A Travellerspoint blog

April 2018

Chinese Visa Obsession

Yesterday i awoke early to apply for my Chinese Visa.

For getting a Chinese Visa, i arrived in Hong Kong at the wrong time. Ordinarily, it takes 4 business days for the Visa to arrive, or 2 with expedited service. The problem is that I have been here for over a week, and during this week we have already had two public holidays: Good Friday and Easter Monday, so this would have cut into the time getting a Visa. I really checked into it last Wednesday afternoon-and I was told the best way was to apply yesterday, (Tuesday), and with expedited service it would be delivered today. (Wednesday at 4:00).

So, yesterday, I was told to get to the office promptly at 8:30, as there would be a big backup for the holiday weekend. I arrived at 6:30-and was told by the guard I couldn't wait by the office, so I went to Mcdonalds and had breakfast. I got up to the Visa office at 8:00 (half an hour early), figuring maybe the guard wasn't there-and i was right-there we're already 5 people waiting.

Once the office opened it was a mad house. I was given an application and told I had 15 minutes to fill it out. i didn't have any arriving airfare. My signature didn't exactly match my passport signature so i had to sign twice. My picture had to be taken again. And as said it was a mad house, the line was already outside leading to the elevators, and there we're people we're shoving pictures in the faces of the people there. i didn't feel like I did a good job. I think I put my mothers phone # in as wrong and put my old employer (I don't have an employer now).

it was a shit-show.. i left and felt about 3 inches tall. I wandered around aimlessly and went back to the hostel to work on my computer. Then I walked up town back to Mon Kock-where the Sim City camera store was, and looked at all the markets. i walked back down-which took a few hours-finding places that serve cheap sushi and other foods. I went back to the hostel and watched lots of Friends once again with the others.

Posted by DavidPearlman 16:18 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Off to See The Buddha

Yesterday, as per normal-I got sort of a later start at the hostel. After getting dressed and typing away at my computer, I set off to see the giant Buddha in Hong Kong, which is on the same island I visited the other day-Lantau Island.

This time I took the MTR/metro to the same station that I was at the other day, when I returned from the walk to nature. (the station with the good but cheap sushi). I bought one pack of sushi for around $3.00, and then waited in line to take the cable car for 45 minutes.

Once getting on the cable car-with a friendly Chinese family who had a talkative 4 year old (today was the 4 year old's birthday and he spoke better English than most American 4 year old's), the cable car took off for the 25 minute ride, up the hill, past the Hong Kong International Airport, down another hill, up another hill, and down another hill, where the Buddha came into sight, and finally to an authentic Chinese Village (complete with 7-11, Starbucks, and Subway), and next to the Buddha. 268 steps leads to the tallest bronze Buddha statue in the world, Of course, I bought a ticket for around $15.00, which included a vegetarian lunch at the nearly Buddhist monastery, and climbed all of the steps to the Buddha. I found you can walk into the Buddha, where there was a small exhibit on the Buddha, which was built in 1993. The exhibit showed a dedication by the Chinese Government, which proclaimed freedom of religion long ago, and therefore respected the Buddhists (according to the proclamation).
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After the Buddha, I walked over to the monastery for lunch, which was a giant pot of rice, some mushrooms, and other vegetables. Plus there was a hearty bowl of soup. (I could have paid around $20.00 and received a deluxe lunch, but this was quite filling). I than walked around, observing Buddhist's praying, and then up a path, which is called a Wisdom Path, which consisted of 38 monuments from the Heart Sutra, which are words of wisdom.
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I rested for a while at the top of the path, and then walked back to the cable car. It was already around 6:00 pm, and the sun was going down, I took the cable car back, over the lights of the airport. Then I had 3 big packs of Sushi again at the Metro station, and took the metro back.
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Posted by DavidPearlman 20:10 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Holiday in Hong Kong

Yesterday, I took the ferry to the Hong Kong Island side. Other then meet a friend at 5, I really didn't know what I was going to do that day.

On weekends in Hong Kong, many service workers are off from work, and they go out to relax-many hang out in the plazas of the ultra modern office towers downtown-so the plazas are filled with flattened-out boxes where these folks camp out for the day-sort of like homeless people-but these people aren't homeless-they have food made at home, and have picnics in the office towers. From what I understand-the living quarters are so cramped they go to the office towers to hang out, and have picnics.

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The first thing i did after breakfast was take one of the double decker streetcars-I am a streetcar/subway buff so that is what i did. i took it to a place called Happy Valley, as how could anyone go wrong with a place called Happy Valley. I rode the streetcar approximately 1/2 an hour to Happy Valley, through the busy streets, passed other streetcars heading in the opposite direction, and I finally got there. I didn't find Happy Valley particularly happy-just another busy neighborhood. But it did have a race course, and I found a good lunch nearby at a cheap price.

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After Happy Valley, I took the same streetcar back to the central part of the island, which was the downtown area. Here I wandered around for a while, up and down the hill, just looking at stores and shops. I ran into someone from the hostel I was walking around, a girl from Shanghai who was here getting some type of treatment. She insisted on walking up and down the streets very quickly, phone in hand using Google maps, so she wouldn't miss an attraction. That's not how I roll-I walk around slowly, looking at the different people, taking breaks when I want, staying as long as I want. I don't rush, and pretty soon I was left behind.

Before I knew it the time was 4:00 pm or so-almost time to meet my friend Raki at the park. I met Raki two days before, when I went up to the top of the peak at Honk Kong. She is Filipino, and works in someone's home-taking care of the house and dogs. When I saw her she was watching Tofu, a big furry dog, and some others. We decided to hang out later, so I met her and her friends at Tamar park, overlooking the harbor. There we're literally hundreds of people in park, largely Filipino, having lunch on blankets for Easter. (i don't think too many celebrate Passover). I couldn't find Raki at first, as the park was huge. I did come across a few ladies playing and singing to guitar, so I decided to sit near them, and see if i could aceess my wifi to contact Raki. I sang along to what they played (First Nothing's gonna stop us now, by Starship, and then Two less Lonely people in the world, by Air Supply).
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They gave me some Sangria to drink and some type of noodles to eat for Easter. Then I got a picture texted from Raki, showing she sitting by an orange and blue tent. I found out that wasn't too far from where I was sitting, so I joined Raki and a whole bunch of her friends, and ate, drank some beer, and joked around. We sat around until after dark.
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Then basically we packed out. It turns out that Raki and a bunch of her friends had to get back to their houses for curfew. Yes-many home workers have to be home by 8 or 9 oclock in Hong Kong-by order of their bosses. I found if sort of ridiculous that grown adults have curfews but that is the way it works in Hong Kong with service workers.

I then walked around a little, and took the ferry back,

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Posted by DavidPearlman 17:10 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

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