我話畀你聽

Dates: 1/12/12   –   1/18/12

Location: 香港 [Hong Kong]

Lawlawlawl. Sorry for the black-out on updates. What with this whole new country every week thing, it’s pretty hard to find time to just chill and inform the world that I’m still alive. So yes, it’s my last night in Hong Kong and I have yet to write a word about it. I’ll just spend tonight doing that, I s’pose.

Because I left all my blog-writing until the end of the stay, all I can really think to give you is Hong Kong via impressions.

But before that, I just felt like I needed to inform you that sometimes when you’re leaving Korea via Incheon International Airport, time rifts just open up and then people spill out of it in period dress. I… I can’t explain why, things just happen like that.

To add to the confusion, changing everything from Korean won to Hong Kong dollars made a mess of everything because I’m horrible at dividing by seven. It’s seven HK dollars for every US dollar and that makes for $32 noodles, $19 6″ subs, and a very confused Ryan. Also, somebody forgot to impress the value of consistency on the Hong Kong mint because for every denomination of paper money [$10, $20, $50, etc.], the three major Hong Kong banks have decided to make their own version of the bill. So now I have a 20 with a lion, one with a building, and one with other random things on it. Also, there’s plastic money. Aka paper money made of plastic. I can’t with you, HK money. I just can’t. x_x

In any case, Hong Kong greeted us with the Chinese landscape covered in mist that I’d always pictured. Except not really. The mountains that got lost in the clouds were made of steel and glass and instead of green, most of the landscape was overwhelmingly grey. For having such nice sunny weather this entire trip so far, I guess the universe needed to restore its own balance. Our stay in Hong Kong was 80% rainy and cloudy and though I wish it were otherwise, I would’ve taken the 60 degree rain a million times over Korea’s 35 degree sun. Hong Kong was the first time I’d been able to wear shorts in over 2 months. Nice change of pace.

But yeah, looking at Victoria Harbour, the face of Hong Kong, in such a drab state was almost like catching her without makeup on. But that definitely is not to say that Hong Kong wasn’t still beautiful.

In fact, it was even more-so than usual. Everybody was gearing up for the Chinese New Year coming at the end of the month, so it was red and gold everywhere as well as these prosperity bushes [I… don’t really know what else to call them] of Chinese Lemons [I have a striking suspicion that they either are Philippine calamansi or a citrus relative of some sort] that provided color to the scenery. You could smell the festivity in the air, or maybe that was just the street vendors selling 鶏蛋仔.

And at night, Hong Kong’s famous neon sprang to life. It could not have been less grey.

As far as the language goes, I’ve been friends with Cantonese speakers long enough to know how to count and ask where things are and believe me, those things go a long way. As long as you can count, you can tell people how many seats you need at a restaurant, how many engrish shirts you want at the market, and ultimately haggle the prices of said engrish shirts down. For everything else, there’s Mastercard people speak English or at least enough to help you out, which I appreciate. A lot. Also, because of our Japanese abilities [limited as they are in China], we can sort of make out what things mean via the Chinese characters shared by the two countries’ writing systems. Woo!

~ ~

I feel like when you go to HK, you come with goals in mind. Things like:

“I must go to Victoria Peak.” ☑

“I must cut a market-vendor down to half price.” ☑

“I must buy a traditional Chinese flute.” ☑

“I must have milk tea every day while I’m here.” ☑ [This was Julia’s goal, but it was inadvertently adopted by everyone.]

“I must have the best dim sum of my life” ☐ [Working on it. Tomorrow morning before we leave, I promise.]

It’s stuff like this that I based my stay in Hong Kong on and I think it was pretty successful. I enjoyed myself a lot and that’s all that counts, really.

Oh but yeah, [JACKIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE] one more thing I must rant about is the existence of the shower-toilet. In order to conserve space where it is limited, someone had come up with the ingenious idea of placing the shower head directly above the toilet such that whenever one takes a shower, the entire bathroom gets soaked. Needless to say, I don’t even see the point and my thoughts on the entire situation can be summed up in a resounding “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.” I guess you really don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone because I have never in my life appreciated showers that aren’t also toilets more. x_x

I hate to paint such a so-so portrait of Hong Kong life with this first entry, but I swear it gets better. A whole lot better, actually. Of all the places I’ve been to thus far, I think Hong Kong might be my favorite… favourite. Hong Kong is vibrant. It’s the centuries-old Chinese soul wrapped in British orderliness and I think it’s a place everyone should go to at least once.

[edit] Sorry, file hosting site is being crappy again so I’m Youtube linking the song.  “Wun Lern Chon” by Jin.

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