Thursday, 17 April 2014

Lok’s Tour of Hong Kong

Urban Hong Kong
It was a painfully early morning at 3.20am and surprisingly our friendly hostel owner, Alan, was still awake. Dave even scored a farewell hug, but Sarah managed to escape with just a handshake and expressions of gratitude, which she was grateful for. We were mauled by mozzies while we waited for the Star Shuttle to arrive, thankfully it was only 5 minutes late and we fell asleep almost instantly once on the bus. We arrived at the airport by 5.30am with plenty of time left to catch our flight, but nevertheless decided that it was better to get through customs and security before relaxing. That turned out to be a bad idea as there was absolutely nothing on the ‘other side’ so we had nothing to do and no breakfast before boarding the plane. 

We dozed on and off for the 4 hour flight and when we landed at 11am in Hong Kong we were starving, again! We exchanged our leftover money (finally managing to get rid of our left over Jordanian Dinar) and enjoyed two sweet buns from the airport bakery while waiting for Lok to arrive. It had been a while since Sarah had seen Lok and it took him a second to actually recognise her with her very short haircut! 

Lok was an excellent tour guide around Hong Kong, it’s always great to know a local. The first thing we did was buy an Octopus Card which made traveling on public transport quick and easy and we used it everywhere we went. Our hostel was in the Shan Shui Po area and was run by a slightly odd but friendly French guy Bruno. The Joy Guesthouse is in a Fort Knox of a place, but decent for the price and well located. Once we’d seen the room we wanted to reserve an extra night but unfortunately he was already booked which meant we’d have to find another hostel and move which would be a pain.

We were well and truly hungry by then as it was 3pm and we were excited by the prospect of sampling some street food with Lok as our guide, it meant we might actually know what it was that we were tasting, which often had not been the case… In the end, however, we ended up at a great local restaurant specialising in soups. Dave tried pork dumplings, Sarah prawn and fish wontons and Lok had the cow’s stomach soup. He had especially ordered it for us to try a piece and even though it looked really quite disturbing we both tried it and surprisingly it actually tasted fairly good (although we were both thankful to return to our ‘normal’ style soups afterwards…).

Hong Kong lit up at night
Refuelled, we continued on our way and walked through the urban jungle to the waterfront. It was almost like being back in Europe with all the massive buildings, huge shopping complexes and malls and large sparkly advertisements everywhere. We stopped for a drink at Starbucks when the afternoon storm hit – another place we hadn’t been to in years thanks to the exorbitant cost in Switzerland. The reason we stopped, asides from the storm, was for the view from Starbucks’ window and we enjoyed our drinks while watching the sunset over the harbour, and the fireball spectacular did not disappoint.

We walked around the foreshore till it was time for the 8pm light show on the buildings that line both sides of the canal. There was quite a crowd for the show and it was really quite impressive for something that is free and done daily. Afterwards we went to the a fast food court and enjoyed a great dinner before farewelling Lok for the evening as we were quite exhausted after our 3.20am start and we slept safe and secure in our Fort Knox hostel!

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