A Travellerspoint blog

Hong Kong

Everything and Nothing like I expected...

This is an unedited rant. part of it written in Hong Kong, part in Canada. hope it makes some sense...

sunny 32 °C

I get goosebumps al over my body every time I hink of the insight I had today.
I was wanderring around a particularly busy computer shopping district this evening, right at dusk. flowing wth the masses of people and I, for a moment, was able to see this city as a living, breathing, inteligent organism! with subway tunnels for circulation system, people as bloodcells, carrying with them goods from one place to another.. in full communication through a cellular central nervous system1 there go those goosebumps again!
This place is impossible to describe... that is as close as I can come.
I did make it up to the peak last night. I picked a perfect evening and masde it right at sunset! incredible! I sayed up there for hours.. taking photos, pondering... and I met a half a dozen irish and scottish dentistry students...they had just begun their trip.
they asked me a million and one questions and I had all the answers, tips and reccomendations right at the tip of my tounge... made me feel very well travelled...
Over the last couple of nights I have been spending time with some Napalese fellows I met in the park one evening. It's like a ghetto park.. all kinds of seedy activity, me the only caucasion person in sight, only caucasion person out on the street there after 10pm... so people are curious. conversations start. We got to talking, when I said that I was from Canada they wanted to know everything. after a while of talking I realized that these people are very genuine, very generous, very curious and very honest. Conveerrsations went far into the night, by the end of the night we had to take photos together and they gave me gifts and walked me home. next night we met again, as arranged and they brough the rest of their frineds. probably about 10-12 napalese guys. One of the guys brought a guitar and they took turns playing their native music. Napalese mountain music. abslutely beautiful to the ears. so full of love. I had Sujan translate some of the lyrics, which roughly translate to an expression of the love the the mountains and the trees inspire in their hearts! amazing poeple. a couple of the guys were university gradutates. uni in Kathmandu, so they were really quite intelligent and really apprecitated the oppourtunity to use their, and learn more, english skills. They tell me that all of the white people they meet in Hong Kong are rich assholes. I don't doubt it. Most of my experiance holds true to that statement. rich people don't talk to other people who are not rich. especiually in a place like hong kong, where the rich are verry rich and the poop are very poor. I really enjoyed the times I spent with these fellows, their generosity, curiosity and geniunity will not soon leave me. I have the gifts they have to me, and the photos we took. one of the guys has invited me to KAthmandu in the fall. He wants to show me his country and show me mount everest. He is willing to vouch for me, to show me into the communities he grew up in and to pay my way. He isnsisted that all I do is buy a plane ticket there, nothing else. he says, "bring no money. no money. you are my friend, I will take care of you". and he means it. these poeple. my god. I really do want to experiance their way of life, f they can live in a part of Kowloon like that and maintain their faith in fellow man. Meeting them was proanly the most enjoyable part of my visit to Hong Kong.
I am actually back in Canada right now, writing this..and much has happened already so I'm in recall mode, struggling to recall all happenings in their vibrant intensity...
THings that I remember of most of Hong Kong.. was the mass transit system with it's octopus cards. reads it right through your wallet and you can use it inm stores like 7eleven to buy stuff...all you have to do is pass your wallet over the sensor and walk out. brilliant! no pins or waiting! And the multitude of exits at each station... exits A-K out to the streets, some of them up to 4 sub exits... like J1,J2,J3,J4, etc. If you know exactly where you are trying to get to, a quick look at a map and you know exactly which exit you need to go out. I understand why they call this the the octopus now... verrry easy to sue too. and it carries 2.5 milion poeple every day (not sure if I wrote that alreaddy, but the numbers are staggering.. that is almost the entire populationd of the province of Alberta using the same train system every day! and I NEVER waited longer than 2 minutes for a train. never. even if I just missed a train 20 cars long. another one was there in 2 minutes or less. uhh what else... the seas of short black haired people, all with going high tech cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, video players, computers and hybrids of all of the above, either strapped to ther heads, running at theirs sides or strpped by their necks.. people playing PSP's on the trains. high tech. the'se poeple like their gadgets.
Walking down the streets. bamboo scaffolding at the construction sites. hardware stores no bigger than a bedroom, scantly clad pretty chinese girls standing out side of stip clubs who grab your arm, "mister! come see" and literally forcefully attempt to drag you inside "It's happy hour. mister! come see!" The cold dry air spilling out onto the streets from designer shops, hotels and convieniece stores, chilling your feet and legs, a very welcome chill against the 90 some percent humdity and costant 32degrees C.
Hong kong also has the many, many different bank notes. Each type of note is issued by a different bank... I has 20Hk$ notes from 4 or 5 different banks in my wallet at the same time. each one is completely different but they are equal in value. The coins aswell. there are almost 20 different coins of different shapes and sizes. they are all issued by the same national bank, but thet are in a riddiculous number of denominations, making for very complicated cash registers...
I ate hardly a thing all the while I was there. It was very, very, difficlut to find a restaurant that: I could afford, had english menu, served things I considered edible (I went to a place that served things like pickled goose intestine and boiled frog) and looked descently clean. Walking down the street, I found it very difficult to tell what some of the stores even were... I couldn't tell if they were restaurants, hardware stores, tailors, brothels bathhouses, private clubs, or what. Everyhting is so strange and everyhting is in Chinese symbols. you just have to look into the store, see what items are there and what kind of people are running it and even then sometimes it's hard. My western catogorization stystems didn't work very well... I spent hald a day trying to find a bloody tailor. looking in all of the shops for something that resembled a sewing machine. really strange experiance.
When it rains in Hong kong, IT RAINS. my god. the sky literally falls on you. you might drown if you don't tip your mouth down. it's incredible. the steets flood and boats of garbage voyage toward the nearest drain... really crazy. luckily, It didn't last long when it did rain...
My experinace in Hong Kong will not be leaving me any time soon. Though it was short, it was the most forgein place I have ever been, it was one of the most trialsome, and also one of the most fascinating to me. their way of life is veeeeery, very different that anyhting I have known personally. Combined with the Wonderful Napalese people and ther kindness, generosity and friendship... and the crazy brothel/hotel place I stayed at.. with all the craziness it insued... combined with the huuge scale and absolute beaty of Hong Kong city center. high rises going high, sub-tunnels going low, Peasants on ground level, operating filthy little shops. The glitz, glamour and money of the rich upper class juxdeposed with the poverty, dillapidation and the filth of the poor lower class...
all of these elements and experiances fused together have left a wonderful impression on me and a wealth of memories and experiances, some of which, put me in a state of awe, some revolt me, some give me goosebumps, some fill my heart to it's very brim.
what a place. what a place.
that is my entry on hong kong.

