Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hong Kong: Day 2 Tsim Sha Tsui pub craw and dinner

Tsim Sha Tsui  is an area or neighbourhood of Hong Kong located on the Chinese-mainland attached Kowloon Peninsula, just across the bay from the glittering lights of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong island proper. Easily accessible for any visitor to Hong Kong due to being the port of call where the world famous Star Ferry drops you off, it was also relatively close to my hotel, only a short metro ride away. While the main streets tend to be crowded with high end shops and expensive eateries, walking further inland and exploring the small alleys that proliferate the area you'll quickly find all sorts of affordable, trendy clothing and deliciously appetising foods at fantastically low prices tucked away into all sorts of inconceivable corners. On this particular evening I was more hungry for food than fashion, so with my single serving Aussie friend we explored the vibrantly coloured, crowded, perfumed streets of Hong Kong. Well, I imagine they must be scentsual... I have a nearly non-existent sense of smell, but given the plumes of steam and all the delicious foods and sexy things stewing in the streets I can only imagine how robust the cornucopia of scent dancing through the air must be at any given moment. I get the distinct impression that Hong Kong would have a particularly unique bouquet, one that is special to the region.
Our adventure through the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui were not to be unrewarded; we sampled delicious grilled foods in a restaurant where we clinked excessively large beer glasses with locals, dabbled in drinking aquavit with jovial old ex-pats, conquered century eggs and even poked our curious heads into a seedy sex shop. There truly is something for everyone in Hong Kong, whether you're a food lover, fashionista du jour, jet-setting party animal, bargain hunter or nature lover. While by this point I haven't gotten to fully flesh out the natural beauty of the region that I experienced, rest assured that it is rapidly approaching! Hong Kong manages to achieve a trepidatious balance between natural wonder and high-tech commercialism in a microcosm that is unlike any other in the world.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hong Kong: Day 2 Downtown & Star Ferry

One of the most striking things about Hong Kong is the architecture, and Victoria Bay is absolutely stunning at night. The people of Hong Kong are fully aware of this and at night both sides of the bay, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island celebrate by illuminating at night with synchronised choreography. At the magical hour of the night music blares from speakers on either side of the bay and the light show begins! 

I had a few hours yet before that began, so I opted to explore the inner areas of Hong Kong proper. After exiting an incredibly crowded train station I found myself in the heart of the sky scrapers, looking up  to find myself surrounded by the monolithic structures. At the top of it all is the Peak, a landmark of Hong Kong known for unrivalled views of the city and it's nightly light show from high altitude. Initially hoping to find my way to the cable cars that provide a shortcut for tourists, I was unpleasantly surprised to discover that the wait was hours long and I would surely miss the show if I attempted to wait it out. Stubbornly I hoofed it back down the hill and made it to the bay, where I was able to catch the infamous Star Ferry, which has been in operation since 1888. Let that sink in for a minute. 1888!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Hong Kong: Day 2 pitstop at Tung Chung station

On my way back to Hong Kong proper, I made a pitstop at Tung Chung station on Lantau island. Lantau island is not only home to Hong Kong Disneyland and Hong Kong airport but is the jump-off point to access the Ngong Ping 360 Degree Cable cars and the giant seated Buddha statue not far after. Initially I had hoped to make it out to see the Buddha on my way back but found that I arrived far too late in the day to catch a cable car. Oh well, given the close proximity of most places in Hong Kong it wasn't a terribly long journey even from my location across the bay in Mong Kok, Kowloon.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Hong Kong Disney Land!

Hong Kong Disneyland is one among the company's international branches. Having worked at Tokyo Disney Sea for over a year by this point, I was able to gain entry into this park as an associate. Make no mistake, though- there's a healthy bit of sibling rivalry between the two parks and their employees! When asking about the time for the nightly fireworks display I was ensured that it was the best in the entire world, easily shadowing our Japanese neighbour's. Whether that holds true or not I can not say, as the weather was overcast and drizzly all day which could put a damper on the dazzle and in all honesty I didn't linger long enough to catch the fireworks. Living within walking distance of Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea I was able to witness their firework display every night from the comfort of my own home, which made catching yet another kaboom-show less enticing than exploring a whole new country. That all being said, they certainly spare no corners at this park and you can expect the magic to be in full swing. Approaching the park you're treated to the complete Disney experience, replete with Mickey shaped porthole windows in the train that shuttles you right up to the front gates of the park. 

And yes, Mickey and his friends are all there! Just like all the other Disney parks you can expect to encounter your favourite characters throughout the park, whether in the parade, rides, or a meet & greet. 

More photos below the cut!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Hong Kong: Day 2 breakfast & leaving the city

Day 2 in Hong Kong!
Ready, set go~

Started my day with a bowl of beef noodle soup at a small noodle shop down the street from where I was staying at the Harbour Hotel. I walked right passed the place before as it was hidden behind stalls so overflowing with produce I didn't realise there was an entire store front tucked away! 

I don't speak Chinese and what little kanji (Japanese symbols based off of ancient Chinese) I did know wasn't of great use, to be honest. I can recognise symbols like 肉 niku, or meat, and 麺 men, or noodle, so at least I had that much to work with but proficiency that surely does not make. Even though Hong Kong used to be a British territory, you shouldn't expect everyone to be proficient in speaking English and I certainly didn't. While some people could communicate quite well with me, there was still a lot of gesturing and patience involved from all parties. In this little shop there were sufficient pictures for me to point and eat and the servers tolerated my linguistic challenges well enough. That all being said, the food was absolutely delicious no matter what I had or where I stopped! The noodles above were chewy and springy in a flavourful broth and the meat was sufficiently cooked by the broth without being tough. After refuelling my belly, I stepped back out into the bustling streets of the Ladies' Market to venture forward into my day. After breakfast, I was heading to Hong Kong Disneyland, which will be it's own post tomorrow!