Off Again

To say the last month has been stressful is an understatement. When I haven’t been studying for a slew of end of semester tests and exams, I have been arranging my Christmas travels in more detail. While some of this planning was no more complicated than logging on to Hostel World and choosing the perfect balance between cost, location and amenities, other sections have proven to be more challenging. Fortunately, the worst of it is over and I can now enjoy my holiday.

I’ve started the Christmas holidays off with a stop in Hong Kong and have certainly enjoyed my first day here, though my feet are glad to be resting. I started the day off by teaming up with another girl from my hostel and going on a walking tour of the central area. Rather than focusing on traditional sights the tour provided an insight into the history of Hong Kong and its politics. The tour guide was wonderfully cheerful and well informed, including telling us where to get the best wanton noodles for lunch after the tour was over.

My favourite piece of history was about a feng shui war between the Bank of China and HSBC headquarters, as well as seeing the two lions, Stephen and Stitt outside the HSBC headquarters.

With full stomachs we rushed back over to Kowloon on MTR and headed up to Mong Kok and Prince Edwards for another tour, this one focusing on some of the social challenges faced by locals. In particular we learnt about the astoundingly high property prices and rents and how the local economy is so dependant on the maintenance of these high costs. For me, I found the existence on coffin houses where people live in cages or bunk boxes stacked upon one another and little bigger than a dog crate particularly shocking. Especially when the rent is between HK$1800 and HK$2500 a month.

After this rather gloomy though important tour a group of us headed off to sample the delights of a dim sum restaurant. I felt the Michelin Star of Tim Ho Wan was well deserved as the food was absolutely delicious and I won’t need to eat for a few years. A lovely pair of Canadian sisters knew all the best things to try and the conversation proved lively and stimulating so it was a shame to part ways.

We concluded the day with a trip on the Star Ferry and watched a somewhat anticlimactic “A Symphony of Lights” over Victoria Harbour.

4 thoughts on “Off Again

  1. Jenny buchanan

    Loved your descriptions of HK, it is an amazing place to take in,get ones head around or stomach full of (in a good way) and yes, you must visit Stanley Market, although it has been tidied up a bit these days its still not a place to miss. Look out over the harboiur and imagine us dragonboatt
    racing, then have a cool beer and know your grandparents were?are quite mad.

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    1. Haha, I’m fairly certain madness runs in the family, especially when it comes to travel. Hong Kong is proving to be lovely, though the smog is a shame. I am already looking forward to my next bowl of noodles or skewer of unknown but delicious food.

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  2. Grandpa

    Gran and I were in HK when the Lions at HSBC were initially removed from the old building and then replaced in front of the New one. They went to a huge amount of trouble to ensure that it was all done correctly and that the lions eyes could not meet, which is why they are not symmetrically positioned on either side.
    Stanley Market is usually a must see place, and if you pass Repulse Bay on the way there, that’s where we lived whilst we were there.
    Love the food – wish I was there.

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    1. Yes HSBC seems to have been very concerned about feng shui; apparently, every floor in their current headquarters cost HK$1million to be checked by a feng shui master.
      Thank you for the advice about Stanley Market, I think I have a free day so shall have a look at fitting it in.
      The food is certainly delicious, I don’t look forward to going back to canteen food at university.

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