of HK that is like a huge version of China town, with all the narrow streets, signs hanging overhead and acrid fishy smells.
The only item I ended up buying in HK was sunnies from...Cotton On ahaha, definitely needed to go all the way to Asia to but shitty sunglasses from C.O
We wanted lunch and some American bro was trying to get us into his restaurant and we were like 'Quite obviously you need to fuck off as we are not in this city to eat steak and chips..'
We ended up hacing this OK meal at an Asian food restaurant only S found meat in her vegetarian fried rice and the paint on my bowl was flaking off and covering my vegetables so I didn't eat a lot of it.
After that we weent to the HK Botanic Gardens which are like one eighth the size of ours and like OKish but you can't frolick on the lawns like we wanted to - it was all laid out like flower beds and there was no walking on the grass. We ended up taking our 2st public nap of the day on the steps of the wedding reception center which actually turned out to be a shitty iea as when a wedding party actually came they were weirdly averse to having 2 random hobos in the background of hte wedding photos.
The 2nd public nap was in Starbucks, which is EVERYWHERE too aha. It's funny cause they write underneath the drinks 'for sophistocated adults and children.' I don't know, it seemed funy at the time. Tey have all kinds of weird ads like this billboard that's everywhere for a sports drink that's called 'Papito Sweat.' Mmmm yeah I'd love to replenish myslef with a refreshing glass of Papito Sweat.
Anyway after violating the law by taking surreptitious secret spy photos of the adorable uniforms the Maccas employees wear (after being told not to by the manager) and unintentionally offending pretty much every single passer by by jokingly doing the double peace symbol and wide smile pose in just about every photo we took, S and I thought it was time to bail.
We checked out the docks where the ferries and stuff come in which was cool and agreed that although nice we wouldnt want to visit HK for more than a few days.
Am now sitting at the airport writing this and saw a daugther and a mum shopping. The mum randomly hugged the daughter. Made me miss my mum. Sigh.
Just want to get to Barcelona finally, ergh. Oh well soon we shall be in the air. Fly my pretties, fly!

Other HK observations:
  • Everyone is thin! This is because there are stairs EVERYWHERE. (HK is a city of stairs, Starbucks and housing commission). S and I reckoned we climbed about a thousand stairs today.
  • Everyone speaks English. Useful but also weird that we can assume that htey understand us in a foreign country. I felt kind of bad for not making more of an effort to say like Ni hao or whatever. Whatever.
  • The building designs of offices are great and so original. One skyscraper had only circular windows. Another looked like 2 complex 3D puzzle peices locking together. The only thing is, none of them match. It's the biggest weirdo hotch-potch of cool achitecture I've ever seen.
  • HKIA is not on an island. Thanks Ella's dad for that peice of incredibly misleading information.
  • Sarra got a photo with a guy who ran a restaurant in HK. Was Indian. Was an Elvis impersonator. He gave us his business card and told us to call him if we needed help. It read Elvis Narijangapanum. Cultural identity crisis ftw.
  • Someone please inform uys where all the $2 shops with 'shitty Asian merch' are for the next time pls. There are surprisingly few.
  • Note to self: always wear sunscreen.

Post Script:
As we were leaving HK Airport we walked past a store selling 'Hero' - as in 'Alice Glass is my hero,' said the tween - brand jam. I pronounced it in my head as 'Herro.'
Time to get out of here.


  1. hahahaha. when i read 'hero' i read it as 'herro' too hahahaha. given the context, i think thats quite excusable!!!
    ind elvis is lol-worthy, as is ur buying of cotton on glasses. honestly ella, couldn't u find some "prada" sunglasses or something? i mean...thats what HK is FOR!!!!!
    oh and i believe ur "isn't it more than 28 degrees" is referred to as..a fuckload of HUMIDITY! i also had this disgusting observation when i was there!
    i will laugh if u are burnt in all ur photos! ;)
    love you, miss you, kitty <3

  2. haha yes elvis was funny. we have pictorial evidence of this mutant of humanity. it is, quite simply, rad.