A Travellerspoint blog

Hong Kong

Farewell Asia!

rain 9 °C

The Asian chapter of our magical journey has come to an end and both Charlie and I feel more than a little melancholy about this. We have no reason to feel sad as we are heading onto Central and South America and, no doubt, both destinations will provide equally interesting and also varied experiences. However it does feel rather symbolic that the first part of our trip has ended especially as Hong Kong was our last destination and one which left us both feeling so enthused about the city/country. I know that Charlie had always yearned to visit Hong Kong and the fact that it fully lived up to her expectations acted as an amazing footnote to the first four months on the road.

However, to try and summarise the seven countries we have visited in this entry seems rather futile. There have been so many great and wonderful experiences - as well as the not so great at times! We have learnt that our own experience has been tailored by our own decision-making. Our journey is unique in the sense that no other individual or couple would/will ever have the same experience as us! How amazing is that? So whilst, in theory, anyone can visit the likes of the Taj Mahal, Bangkok, Hanoi Opera house, Singapore, Hua Hin beach etc. and as great and wonderful as they all are it is the journey that you take for yourself that really adds the 'colour' to the overall adventure. The tiny, vile, and ridiculously hot room (with no air conditioning or fan) that was our home for four nights in Mumbai, the ten year old dented maroon and ant infested Proton that we drove through Malaysia, or the use of a kitchen for seven nights at Jack and Odette’s flat in Singapore are the daily elements that glue the whole thing together. Sure, all the aforementioned sights that I mentioned are great and I am really pleased to have seen them but I do find myself thinking and talking to Charlie about the small, others would suggest possibly insignificant, details much more. For me this has been as important as seeing as much of the world as I have seen so far.

The trip has been mind blowing there are no two ways about that and Asia has certainly been an amazingly educational place to kick start the adventure. I sincerely hope that the Americas can offer us half as much - which I am sure they will!

Oh, I forgot to mention earlier that on our last night in Hong Kong we went to Happy Valley racecourse. Charlie picked the winner in the first race and I picked the winner in the second...

...The next two races did not go quite as well but we still ended the night £1 richer!

Ross and Charlie

Posted by charlieandross 10:25 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (1)

Hong Kong takes the Crown!

rain 10 °C

Hello Everyone,

After enjoying the luxury of a flight from Singapore to Hong Kong we took a bus from Hong Kong airport to the Causeway Bay area on the Island, our home for just over a week. Arriving early evening, the scenic journey approaching the panoramic views of Hong Kong Island filled us both with excitement. We were dropped off at stop number 14, outside mix of tacky Chinese jewelry shops and the lovely Vivienne Westwood. We realised we would be staying in shopping central and the buzz of our street - known as 'Fashion Walk' reflected our feelings. We were both prepared by the dire accommodation that awaited us, but to our delight we were immediately offered a private double room with en-suite (caravan size shower-over-toilet bathroom) when they realised we were a couple. We instantly got a good feel for this guesthouse, and the friendly communal areas with wifi and a kettle, made up for our pokey room.

After a poor sleep on the hardest mattress either of us had ever known, we were ready to embrace Causeway Bay. Every turn we took gave us a sensory overload - modern high rises; run-down tenement blocks; bra's and knickers 'drying' in the damp, cold fog that is the weather here; bespoke, boutique fashion houses; trams; old buses; new buses; trendy fashionistas; City workers and dim-sum hawkers.....it goes on and on. We spent the day exploring the streets and then on to Times Square where we discovered a reasonably priced, but excellent vegetarian Cantonese restaurant on the 10th floor of the World Trade Centre - the food was excellent, tasty dim sum, Chinese tea, friendly service and a city-worker lunchtime buzz that you can't beat. We rounded off the day with a trip on the Star Ferry to Kowloon, munched on bakery treats and treated ourselves to a glass of wine, under patio heaters enjoying the panoramic view of Hong Kong Island.....it was quite magical.

Yesterday was one of those long, memorable great days out. We took the metro to Central (Soho) - another sensory overload of sounds and smells. The main market is legendary - live fish; dried fish; butchered meat of all kinds (see photo's - but don't if you're squeamish!), floristry stalls, row upon row, street upon street. The landscape of this area is really interesting, incredibly hilly, yet withstanding tall tenement blocks; the views are fantastic from any hilltop you choose, of the streets below. We stopped at a very traditional, old Chinese teahouse for traditional dim sum from trolleys in a take you pick and pay later style. Of course, I had no idea what I was choosing and poor Ross wasn't able to indulge, as everything was meat based. After trying at least one bit of everything, I was informed by a helpful local that I had eaten pork and fish stomach wrapped in pig hoof skin...nice! I also enjoyed a char-sui pork bun, some beef and spring onion meatballs and some sweet sponge cakes - at least Ross got one of those! The food was ok, but the experience was fantastic - old fashioned, noisy, rough and ready - the place was sprawling with locals reading their broadsheets, talking loudly, using toothpicks with dangerous speed and some of them laughing at our perplexed faces and lack of language understanding - it was very good fun. Ross was fascinated with the Chinese tea crockery...more to the point, how it was used...the hot water bowl to keep the cups warm and to wash the spoons, was also the water that made the tea.... defeated the point of washing anything. As Ross rightly commented, our tea pourer looked like he's worked there since he was born - huge bags under his eyes, a tired expression, he shuffled from table to table, in his tea stained whites, wiping and pouring, slamming down the cups and plates. He seemed content though.

We went from one extreme to the other, this time to an uber-cool New York style cafe - dark wooden floors and trendy lighting. This was a vegetarian, vegan, onion-free, garlic-free (I'm assuming this is for the Hare Krishna's who eat nothing grown in the dark), wheat-free, gluten-free place; we were intrigued to know how good anything could taste. A decent wrap, dahl soup, and quinoa cake later washed down with some flaxseed shakes....we had eaten well today!

We finished off the day in a tapas-style bar for a glass of wine and some free nibbles (got to grab it while you can!) before heading to Backstage on Wellington street (a quirky restaurant and gig venue) to see Craft Spells from San Francisco. The band (after a 2 hour wait) were actually pretty good and need all the help they can get after their promoters and sound engineers (Songs for Children) let them down badly. We left at midnight to catch the last tube back - all in all, another perfect day.

So far Hong Kong takes the Crown as the most seductive, stimulating and fun City yet on our world trip. It's the sort of City that just makes you smile, even though you can't really pinpoint what you're smiling at.

Hope you're all well back home - I believe it's warmer in the UK than here right now!!

Much love,

Ross and Charlie

Posted by charlieandross 22:14 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (3)

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