21 September 2010

Hong Kong

Where: Kowloon and Hong Kong
When: September 5-7, 2010
Why: We have to stop in Hong Kong anyway; why not look around for a few days?

On early Sunday morning, we landed in a very wet Hong Kong. Though we were exhausted from 16+ hours of traveling, we knew we needed to make the most of our short time in the city...so we took a power nap, rallied, and went out to explore. Thankfully, we never had a drop of rain in Hong Kong except for when we arrived and when we were in the taxi to the airport for our departure.

First, we went to fancy dim sum, and, then, we followed the Lonely Planet tour of markets in Kowloon. The streets were packed with both people and vehicles, but we had a great time wandering through the bird, flower, pet, fish, and clothing markets nonetheless. George said that he felt less claustrophobic than usual in the crowd because he could see over most heads. By the end of the afternoon, our jet lag and adventures left us without energy to find dinner, so we took advantage of room service and an excellent view of the Hong Kong skyline and its light show.

On Monday, we took the Star Ferry from Kowloon to downtown Hong Kong. It was a bit rickety, but there were only a handful of people on the boat, and we had a great view as we approached the city. It was seriously hot downtown that day; I think I asked for the water bottle every half block. We loosely followed the Lonely Planet tour of downtown buildings. We enjoyed the view from the 43rd floor of the Bank of China Tower and the architecture of the HSBC Building. Our stop for lunch was a highlight as well. We had authentic dim sum, complete with ladies pushing carts full of goodies that we picked or refused by look without knowing what was in most things. It was my first real dim sum experience, and now I'm motivated to find dim sum in Seattle. I could have made a meal out of BBQ pork buns and dumplings.

We cut our day a bit short to have plenty of time to clean up before dinner. We had a reservation for T'ang Court, which has two Michelin stars. We both love food, and neither of us had been to a restaurant rated with any Michelin stars prior to our visit, so it was quite a treat. The service and food were incredible! I will never forget it because I had real wasabi for the first time, which resulted in me sputtering, coughing, and generally experiencing a complete head fire for a few minutes.

George and I both thoroughly enjoyed Hong Kong. I'd say that the overwhelming heat and humidity were the only things that really made us uncomfortable. It was extremely easy to get around because of the ferry network, system of underground tunnels, and subway. Due to its British past, Hong Kong definitely feels a bit like the UK with driving on the left side of the road, lots of double-decker buses, and British English widely spoken. Our hotel was located in the shopping district of Kowloon, so it felt like there were extremely high end stores everywhere - not exactly what I expected of Hong Kong.

On Tuesday morning, we had a breakfast buffet before setting off for the rest of our trip. We both agreed that we'd like to return to Hong Kong whenever the opportunity presents itself.

For photos of our Hong Kong adventure, visit Picasa.

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