I live in DC, which is a great place to live and visit. I try to make the most of it. However, I also love to leave my home and see what the world has to offer. Come and join me!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hong Kong Trendy, Saturday, 22 March 2008

We left Chicago about 20 minutes late because it was snowing there (the horror) and our 20 minute descent into Hong Kong took an hour so we landed about 40 minutes late. Not that I had any pressing engagements.

Passport control in Hong Kong was easy--they have little hard candies at each station, which I thought was a nice touch--and my bag was...wait for it...the FIRST bag off the conveyor belt. Never in my life has that happened. It was amazing. I took it as a good omen.

I bought my ticket for the Airport Express train at the ticket counter, though I could have used one of the machines. A two-way ticket is $160 HKD (about $23 USD) and my eerily smooth sailing continued as I jumped on the train within moments and was on my way to Kowloon and the Hotel Nikko. The train route is pretty nice--lovely views of the water. I never really realized that (1) Hong Kong is a collection of several islands, and (2) the islands are quite small. Huh.

Several of the nicer hotels in Kowloon run shuttle service in conjunction with the airport train, including the Nikko, so I made my way to the buses. I just missed mine so had to wait over 30 minutes for the next, which was kind of a bummer but I had my book and snacks and I was trying to will my feet to unpuff.

They have British road rules--the driver is on the right and they drive on the left side of the road. The drive was only slightly terrifying as the minibus driver swerved through tight spots but I survived and less than 24 hours(!!!) after leaving home I arrived at the hotel.

It was quite nice and I was upgraded to a 12th floor water view room. The view was cool (left), though it was a bit noisy from the traffic expressway that runs along the water.

I had a shower and it was brilliant. I wasn't sure what to do about brushing my teeth but finally decided, Eh, Hong Kong is practically British. Surely the water is safe.

I dressed and wandered around for an hour or so, soaking it in and looking for food. Nothing looked appetizing. I was almost tempted to go really lazy and eat at a Western-style hotel curry buffet for way too much at $158 ($22.50) but I decided to give it one more try to find more authentic food for cheaper. I went into a little "shopping mall" of resturants, lured in by the sign for Indian food. The Indian restaurant was having a private party, so I went further upstairs to check out the menu for the Japanese restaurant Tonikaka.

It looked good so I got myself seated and ordered cold tofu ($36), a seaweed and cucumber salad ($38), and asked if the chef could make me an avocado roll. When talking with the chef about my avocado roll the water asked me if sesame seeds were ok? And seaweed? Erm, yes. I'm not sure what he thought I wanted if I didn't want sesame seeds or seaweed!

The food was really delicious. The tofu was the creamiest I've ever had. The cucumber was paper thin and well-flavored. The sushi was stuffed with avocado. Total came to $136, about $20. A little less than the hotel curry buffet and I'm sure a lot better. I don't know about tipping here and my change comes in 20s, so I just left the coins. I hope I didn't stiff my waiter.

With some real food in me I am feeling much better and wander around some more. Oddly, I don't feel like I stick out here, even though there aren't that many Westerners. It's partly height--here I'm not freakishly short, I'm just normal-sized--and partly it's that my style is Hong Kong Trendy. Seriously, I've never been anywhere where people are dressed like me, but that's all I see. It's funny. I don't know whether I'd want to move there or not. Question of the Day: Is it better to have my own style but always feel a little bit off, or to feel cute but look like everyone else?

I get a coconut sago, sort of like a bubble tea but with much smaller tapioca, from a street vendor for $6 and it was divine. I was really hoping the water was safe to drink. I wandered with my coconut sago and took some nighttime skyline pictures from the pedestrian bridge near the hotel and then finally sank into bed, asleep within moments.

You can see all my Hong Kong photos, including a couple more nighttime shots, and all photos from this trip if you'd like.

No comments: