April 2014


Hong Kong and Me.

Hong Kong Harbor at Night

Hong Kong Harbor at Night

So the raison d’être for my trip to Asia was Hong Kong – a follow on vacation to the trip that I took with a friend to New York City two years ago.

We’d enjoyed ourselves so much that we decided to start doing it every second year – and after a series of conversations, we settled on Hong Kong. It was that or Singapore.

I can honestly say that I’m very happy that I have visited Hong Kong. It’s clear that living there is an interesting, dynamic, experience. Heck, on some level, I could imagine living there.

Truck unloading.

Typical Street Scene on Hong Kong Island.

But I can also honestly say that I’m in no particular rush to return to Hong Kong. I can visualize it as a stop over point on my way somewhere else, but it doesn’t seem like an actual destination to me – at least the tourist version of me.

There were, that said, some highlights to my trip.

View from Twenty-One Whitfield

Sunset View from Twenty-One Whitfield

First, we booked the perfect hotel, Twenty-One Whitfield. There is a lot to recommend this hotel – the location, which is not in a touristy area, is close to a metro station and, assuming you are on a high enough floor, comes with spectacular views of Hong Kong and its skyline. Further the room is extraordinarily designed; with virtually everything perfectly located and placed. My main quibble with the room is that the shower drain was not as good as it should have been – but in the gigantic scheme of things, it is a minor quibble.

View from Twenty-One Whitfield

View from Twenty-One Whitfield

The best thing that we did whilst in Hong Kong was to leave the city – we took a trip out to one of the “outer” islands, Cheung Chau. Cheung Chau is a nice place to visit – with a small population, lots of roads (paths) to wander. It turns out that one can go swimming in Hong Kong and have a grand old time on the beach.

Health warning at the cemetery

I only noticed this health warning at the cemeteries in Hong Kong. Either late warning or a morbid reminder to people visiting their deceased friends and relatives.

If I were to move to Hong Kong, I would live on Cheung Chau or one of the other outer islands. I need not live in the city center.

Truck unloading, Island Style

Typical Street Scene on Cheung Chau Island.

Beyond that, I am glad that I’ve wandered the city and seen its spectacularly boring, yet world famous, light show. We wandered the streets and markets around Mong Kok, visited the Hong Kong History Museum (entirely too broad in some respects, yet cutting history off as of 1997), and spent time exploring the area around our hotel.

Fowl Sale

Fowl Sale

Violet cake shop

The Violet cake shop had the best chocolate bun/bread item I have ever eaten in my life.

Random thought: there are incredibly inexpensive breakfasts in Hong Kong that are delightfully bland and filling – and come with the world’s worst coffee. Thankfully I found a Starbucks (well, several, but one reasonably close to the hotel).

The worst aspect of the trip, at least for me, is that I appear to have eaten something that violently disagreed with me. Basically I was incapacitated from about 12:30 Saturday until about 1:30 Sunday. I have no idea what it was that triggered this, but I can only say that I was grateful that I did not need to travel. My travel companion met me at my 5pm appointment Saturday and then made sure I got back to the hotel safely – oh yes, I bought a bespoke suit and it looks fantastic. Pictures later, after I have actually worn it.

View from The Peak

Sunset view from The Peak.

Our last evening together we took the bus (not the tram) up to The Peak, where the sun was setting – it made for spectacular views, before grabbing a taxi down to Aberdeen and the Jumbo floating restaurant.

Jumbo Floating Restaurant

Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen.

Both of us left Hong Kong with the same feeling that I’ve described: we’re glad that we visited, but we don’t see any need to return.

On the other hand, I do want to return to Seoul.

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