A Travellerspoint blog

Hong Kong

Last Day in Hong Kong-Gettting Married and a Poor Beach Day

Yesterday was my final day in Hong Kong. First thing is I wanted to replace my Lonely Planet guide-(I lost mine in the Visa office, I think). I enjoy them as souvenirs as well. i left the hostel and took the bus 35 minutes to the metro, and then to the bookstore where the first was purchased, and they we're out. I then took the metro to the MTR-Metro to another bookstore across the harbor, and they had it, so I bought it there.

I then walked up to the St John's Cathedral, and I witnessed a wedding, complete with the bride and groom-and their friends cheering them after the promises we're made. I listened to the beautiful liturgical music-the same music played as during Elle Wood's graduation ceremony in Legally Blond.

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My reason for being at the church was much more pedestrian-when I was there on the walking tour the other day-I saw a old Lonely Planet China guide on sale in the adjoining thrift shop for around $3.00. So I celebrated, it was still there, and I purchased it. A Chinese couple celebrated their new union, and I celebrated the purchase of a beat up travel guide.

I then went down and found the bus to Stanley-which is a beach town with a market. My sandals we're beat up, and I wanted another pair-so after another 45 minute bus ride, I found Stanley Market, which had mostly souvenirs but nothing to great. I was very touristy on the beach. While the beach was beautiful, it was a cold overcast day-I did have lunch of some fish and chips and a beer, and walked up to a beautiful Buddhist temple overlooking the beach.

I then got on the bus-and got off a little later, at a place called Repulse Bay-a popular beach community. Repulse wasn't repulsive-it was named that because pirates trying to attack we're repulsed by the shallow waters and their vessels got stuck. Here I walked and found a giant Buddhist playground (it appeared), with horses, and a guy with a beard and tablet who looked like a cartoon version of Moses. Lonely Planet listed this place as sort of kitsch, but people we're praying there, so it was serious.

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I was feeling sort of ill-perhaps from the weather change or the fish and chips-so I took the bus another 35 minutes to the hostel and took a nap. it was now after dark-so after an hours sleep, I took another bus to the metro (another 45 minutes)-to the market area on Kowloon island, and bought some sandals for around $8.00. Along the way, I found another cheap sushi place so had dinner. Then I took another bus back to the hostel.
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Posted by DavidPearlman 16:45 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Spoiled by Filipinos in Hong Kong

Yesterday was the Chin Ming festival in China, which means many natives take a day off to look after the grave sites of their deceased relatives. it means most people are off, and that includes the folks who work in peoples houses, like Raki, my new Filipino friend, and other friends.

Raki, invited me to Mui Wo, on Lantau Island for a picnic, as a friend of hers is living there. So I met Raki and her friends at the ferry to the island about 10:30 am, and we took the ferry over. After the 45 minute ride, we reached the island, with a lot of shops at the harbor (I actually visited the island a few days prior). I helped Raki carry over the supplies that had, which included food and bbq grill. We waited to meet their friend, and I bought some coffee for everyone from MCD's.

After about 1/2 an hour-we met her friend, who told us it was about a 10 minute walk to the apartment she was staying in there (she was watching her bosses 2 dogs-who we're cute but not real friendly, and staying at the apartment owned by her boss)-it took more like 20 minutes-20 half an hour-up dirt roads, up a trail, and finally we reached the apartment, which was the smallest one bedroom apartment I have ever seen. it had a tiny kitchen with a mini-refrigerator, and the "living room" had a place for a futon, and that was about it. We sat at a table outside-Raki's friend had a good boss, who let us visit and use the apartment)
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Anyway, Raki and her friends prepared the food they had brought. They prepared salads, oranges, mangos, fish, chicken, noodle salad, and all sorts of foods. Plates and plates of food. They ladies we're cooking all day. They mixed the foods inside the kitchen and cooked the fish and chicken on the bbq outside. I asked if I could help out. They stubbornly told me to sit and relax. Then we all ate. The food kept coming all day. So did the beer and wine. i felt bad-the only chipping in I did was for the 5 coffees from MCD's by the pier that morning.
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We left at 7:30 that evening, after I was full of enough food for a week and plenty of beer and wine. We stumbled to the pier, and missed the 8:40 ferry simply because we we're outside and not paying attention. (we thought we could see it from the side of the terminal we we're sitting on-but it left from the other side). We caught the later ferry at 9:20.
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Unfortunately for me-I still had to leave my current hostel and move to another one (my third in Hong Kong). In all of my worries about the Chinese Visa-I forgot to extend my stay at the hostel-and by the time I checked into it the day before (two days ago), it was sold out (there is a giant rugby tournament in Hong Kong this weekend)-so i had to move-so this entailed:

