Thanks for coming back!
Saturday morning saw us experience the hotel breakfast for the first time. It was buffet style and I think there were mixed opinions on it. Some of the options were really quite nice and some were really not nice at all. Nay helped himself to a huge plate full of the wettest scrambled eggs you’ve ever seen and a couple of pale as fuck sausages. Safe to say he didn’t eat it, describing the eggs at one point as “Hong Kong’s smell in the form of food”. Which brings me nicely onto this negative for Hong Kong. There’s a very unpleasant smell in the air. Hard to place what it smells like, but it’s not great and it really offends your nostrils. I probably should also let you know the hotel was called Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees. I don’t expect for one minute that anybody reading this will stay there or even care for the name but it’s the done thing in these blogs isn’t it? Naming things and giving lots of detail. Gotta give the reader what they want.
After breakfast and the usual morning routine of shower and music we had a bit of free time to roam the streets of HK before our first of two scheduled tours with The Dragon Lady. Maybe the name I’ve given her in this blog is unjust or a bit harsh. For those of you readers who are backpacking you can make your own judgement as you know her but for those of you who aren’t, she was very Dragon-like. Maybe it’s just the way Chinese people act and conduct themselves but she was very abrupt, very angry and rude 9 times out of 10. Anyway the tour started at 1:30pm. This very hypocritical of me because I have just said it’s important to give you (the reader) as much detail as possible and to name things BUT I’m currently typing this from a seat on the plane where I don’t have an itinerary to hand and I don’t wanna get up to go and get it because I’m in between Ollie & Charlotte (rose between two thorns, right?) and they’re asleep. I’ll add a later post which will be a copy of our itinerary for those of you with a detail fetish.
The tour basically took us to various different scenic parts of Hong Kong. There were lots of photo opportunities but due to The Dragon Lady’s demeanour it felt very much like a bad school trip. At one point she actually shouted at a small group of us for dawdling behind the main body of the group. Complete overreaction if I do say so myself. HK is a very instagrammable city though which is a big benefit for any instagram fiends. It’s such a different culture over there to what we’re used to, obviously. My favourite part of Saturday’s tour was probably the part in which we got dropped off back at our hotel….
Nah just kidding. I’m actually struggling to remember what we did. My memory has never been good. I should’ve just gone and got the itinerary, I’ve been staring blankly at my phone for a while now. I think the best part was the first viewpoint we got to. It overlooked the city and harbour so it provided a nice view. Rome, who has actually sadly left us now for New Zealand, brought his drone along so he and Charlotte were razzing that around overhead much to the horror of one Chinese lady who was terrified when it flew by her and reacted in a way that suggested the drone was trying to attack her.
After the viewpoint we headed off to a couple of different markets. In the run up to this trip in general me and Nay were telling everyone back home that we were looking forward to HK potentially more than Aus because we had it in our heads that the markets would have a real buzz and there’d be loads of street food etc. Turned out we just completely overhyped it and was ultimately left underwhelmed by the markets. After the markets we were taken to a “traditional Cantonese” restaurant in downtown HK. With us all starving we were all looking forward to this meal. Our group is large at 31 strong so obviously we were always going to be split up but the way in which we were split up was poor. We had 4 tables in total. 3 tables were fair game and anybody could sit on them. However, the 4th table was around the corner out the way and was reserved for the vegetarians and vegans in the group. It was absolutely baffling to say the least. “Ice water on the table” we were told when we were sitting down. The water was room temp and had no ice in it. We should’ve taken this as an indicator as to how this meal was going to pan out. Long and short of the story is that it was terrible. Probably one of the worst meals I’ve ever had. We also got given a dish that was supposed to be sweet potato. As you can see from the picture below it was grey mush. “Nothing living has ever been that colour” Nay said, quite rightly.
Funnily enough the vegetarian and vegan segregates really enjoyed their meal which I suppose could at least kinda make up for the fact they were shoehorned into the corner. Oh, before our meal started we’d been given
Chinese tea to drink. I assumed one of the small bowls infront of me was the intended cup but once I’d poured it I was quickly hit on the shoulder and told off by The Dragon Lady for not waiting for a cup to arrive???? My head actually fell off. It’s probably worth mentioning that the Chicken & Sweetcorn soup was actually half decent. I do feel a bit harsh for laying into The Dragon Lady so much to be honest when she did actually provide me with a couple of my more memorable moments in HK. Here’s my favourite two quotes from her –
“San Miguel. Hong Kong’s best Chinese beer.”
“Aberdeen; an English word that comes from Scotland.”
Meal over and done with we were left to our own devices. The initial plan was to all go out round downtown as a big group, have some drinks and a laugh but due to the weather and various other factors it was decided that most of us would go back to the hotel via 7eleven and sit off in Freya & Billie’s room again. Only this time instead of 15 or so being in the room we had about 23/24 people. The noise complaints and visits from security came thick and fast causing a smaller group of us to break off and go into mine and Nay’s room. I wasn’t really sure what this was going to achieve noise wise cause we were only loud because of all the ale we’d ploughed. More complaints followed but by this point I think most people kind of just ignored it. The night was really a blur from then onwards. Obviously me, Nay and Abbie had to get a photo together though. Got to keep up the theme haven’t we? This gathering went until about 4:30/5:00am which a lot of us regretted come 9am when we had to be up and sorted for a midday checkout.
Sunday’s tour was a lot better than Saturday’s to be fair. We visited a temple in downtown that was more in line with what you’d stereotypically expect from Chinese architecture. We had a quick dive through an indoor market to go and see where they do palm readings. Whilst in the line I could hear ever so faintly “I bet you look good on the dancefloor” by Arctic Monkeys playing. I was genuinely buzzing at this and was telling anyone in the group I could to listen out for it. I was amazed that these locals who could barely talk English were listening to AM. Anyway, we walked a bit further on and before I knew it I could hear “Fake Tales of San Francisco” playing in another market stall. I was speechless. Multiple locals with a love for the Arctic Monkeys, surely not? Then I had a lightbulb moment. I pulled my phone out my pocket and it was my phone playing the songs the whole time. Fucking idiot. Anyway, after the market we went to a botanical garden that was probably my favourite moment of the whole trip. Me and Nay even got stopped by 5 or 6 local women who asked if they could have pictures with us. I could barely stand up for the photo due to laughing at the request. We stood there for a good couple of minutes whilst we had about 8 pictures with various women purely because we were foreigners. Absolutely amazing. Unfortunately I didn’t get a copy of the picture off of them.
Once the garden (and an additional Jade market) was boxed off it was time to go to the airport. Our time in HK had come to a close. We managed to get through the airport with relative ease and this was where we had to ultimately say goodbye to our new friends who had opted to go to New Zealand instead of Australia. Luckily for them though they only had a 3 hour wait until their flight whilst we had a 6 hour wait. I’m really happy we chose to do a group flight through Bunac because the group of people we’re with are ace. We’ve really started to become more integrated so it is a shame we’re now 9 members down BUT we still have the rest of the group. Obviously I’ve not been able to name everybody in the group on the post and I could only include a couple of specific moments with people otherwise you’d be here all day reading the tripe I write. I do want to say though that the card game called “bullshit” is really good for passing time if you’re ever at a loose end. Ollie and Neve also have the worst poker faces in the world so if you can get them in your game, even better.
We’re landing in about 45 minutes so I’m signing off. Buzzing to get into the sun and to get another bevvy so cheers as always. Back soon.