Exploring Hong Kong

We had several days to explore Hong Kong. Our hostel was actually located on another island in an area called Kowloon, one of the main tourist drags full of good eats and excellent shopping . It was only a short 20 cent ferry ride over to Hong Kong island where the business district and most of the famous sky scrapers were located. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t in our favor. Gray clouds and mist spoiled many of the must see sights including Victoria Peak and the Giant Buddha on Lantau island.

The city certainly had enough lights. Many stores and outdoor venues were already decorated in outrageous xmas garb. Fake blue trees and watermelon sized gold ornaments were squished into every available corner. Twinkling fairy lights swung overhead and crisscrossed the busy boulevards. Many had already started their Christmas shopping and skittered through the streets armed with bags of treats and stuffed animals.

Hong Kong city life met my expectations in many ways – yes, Hong Kong was a brightly lit, exciting city. There were plenty of clubs, pubs, malls, and street markets to keep the common Joe busy for several days. The streets were clean and western toilets were easy to find. English was both widely spoken and used in outdoor advertisements so we didn’t feel the need wander around lost for hours on end. However, I certainly didn’t expect so many explicitly advertised sexual innuendos in such a modern city. Upon venturing into a DVD store to find a nice Hilary Duff movie for my 12 yr old sister, I was assaulted by thousands upon thousands of pornographic movies, mostly staring pubescent girls and boys. Signs everywhere advertised hourly motel rates, show girl dance venues, and scantily clad sex toy stores. It was hard to avoid and grew to be rather disgusting after awhile.

Luckily we ran into our old friends Sonia and Harris. They had to delay their flight to India for several days and were also hanging out in the Kowloon area. We scoured the streets together and found a wonderful coffee cafe that served REAL espressos. Cara was so wide eyed with wonder that I didn’t think we would ever be able to drag her out of the aromatic venue. Our first taste of caffeine in over a month!! We also found (after days of searching) the perfect pork buns. Cara claims she came to China solely to eat pork buns and so far, we haven’t been able to find them anywhere in China. For any visitor to a Chinatown at home, you know that there is no substitute for these savory delights. I think they also come frozen in many Asian grocery stores but they are nothing like the real thing. They originated in Hong Kong after all!

We still have a few more days in Hong Kong. It’s a bit expensive to tell the truth – at least compared to other Asian countries. We found that even the street food and local cafes are incredibly expensive for our “China” budgets. Luckily, the grocery store is right next to the cruise ship docks and they have plenty of goodies. I think Cara even found Tim-Tams!!

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