Travelling to HK is so much easier now, even though if I have to make a "quick" stop at Heathrow to fly to HK. Ok, talk about "country girl" as I am (since I am from Limerick, as some people would say only people who are from the Pale are not culchies :) ) Right back to me as a country girl going to a big, bright light city that is HK... teehee...
One thing that strikes me, people talk very fast Cantonese (I mean with many words that I never would have heard of), leaving me most of a time in a very confused state! At least I know enoughto be able to ask for directions and order food. Heh, I get by... No ordering at McDonalds for me.
It is mildly annoying that I feel that I am a foreigner in HK (obviously as I'm an IBC), and equally so when I go through customs in Shannon/Dublin/Heathrow airport, I'm Irish! Just a little peeved when Irish customs look at me and then at my (eek) passport photo with their shifty eyes.
One tip for people when travelling to HK, always know your address of the place you are staying in, well for me anyway as I have a place to crash in when I stay in HK. And their 1st floor is our groundfloor. Boy was that screwy when I tried to get the mail from the old style letterboxes with chinese characters for all the flats.
Summer-time in HK, you can have all the sun you want, but aircon is heaven. But boy, when it rains it buckets down like no tomorrow during the typhoon season, heh, but the lightening effects looks so cool. Anyhoo, that is why I recommend many of my friends to visit HK in the autumn or summer.
Breathing in that intoxicating "fresh" HK air mixed in with humidity (ironically my lifesaver the aircon is also the bad boy contributor to the high humidity) when you step out of the cool air-conditioned Chep Lok Kok airport. (And looking like a complete eejit with long pants, long-sleeved shirt and a jacket... what was I thinking of!) Get into town and into the appartment, and the first thing to do
without questions is light incense at the alter to my ancestors. (I do this every morning, dedicated, eh?)
Breakfast, so much to choose from... heavy starters, you can have dim-sum ("yum cha"). Or noodles in soup with fishballs, or congee with pork and preserved duck egg...mmmmmm... ooh, it comes with chow mein as well. How about some fresh bread ("sai beng")... Have you tried this really wierd drink, it's a cold drink with little squishy balls (called "pearls"). You drink it through a large straw. Oh, and lovely herbal tea or nice fresh fruit juice.
Ocean park... I have not been to HK once without visiting Ocean Park. It's nice to visit and I love going on the cable-cars. Nice view of HK. Now that I mention view of HK, the peak is another cool place to be to check out view of HK, I recommend getting there around 6pm and and stay there till the whole of HK lights up at night... forget taking piccies unless you have a camera with a slow exposure lens (so many photos wasted.)
What I am so amazed by is the public transport system in HK. It's so reliable! In Dublin, I'll be lucky to catch the 20-past DART which has already been delayed by "the late arrival of another train"! Mini-buses, double-deckers, aircon buses, taxis, you name it, you can get it in minutes (less than 10 mins, that is). For me to get an aircon double-decker from the Chep Lok Kok airport to Tai Po, it would cost me only HK$13 (around 2-3 Euro)...and it's a fair distance (45 mins drive).
Talk about getting the bus, one time when I was going up to see the Bronze Buddha on Lantau Island. The bus was going uphill at a steep angle, I mean steep! All I see is the sky when I look ahead. The road was so small, and such a steep drop, I felt so unwell. 30 mins of agony of wanting to throw up, even sucking on preserved prunes did not help, then I finally reached the destination. What a journey up. But the view was awesome, there were wisps of clouds around the buddha, it was like I was in heaven looking at the Buddha. Got my touristy stuff, i.e.the Buddha beaded jewellary, postcards and the chants of the monks cds.
But one thing I would miss very much, is when the plane lifts-off near mid-night from the old HK airport, and the lights of HK was amazing. Now, it is just darkness, with the lights of HK in the distance.
My next trip, I am going to try and do more touristy things... maybe try going hiking. I still haven't gone to Lan Kwai Fong yet. And the rotating restaurant is no more, another place I wanted to go (DOH). Anyhoo, come December 02, I'll be in HK again, baby!