Breaking the Bank in Hong Kong
Bottom line…Hong Kong is expensive. Well, let me clarify. It’s still (on average) cheaper than the US. You can definitely find some cheap buys here. But compared to the rest of my trip, I feel like there’s some highway robbery going on, LOL.
After getting my plane ticket situation taken care of (which really, I made a bigger hassle of it than need be. Had I gone to the travel service suggested in my Lonely Planet book–right across the street from me, LOL) I could have gotten it taken care of it 30 minutes…)
Anyway, after I got that outta the way, I decided to take the Star Ferry Harbor Tour. It was really cool–hot–but cool. On the ferry I met three Irish guys who’ve been my sightseeing buddies while in Hong Kong. It’s actually a good thing because the street vendors (mostly Indian and African men trying to sell you suits, Rolex’s, purses, and whatever else they have hidden in their corner shops, LOL) get rather aggressive. Not that I didn’t feel safe in Hong Kong, but the aggressive behavior definitely was toned down dramatically when walking with three huge guys, LOL. After the ferry we all split up–and decided to meet for drinks at 6.
I decided to go to the Hong Kong History Museum until it was time to link up. The museum was really one of the best I’ve seen on my trip so far. The beginning was kinda wack (the history went all the way back to pre-historic times. I still don’t know how that’s unique to Hong Kong…dinosaurs fossils, men that look like apes, blah blah blah…) But the rest of the museum was absolutely FANTASTIC.
One of the galleries had jewelry, pottery and weapons from thousands of years back. Another gallery had a history of the people of Hong Kong. There were the boat dwellers–who basically lived their lives on boats and only came on land for critical needs. Then there were the Punti’s. Their section was kinda small. I blinked and missed most of it, LOL. Then there were the Hokolos–who were known for their very colorful clothing. And then there were the farm people. With all of the different groups, they had walk thru models of their homes, exhibits of clothing, interactive exhibits (movie clips, computer things etc). It kinda reminded me of Old Salem or Colonial Williamsburg.
But perhaps the most interesting was the gallery devoted to British Rule. You know, during this trip, I’ve realized that Western influence can be a mixed blessing. Hong Kong has definitely been less challenging–because most people here speak English, there are TONS of English influences everywhere–as well as signs of capitalism. But going through the museum really opened my eyes to some of the downsides. Damn, the British were shiesty! So apparently back in the day, before the British took control of Hong Kong, they wanted to trade with China–Chinese Tea was in great demand in England. But the British didn’t have anything that the Chinese wanted, LOL. So what did they do? Introduced opium to the Chinese in mass quantities, got everyone addicted and got their way in the end. Isn’t that the most jacked up thing ever?
Anyway, I met up with my Irish friends later for dinner and drinks. We hopped around from place to place–but let me tell you…I spent 300 Hong Kong dollars for three drinks at the Sheraton. That’s about $40 US. Uhm, can we say ridiculous. Of course, the bar was spectacular–a breathtaking view from the top of the building… but I sure as hell paid for it, LOL.
The next day…I FINALLY GOT TO THE BEACH!!! The water was okay, but I was just so happy to be outdoors and in the water. The beach was at Lantau Island–about 40 minutes by ferry from Hong Kong Island. We also rented bikes and biked up (yet another mountain, LOL) to a waterfall. It’s so funny how just a short ride away can take you away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Last night was kinda low key–walked around the night market.
Today, I went to Victoria Peak. It’s supposed to the “the place” to visit in Hong Kong. I personally only thought it was aiight. And that kinda sums up my trip to Hong Kong. I leave today to go to Shanghai. Luckily I won’t have to suffer a 30 hour train ride, LOL.
One last thing–okay two–about Hong Kong. First, my bathroom is TINY. I definitely had it good in my hotel, LOL. No more…the sink is OVER the toilet–i.e. I can’t sit back and not hit my back against the sink, LOL. And the shower is just a hose connected to the wall. Of course I took pictures…
Second–compared to China–they are remarkably clean in Hong Kong. There has been soap in EVERY bathroom I’ve been to. Believe it or not, that’s not the case in China. Most here have toilet paper too. There are random hand sanitizer dispensers through out the city and people cover their mouths when they cough. For the minor germ-a-phobe that I am, it’s actually been quite pleasant, LOL.
Okay–well I’m at a free computer and someone is waiting so I best wrap it up.