Yay! So excited to make it to an Asian country after talking about it for a year! First stop was Hong Kong and I’m patting myself on the back because this is a really great place to start an Asian adventure. Yes, there is some culture shock, yes there are language barriers etcetera, but Hong Kong is one cosmopolitan city where Western things have snuck in all over the place! This makes good sense considering they were a British colony until 1997. Hong Kong Is definitely distinct from mainland China and they seem proud of that fact. I know this causes problems, but for us as visitors, we didn’t see any of that. What we did see was shiny buildings, surprisingly clean streets, incredibly efficient train systems, and a feeling of “controlled” chaos in general. Everything felt quite polished…except for maybe all the unusual meats lying about the street.
We were only in Hong Kong for five days so we had to make the most of it. Here are the highlights:
1) Markets: So. Many. Markets. Our favourites were definitely the themed markets that crisscrossed and intertwined each other all around the city. Flower market, jade market, goldfish market, bird market, night market, generic Engrish t-shirt and (what I will call) weird meat markets. Everything! My favourite was the goldfish market. Rows and rows of goldfish in bags were hung on large boards all along the street. The prices were written on the bags in marker and there were even some more exotic fish as well. The bird market was beautiful as well, but I’m definite that the vendors did not have the birds’ best interest in mind, unfortunately. The jade market was my first practice at bartering in a long time. Here’s a helpful tip: don’t point at or touch things unless you are legitimately interested in purchasing something. I learned this very quickly. Also, maybe don’t walk down aisles narrow enough that you will be physically blocked from leaving a “purchase”. That was my fault though, I was touching things. Oh, and the fabric market was great too! We’re buying fabric in every country we go to with a grand plan of making a quilt of sorts when we get back to Calgary. By “we” I mean Curtis will patiently teach me and then do the bulk of it himself. At night, after I am asleep. He will then claim we both worked very hard on it
2) Museums: The history museum was really exceptional. Especially for a foreigner who really didn’t know too much about anything at all. It had English signs everywhere and was really purposeful as it took as through the natural and political history of the area. I respect a well laid out museum! Something that didn’t exist in Vietnam and kind of exists in Cambodia but I’m getting ahead of myself.
3) Best Dim Sum of my life: So nice we ate there twice…and blew the food budget of the day but who cares when your dumplings taste like magic and rainbows. This Dim Sum created our three-tiered food system. Tier one: best dim sum ever. Tier two: most other food we had, tasty but perfectly normal. Tier three: I’ve made a huge mistake. That only happened twice though, sometimes you just don’t know!
4) Hong Kong Film Festival: A last minute decision that was really fun! I enjoy seeing films when I travel just to see what the experience is like. We ended up seeing a Japanese movie with two sets of subtitles, Cantonese and English.
I’m not sure I’d go back to Hong Kong, but enjoyed the chaos and was happy to start our Asian circuit there. Someday I’d love to go to mainland China and see how it compares. In the meantime we flew away from Hong Kong and landed in another sort of chaos, Hanoi Vietnam.