After saying goodbye to Raki at the Central ferry terminal, I took another ferry to the other side of the river, found my way through the streets to the old hostel, grabbed my suitcase, went downstairs to the metro, and took the train to the other side of the river, where I got a taxi to the new hostel. I didn't feel like any of that-but I did it. The new hostel, the only place I could find at a reasonable rate-isn't along the metro line-but is sleek, airy and modern-which is different from the other two.

Posted by DavidPearlman 15:32 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Hong Kong if it Rains We'll Get Wet

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I got up early for a new walking tour. it looks like it was going to rain-I remember the immortal line "If it rains-we'll get wet". I got the line from the night before, after Ross and Emily we're about to get married in London in an old house that was demolished (where Rachel decides to fly to London to tell Ross she loves him)-that's right-Friends is always on and is inside my head. After being in Hong Kong for over a week, one might ask what type of walking tour one would like.

This one talked about the history of Hong Kong.

(A) The tour guide's father swam from China to Hong Kong back in the 1970's. His family was composed of artists and creative people, which the communist government tried to stamp out-and didn't give food rations cards. They we're starving and swam across the channel to Hong Kong. The father's cousin was eaten by a shark on the journey.
(B) The Chinese government has been slowly causing democracy to disappear since the handover in 1997. While there was an election for the leader of Hong Kong in 2014, only 1200 folks we're allowed to vote. This resulted in huge protests in the street which took place over 2 months.
(C) Feng Shui results in a lot of big decisions in Hong Kong. In the financial crises on 2007-2009, HSBC hired a Feng Shui expert to redesign every floor of it's headquarters, after it's stock price declined.
(D) In Chinese weddings-an invitation card is presented, along with a requirement that the invitee has to give the wedding couple something like $300 Hong Kong dollars, since living expenses are so high, so people tried to decline invitations.

It was a most interesting tour. it ended close to 1:00. The big deal of the day was to go back to the Chinese Visa office and see if my Visa application was approved. I wasn't feeling too hopeful. I didn't have a flight scheduled when i applied. My application was messy and a phone number was wrong. I had to go back at 4:00. If I didn't get the Visa, and still wanted to go to China, I would have to reapply and not find out until Monday. To pass the time, i rode the Metro about 45 minutes-to a light rail line. This was sort of an ugly part of Hong Kong-old industrial style housing. i rode the light rail about 20 minutes and took the train back to the metro. Before getting on t he light rail-I found a branch of that cheap sushi place, and had some sushi.

That passed the time-I took the metro back downtown to the Chinese Visa place. The lady asked if I was there to pick up my visa-I said yes. She went in the back and checked and said the passport was still at the Chinese embassy. I later found out that there was an issue with all of the American passports. I waited and waited. I just knew mine would get denied, which meant staying in Hong Kong for a longer time then I would have liked.

At close to 6:00, the passports finally arrived. It turns out that the three Americans we're all approved. Rather then a standard 10 year Visa we all received a single entry 30-day visa-which we we're fine with.

i went back to the hostel relieved, and found out that there was a dim sum dinner arranged by the hostel. I went out with about 9 others and ate dim sum, and then to a bar for a beer. We had two additional beers from 7-11 afterwards. I and another fellow went back to the hostel after that. I haven't drank more then a beer or two at once since travelling, and that wasn't a good idea.

Posted by DavidPearlman 16:48 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

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)

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