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Archive for October 2nd, 2012

Farewell China, Hello Hong Kong

Posted by TravellingStrom on October 2, 2012

Mayan Prophecy Countdown

The computer repairs continued this morning but I was in no big hurry. Apparently I could not book into the shoebox until after 2pm, and if I allowed a few hours for the border crossing and train to Kowloon, I could stay here for a while and finish the job I had started. One thing I did not want to do was walk around the city with a big bag of stuff. So, after getting the laptop pretty much sorted, with all Murray having to do was create a Ghost image of the HDD, I was dropped off at the border post, only 300m down the road by foot, but 2.4km by road 🙂 Thanks for everything Murray, it was good to get to know you a bit better 🙂 The border crossing looked easy and fast, until I got to the other side into Hong Kong itself, then there was a backlog and long delays. For those that don’t know, Hong Kong was given back to China in 1997 after a 99 year lease to Great Britain. It is now classified as part of China, but is called a SAR or Special Autonomous Region, similar to Tibet, this allows them to continue as they have done in the past, keeping their own government and currency etc but still ruled by China. Because it is a SAR, I can enter without a visa, I get an automatic 7 day visa when I enter, but because I get stamped OUT of China itself, I cannot return, so now my China visa is gone. A strange system, but it seems to work, especially as a tourist destination. Crossing the river that delineates the border between mainland China with HK on foot is painless, they have a moving walkway, it is the other end that is a pain, I waited in lines for two hours before I was finally free to board a train, phew!

I got to the train station in Kowloon OK, I found the correct exit from the underground to the overground and even found the correct building and floor of my chosen shoebox. But, they could not book me in until later that day, so I left my bags and went for a wander. I am booked in at the YanYan guesthouse

As I walked down towards the harbour, I was of course the target of touts, I had been reading up on these and they are in your face type, but if you ignore them totally, they are harmless. I have no need of a tailor made suit, nor a watch or anything else thanks. I went past the art house that looks like a half buried golf ball and eventually got my first glimpse(for over 40 years) of Victoria harbour and Hong Kong Island. I did not get any big flash backs except for The Peak, which is the high point on that island where there was a funicular and if it was still running I would go for a ride. Here are some glimpses of Hong Kong.

I continued along the waterfront and came to the ferry terminals, here I found something I would never have expected and I guess it shows that the Hong Kong SAR is definitely a different place from mainland China. Falun Gong is a name synonymous with torture, beatings and death and I have really only heard it on the news back home, but I know it is about persecution of different beliefs, I don’t profess to know anything more than that about it, but the displays shown here were graphic and horrific. But, they were out in the open with NO police anywhere to be seen, real strange?

Over the next few hours I just whiled away the time, I grabbed a quick feed from a fast food joint, not all that nice really, but it filled the hole and after that I just people watched, OK, girl watched 🙂

As I headed back to the guesthouse, I went down an area called the star walkway along the harbours edge, in celebration of the film industry that occurred here, there were a few names I recognise, of course mostly to do with Kung Fu movies as you would expect 🙂

Of course that statue was of the legend Bruce Lee, who died a long time ago at an early age, but was King of Kung Fu for a long time. There was a teenage band down here performing, they were interesting for a short while until I spotted a beer shop, as it turned out a German bar, so my first ever beer in HK was a German one. LOL

I had a couple of these while people watching during the late afternoon, then I headed back to my ‘place of abode’ or shoebox and as you can see, there is not enough room to swing a cat in here!!!

I have to say that the absolute worst thing about this place was the stink. The aircon in the window sucked in the air from the middle of a bunch of buildings, there was no view. The cooking smells perforated the room but it was impossible to stay in there with no aircon, so I ended up living with it, but every piece if clothing I owned, plus everything else I owned soaked up that smell over the next few days 😦

But, never mind for now, beer and food called. Downstairs was all manner of food for whatever taste buds you had, from Asian, to African, Pakistani, Indian and all these were side by side on the ground floor of this building complex. I looked, but they had no beer 🙂 So I went next door to Murphys bar, an Irish Pub where there was good beer, no HK beer, but Chinese beer and they had good tucker. I met a nice chap from Holland who was working in Shanghai, but here for the holidays. We proceeded to go shout for shout and had a great time.

Cheers from Kowloon, Hong Kong

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