Concrete Jungle Meets Serene Green

1 05 2009

Concrete Jungle Meets Serene Green
May 1, 2009 – May 3,2009 

We’re here!!! Sorry for the lack of updates… getting to an Internet cafe has not been easy!! 

We arrived at the Hong Kong airport on April 30th at about 7:00pm. The airport itself was quite the sight to see. Every single staff… and I mean every single one, was wearing a mask! Swine flu notices were being given out everywhere and we had to fill out a form about our current ‘health and wellness.’ Anyone who had even remote flu like symptoms wouldn’t have been allowed through the gates. I mean it’s great that they are being cautious and all… but come on, like who is actually going to write down ‘Hey look at me over here… I have a runny nose and a sore throat, please send me back to the place I just flew 13 hours from!’ 

What can I say about Hong Kong besides that fact that its amazing! It’s just the coolest city ever. The buildings are seriously on steroids here… huge!!!!! But if you look just a little beyond that, you see big beautiful gardens surrounding them – the greenery and the rich natural colours of the trees and flowers here are just breathtaking! 

Our first night here… believe it or not, we went to Soho… super cool district with cute bars and restaurants everywhere. It was full of expats just drinking and chatting on the streets and in front of the pubs. We went to an ‘African Lounge’ called… ‘Africa Lounge’ … where we listened to this great African live band playing with that Bob Marley vibe and I had a ‘Brazilian’ drink and then we went to a “Nepalese’ restaurant called ‘Annapurna’ for some eats and shisha. I almost forgot we were in China!!! 

The next day is when the real Hong Kong experience began. First stop – Stanley Market. This is truly the definition of what South East Asian markets are all about. Everyone is selling pretty much the same thing… you have your pashmina stores, and your cool ‘art’ stores, jewelery stores and then randomly out of nowhere, you see a ‘Crocs’ store. Sadly though… Zaileen and I were slightly disappointed with our selection. The boys on the other hand managed to finds something that pleased them… toy helicopters! You know the kind that fly on their own in the air through some sort of gadget you control… i guess it’s a boy thing because I’d rather spend my money on clothes and jewelery. 

The cool think about Stanley Market was that amid all of the people and chaos, once you get to the end of the road and turn a little corner..its like paradise was waiting for you on the other side… all you could see was the most beautiful picturesque waters for miles to come, and big orange rocks around the perimeter… you know the big grainy kind you can sit on. As frustrating as it was to sift though that market, seeing that beauty at the end of made it totally worth it! 

The next stop was Causeway Bay… which is pretty much their downtown shopping area. It was massive!!! Huge malls with endless floors (sogo mall… high-end stuff), and big tall buildings of shops everywhere. Surprisingly, after walking through all that, plus Times Square, Windsor place and wherever else we stumbled upon, not one purchase was made… I know right – WTF!! 

After all of that walking and so-called shopping, we looked across the street beyond the insanity and Farhan says ‘Hey its looks like there’s some sort of festival going on there. Why don’t we check it out and get something to each there.” We crossed the street and weren’t we in for a bit of a surprise…. What we though wa a festival, was actually a huge, major protest of hundreds and hundreds of Filipino workers who were fighting for their rights to getting minimum wage which is about $33 Hong Kong Dollars… that works out to about $3.00 – $4.00 Canadian. It was actually really sad to see that. Some of these workers are nannies and when the weekend hits, the parents are home with the kids so there’s no use for the nannies. Because of that, the nannies often have nowhere to go and all end up sleeping on the street for the weekend. 

I hate to switch from such a somber topic to an up beat one… but for the sake of this blog, I don’t have much of an option… 

The night life in Hong Kong is crazy! Partying in Calgary will never be the same again. we went to this street called “Lang Kwai Fung Street”. There were people and clubs everywhere. If you’re standing outside in front of the club listening to one type of music… take five steps forward and its like youre in a completely different place with a different vibe and totally different tunes. We ended up at this place called “Fong Underground” – it’s a must if you’re ever in Hong Kong and like R&B music!! Oh yes, before I forget… dinner consisted of chicken shawarmas at this place called ‘Ebenezer’s Pub’…yep I said it- Ebeneezer!!!! The most Caucasian name of life… in the middle of Hong Kong – selling Middle Eastern Food. You gotta love it! 

Our ride home from the club was definitely entertaining as always… Farhan was sitting in the front of the taxi making small talk with the cabbie as usual, and trying to get Chinese lessons from him at 3am… “How you say ‘Hello? How you say ‘Thank you”. This went on for pretty much the whole cab ride home… I guess you had to be there but if you know Farhan, you can only imagine how hilarious this would have been!! 

Today is our last day in Hong Kong. Our fight is at 8pm so we decided to make the most of our day. Victoria Peak is one of the top tourist attractions in Hong Kong. It’s basically one of the highest point in Hong Kong you can climb and once you get to the top, all of Hong Kong is at your finger tips. Now there are two ways to get to the top of Victoria Peak… you can take the tram which is about 8 minutes, or you can hike which is about an hour and a half. Being the keen tourists that we are… we decided to hike. – word of caution, do not do this in flip flops and take plenty of water, snacks and a towel! An hour and a half later, after climbing one of the steepest mountains of life, we finally got to the top. You could see all of Hong Kong at a glance. The buildings that seem like a giant monstrosity at the bottom look like super cool little Lego pieces at the top, surrounded by the bluest water and the greenest trees. Hong Kong truly is a chaotic concrete jungle and a peaceful paradise all wrapped in one! 

Oh and before I forget, I must tell you about the people of Hong Kong… so kind! We got the best service everywhere we went. and everyone always seemed so happy. There were all kinds of people in Hong Kong. From the man on the street with no arms or legs, painting a beautiful picture with a paint brush in his mount, to another man who literally had no face left from what seemed to be a burn accident… all of them, smiling. 

Next stop… Bangkok