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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Hong Kong: Mon, Apr 01

We arrived in Hong Kong at 9:20pm after an 8 and a half hour flight, watching some movies on the plane, including Wreck it Ralph, Skyfall, Brave and more. When we walked out of the plane we realised how big the airport was, 520 gates at least, possibly more. Luckily the bus didn't take to long to find.

Chung-king mansions at 11pm (around 2 am melbourne time) after standing up on a bus for 45 minutes were less than salubrious. There were men everywhere, and it was grimy. K and L were opting to go and check into another hotel, but G was determined to get full value for the money prepaid. He was unlikely to live this down for at least this trip. Finally we found block D, off on a little side lane, where there were two elevators and signs saying which floor all the different guest houses were on.
We discovered the 'Australian Guest House', as ours was called, was nothing but a clever marketing ploy. There were lists of other similar accommodation; the Tokyo guesthouse, the Paris guesthouse, the London guesthouse etc., in fact, the Australian guesthouse, where we were to be housed, doubled as Tokyo guesthouse and was as Australian as you could get in Calcutta with a Chowkidoor lying in the foyer to scare away any 'would-be intruders'. Our accommodation had nothing to suggest it was particularly Australian in any sense. There was a distinct smell of rice, pharathas and chili. G attempted to use his knowledge of a little Bengali to break the ice and this was received with a laugh.
Our rooms were basic, with only a hard mattress, small pillow and doona for sleeping material. No one used the shower, as it was hard to figure how to without drenching the toilet etc.
We discovered the aforesaid man sleeping outside all the Australian rooms, as security. This did not put us at ease, as well as the fact that there were multiple video cameras and signs advising people 'not to steal'. (We were later to read on Wikipedia that these closed circuit TV had actually improved security of late in the CK mansions).
It was with some relief that we packed our bags in the morning and left as soon as possible.
Not until we were well out of the area of the Chung-king mansions was it that G showed everyone else the Wikipedia page on the 'mansions'. It turns out that it is an area known for harbouring petty thieves, drug dealers and users, and there had been someone murdered there about 15 years ago.
This will hopefully serve as a reminder for G to check up on accommodation thoroughly before booking. (Told you I wouldn't live this down for a while).

Leaving Chung King in the morning and catching a ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong...

Ge and G went looking for breakfast while K and L waited on a rooftop garden above a large shopping centre, at about 9:30 Hong Kong time. This is 12:30 in Australia, so by then we were quite hungry...
They brought salad, pork buns, strange shortcrusty/sweet chicken pies, a croissant and chips. Incredibly good value. It turns out making dollars worth less is a good way to watch your budget.

The double decker bus ride up Victoria peak was quite incredible, we got up the top right at the front, giving us a great view. Some parts were quite scary as we traveled right against the cliff. When we got up the top the view was amazing we could see a long way off through the city, but it was quite foggy so there was a limit of how far we could see. Everyone took heaps of photos with various devices.

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