HONG KONG- recap

After a long long flight from the Fijis via Auckland I finally got to Hong Kong on what I thought was just a rainy day. Exhausted from my travels I went to sleep and decided to get up early the next morning to apply for my Chinese visa. I slept like a baby, woke up full of energy and left the hotel. Outside it was still raining and it was quite windy. I protected my documents and walked about 10 minutes to the Chinese Embassy. The streets where deserted. Strange I thought. Outside the Embassy though was a huge crowd and the doors of the visa office were closed with a little printed note: “Due to severe weather conditions the office is closed. Sorry for any inconvenience”. The crowd (a weird mix of Chinese living in exile and Americans) was angry- they said that their passports were inside and without passport no hotel room…they told us to stay and called the Hong Kong police. They arrived with 4 cars. They yelled like crazy and made the chief of this police force call the Chinese ambassador in Hong Kong. Huge foreign and exile crowds make the Chinese very nervous. The ambassador decided to send people there to open the office. The angry crowd got their passport and I could apply for my visa just before the start of the Chinese National Holiday (it lasts a week). Turned out the rain and the wind were a typhoon rated 8 out of 10…that was my welcome to Hong Kong and Asia!

Things calmed down afterwards. I got my visa the next day and spent the rest of the time visiting the city, hotel hopping (that’s what happen when you book last minute during the Chinese holiday week) and enjoying the weird mix of London and Asia that is Hong Kong. In many ways Hong Kong is still British: people queue at bus stops, British chains (Marks and Spencer, Watson’s, Pret à Manger, Pizza Express…) and than you turn into a side street and you are in Asia: little shops, markets, street food…

I also met really cool and fun people. When I went visiting the Giant Buddha I met Gabi a girl from London. We visited the Buddha together, went hiking up the Wisdom Path and had a fun experience sharing food on our way back and strolled the streets of Soho. Xavier a friend of Marie-Lise who has been living in Hong Kong for a couple of years introduced me to some of Hong Kong’s nightlife with some crazy bars. The best is certainly one in Soho on Wellington street, where you have to ring a door bell , get up some stairs and find yourself in place that looks like a student’s alternative house share in Berlin. He also took me to Cheung Chau island where we ate great seafood and hiked. I totally freaked out when a snake fell down a tree a couple of feet in front of us!

Randomly I learned from Pamela that Anja (who I used to hang out with a lot in London) was moving to Hong Kong a few days after I got there. We had a good time catching up: we met some days in Hong Kong and walked around and I went to see her, her husband and 7 months year old son in Discovery Bay. It’s cool and weird to meet people again randomly like this!