"Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself." - Charlie Chaplin

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hong Kong in a Wandernut-shell

Hong Kong grows on you. At least it did on me.

I felt a bout of claustrophobia when I first arrived, but after getting used to the looming buildings, the mass of human traffic from all directions and the small, quaint eateries, it wasn't too bad after all.

Here are some quick observations of Hong Kong and her people. A more detailed travelogue and photos will follow, as soon as I get myself organised. Maybe going back to work almost immediately wasn't too bright an idea. Should've taken another day off! Sigh.

1. Most waitstaff at typical eating places in HK woudn't make it as 'Employee of the Month' anywhere. The friendlier ones were probably just curious about the two Chinese-looking girls who spoke funny Cantonese and requested for menus in English.

2. Food is generally good and of high quality everywhere. The roast meats are divine. The wantans are big, juicy and delicious. The beef brisket noodles are as popular and commonplace as our chicken rice in KL. The dim sum, delicious. And they don't skimp on the prawns either.

3. We were pushed and shoved about quite abit while using public transport. The locals probably don't understand the concept of a queue. But I was told they could be post-1997 mainland migrants. It's a dog eat dog (or rather dog trample dog) world out there.

4. Speaking of dogs, Hongkongers love their dogs. And I don't mean for dinner. However, they do take their dogs out to dinner. They also walk their dogs at night on the streets. And I'm talking big-sized pedigrees like collies and golden retrievers. Given the average space of a typical HK apartment, I wonder how that's possible. The number of pet hotels and vet clinics outnumber ours any day. Best part is, there are no stray animals anywhere.

5. Hongkongers walk alot. The town planning is so good, everything is accessible from practically anywhere. Uphill. Downhill. Across zebra crossings. Covered walkways. Subways. Escalators. Bridges to connect different buildings. No exposed drains. No potholes. It's amazing.

6. Everything moves very quickly. Even the escalators are in a hurry.

7. The city ticks like clockwork. There's a pulse you can feel. It sucks you in. And eventually, you learn to keep up with the pace.

8. Luxury brands are at every corner. Gosh. How many Louis Vuitton shops do you need in one small island?

9. You see more cabs than cars. But almost every other car is a BMW, a Merc or some soup-upped sports car, ah-beng style (more commonly seen in the Kowloon area). Hmmm...

10. Things are generally outrageously expensive by Malaysian standards. Even in the smaller shops. A simple t-shirt can go into the region of hundreds. Horrors!

11. HK looks breathtaking at night. The city lights up and seems to come alive after the sun sets. I felt like a kid let loose in wonderland.

12. Central Hong Kong on Sundays is a big Filipina party. It's where all the maids hang out on their only day off. They are everywhere. Sitting on their plastic mats on the floor in front of the shopping malls. Having a picnic. Playing cards. Or even singing praise and worship songs. Wow.

13. The MTRs are tri-lingual. Announcements are in Cantonese, English and Mandarin. How's that for cool.

14. Taxi drivers often don't know your destination if you say it in English. Pronounce it a little differently, and they suddenly know where you want to go. Like, Sen-Tow for Central, for instance.

15. CC's wedding was simple and sweet. The food was more than fantastic (can't go wrong when there's suckling pig and a combful of sharksfin in superior soup, not that I condone the killing of sharks for their flavourless cartilage). And it was interesting that both his exes were at the same table (me from 11 years ago, and IM from 7 years go). In fact, IM and I are both friends with each other AND good friends with the couple. It felt a little strange, but in a good way. Seeing CC becoming a married man is probably one of the highlights of this year for me.

Read all about it.
HONG KONG Day 1: Mongkok, Yau Ma Tei & Tsim Shar Tsui.

HONG KONG Day 2: HK Island - Central, Escalator & The Peak.

HONG KONG Day 3: HK Island - Sheung Wan, Causeway Bay, Stanley & Lamma Island.

HONG KONG Day 4: TST, Yau Ma Tei, Mongkok & The Wedding.

HONG KONG Day 5: Central @ Little Manila, SOHO & Last Night in HK.

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Blogger snowdrop said...

welcome back! sounds like a fun trip!

5:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

~~~~~~~~geekchic

Like snowie said, welcome back. you've been greatly missed on my MSN contact list. Glad you had a great time :)

5:29 pm  
Blogger Mint Chutney said...

Welcome back Nutty! I've missed you.

7:53 am  
Blogger Spot said...

Wah, suddenly sneak of to HK and come back oredi!

Can't wait for the travelogue. I gave up on our Italy-logue cos got very lazy and too much to say...so faster faster do yours before the sien-ness sets in!

I'm glad I was there during sale season. Shopping was REALLY good then.

12:40 pm  

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