So I had made my way to Heathrow Terminal 5, (which is actually very good despite the bad press at the beginning of it's life) and apart from wondering what good a condom machine was in the departure gate toilets, (you'd think they try and discourage people joining the mile-high club) it was you're average flight experience. Just longer.
Arriving in Hong Kong was naturally a relief as firstly, it was nice to get off the plane after 12 hours, and secondly it was much warmer here than the UK. 22 degrees to be precise. I've definitely had it with snow for one year, and here it seems to be guaranteed to stay away.
The first impressions I had of the city were good. It seemed to live up to my expectations of being a large modern metropolis. Then I got to the Hostel. I wasn't expecting much and that's what I received. The place I'm staying in is above an arcade of shops that seems to be based on Blade-Runner style LA. I half expected to see Rick Deckard running around, looking for replicants to 'retire.' What is very surprising is the sheer amount of ethnicities present. Obviously I was expecting a lot of Chinese people, but there really is a mix of everyone.
So what's good about Hong Kong then? Well, for one thing it's got many features which might seem familiar to the British tourist. They drive on the same side of the road as us, they use the same plug sockets etc, most people speak English in some capacity, they have Marks and Spencers, and they have those Big Bus company open-topped buses also. What's different? Well for one thing there are these strange shops everywhere that seem to sell dry fish and other such things (I cannot tell for the life of me what the stuff is mostly). I don't know if they eat the stuff they sell in it or if they simply use it for medicine. Needless to say it's not what we tend to see at home. Another difference is how crowded in everything is. Yes, Hong Kong is a big city but it doesn't spread over a very wide distance. Everything just seems to go higher to compensate. Also strangely they had a shop called Marry Claire, (I'd rather see what she looks like first) which seemed to be a cheap knock-off of the Marie-Claire brand.
Unfortunately a downside was the hawkers who see a white tourist and try to hassle them into buying a suit (mostly Indians I might add, the Chinese tended not to bother me, except for one fierce woman that practically insisted that me and my companions should go to the massage parlor she was promoting.) After a while you become used to seeing them coming, and then could start trying to duck out the way whilst doing everything to break eye-contact. However, they're persistent and walk up to you and talk to you. Mostly a simple "I'm not interested" wards them off but others are more assiduous. Much like an Indian call-center, but in real life. What I really wanted was a big stick and a sign that I could attach to myself saying, "I AM NOT INTERESTED IN BUYING A SUIT OR A WATCH!" and then if they refuse to acknowledge that then could deal with Mr Stick. Sadly though, I didn't have the time to construct such a thing.
Most of the enjoyment I got out of this city was just from simple sight-seeing, be it from the top of the peak,to the many parks and sky-scrapers. Hong Kong is undoubtedly a shoppers dream, as there seems to be at least one branch of every big brand you could think of. However, I'm not a shopper so this went right over my head. Also it's worth mentioning Hong Kong isn't cheap. Drinks are pricey and food is so-so for cost. Overall I think 3 days was enough to spend here. Now onto Vietnam where I might struggle to update for a while if they block blogger etc.
Note: 1. Blogger isn't blocked in Hanoi, so let the fun continue.
2. Excuse the shoddiness of the first draft of this article. I noticed on reading it a second time it was riddled with errors. I'm hoping I've edited most of them out, but I was in a real rush to write this post first time round.