Posted by fenderson 07:53 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Hong Kong Kaos

If you're reading this, I'm already home and have de-classified this information! hahah

sunny 32 °C

Holy shit.
This place is everything it claims to be. Craziest city I have ever been to, that much is for sure...
I've been here since yesterday afternoon (about 24 hours now) and have just now managed to find an internet cafe... the must be around but they're probably all labeled in chinese... this place is like a sardine can, I have to retract my keyboard, roll in my chair and hold my breath to let someoone by... can't really complain, because for some reason the place is packed full of really pretty little asian girls sharing seats and pretting themselves up in the mirrors covering the walls...
anyhow, to it:

The very first things I noticed were really intriging to me... how efficeint and clean everyhitng is, how my customs official kept all of his stamps neatly layed out infron of him, all of his papers straight... he even unfurled my passport and squared it with the counter's edge before neatly and carefully stamping it... myabe he was just OCD or something.. but it was the first thing I noticed that was a little weird...
The train ride from the airport (biggest airport in the world) was really cool. more like an airplane than a train! and it's a dedicated express line so it flies! not exactly a bullet train, but it's close.
The city is really a prime example of organized chaos.
Hygenics are big here.. signs saying not to spit on the ground, to wrap up spit before putting it in the garbage, not to feed the birds, etc. and the MTR (subway) is phenomonal! I bought an octopus card, it's good for a round trip on the express train and 3 days unlimited use in the city... 300 HKD, about $45 CAD. One thing that really, really tripped me out... actually made my laugh out loud, was the fact that in the subway walking tunnels, all you can hear is "clack click clack" of dressshoes and heels! it fills the tunnels! loooots of suits and really well dessed, very pretty asian women. Caucasian people seem to ring in at about 1% or so. not many.
All of the buildings here are tall. even in the shithole slumps of Kowloon penninula (not even part of hong kong island, it's on the mainland) where I am staying the dillapidated apartment buildings are taller than the tallest buildings in downtown edmonton. The city layout is very much different than Bangkok.. which has not definable CBC, it's just sprawling and spread out.. few sky scrapers here and there... here they are everywhere and all over. the whole bloody place is a CBD!
The place I am staying imn... I belive, is almost a bordello or something... the rooms rent by the hour, but I got a cheap rate by the night.. I'm paying 240HKD/night which is $35CAD. the room is really nice.. first hot shower, first flushing toilet first airconditioning unit I have had in a long while! the only thing about the room it's self is the padding on the walls around the bed.. hahah The building the rooms are in is the most dillapidated I have stayed in! it's about 50 stories tall and has a hollow right through the core, right to the top and I'm on the 3rd floor. water and other liquids drip all the way down... air conditioner units protrude into the tunnel, causing a waning drone throught. the staff speak absolutely no english. absolutely none. not even words like money or night... so no wonder they didn't tell me the nature of the activities going on there... I get strange looks from passers by when I walk in and out.. and the girls on the side walk are verry smily and friendly, and when people leave their rooms, they leave really fast, go separate directions and have no luggage! hahah. I checked out the markets last night! holy shit! some things are unbelivably cheap here! food and accomidations are understandably expensive, being as property values are at a premium and it that it must take nothing short of a organizational mirical to bring enough food into this tiny area to feed over 7 million people every day... but pructs that have been manufactured here are dirt cheap! jet torch lighters for $1, all sorts of blinking and light up LED junk for verrry cheap! chinese goods of all sorts, some things I saw in thailand were obviously bought in china and resond there for 3 times the price, which is still a hell of a bargain for westerners... so yes, I am doing some more shopping here! I'll probably have to buy another bag befre I go home! haha
ok. I'm not really sure where I am going or what I am doing.. so I'm just going to ride the trains all over...maybe try to get to "the peak" this evening, a tram to the top of one of the strange chinese mountains surrounding this city... watch the sunset from up there, maybe? I don't know... everyhting is cool here... if I could just find a decent meal for under 80HKD...
This is probably the weirdest place I have ever been...

Posted by fenderson 00:24 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

9 hour long sunset

Hong Kong is really muggy

rain 19 °C

Something about flying into the same sunset for 9 hours straight that makes you marvel at these giant birds we have put into the sky...
It is presently muggy as hell here in Hong kong... ad I don't have long to write, as my flight to Adelaide boards shortly.... but yeah. so far, so good. I am 16 hours different than Vancouver presently... and so far my clock doesn't see this as being any different than my normally erratic hours....
I was seated next to a very graceful Philipino woman on my flight... we had a wondeful time and kept eachother entertained most of the flight.... I taught her how to draw - she taught me biochemistry and breathed life into catholocism in a way I never thought possible...
The flight was very nertaining for me... not too often you get to see the Queen Charlotte islands, Alaska, Russia, Japan, Taiwan and China all in 14 hours....
Japan was probably the most spectacular from the air. Alot bigger than I imagined... Nagoya and Mt. Fuji were definetly the highlights. Tokyo was on the other side of the plane... and there were alot of clouds for most of the rest of the journey....
The Hong Kong airport is pretty spacey... showcases of high tech electronics... really bizzare... funny music coming from shops that sell a variety of god knows what... hard to tell what it actually is...
ok.
My flight is boarding soon!
Next stop, Oz.

Posted by fenderson 07:01 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged air_travel Comments (2)

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