We had had an absolutely fantastic time in Australia catching up with friends and family, but in a way without anywhere to live and no jobs etc I felt we were still on the move a bit. The hospitality of everyone who put us up/ put up with us was brilliant! So good, that we are now immediately back on a diet and exercise regime!
I think we both felt a little strange starting out again, still very excited but I think also a little nervous of the next leg of our trip. To be fair we knew no Spanish when we left for South America and so it should be no different this time learning new languages but I think this time it feels as though we are stepping a bit further into the unknown! The main fact I think is that we are both a little worried when we see Chinese/Russian and Mongolian in the written form as all three look like hieroglyphics to us at the moment. The other slightly daunting fact is that everyone else we have met who has been to these places has been on an organised tour while we have decided to do it our own way. Well I guess we are about to find out what’s what.
First stop Hong Kong. Definitely a nice way to ease ourselves from the west to the east. The flight over was fairly easy and when we arrived we were both almost immediately back full of the same excitement we had had in the Americas.
One airport around the world is much the same as another and Hong Kong’s is no exception, all full of modern wonder and sterility. The ease with which we got through the airport and into town though was amazing and thanks to some excellent directions from our hostel we were soon checking in. We weren’t expecting our room to be luxurious or especially grand but it was easily the smallest room we have stayed in. The bed wasn’t quite a queen or in fact a double and there was only about a foot of space between it and the wall and then only just a foot or two before you were in the toilet and shower. Well they say space is at a premium in Hong Kong but this was a little ridiculous. Still we were only here for two nights so we weren’t planning on spending much time in the room anyway.
First things first. We wanted dumplings and we were both pretty hungry so it wasn’t long before we found a suitable enough place where we were able to order by pointing at pictures and were both very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the dumplings. A perfect start to the trip. As exhausted as we were, we decided to go for a bit of a wander after dinner and soon found ourselves down on the front of Kowloon gazing across at Hong Kong island. It really is a fabulous view with all the buildings lit up and the boats cruising around the harbour just in front.
The next day unfortunately the weather was a bit hit and miss. In fact it was a little monsoonal ie plenty of humidity separated by downpours. Not exactly ideal weather for sightseeing but it was to be our only day in Hong Kong so we had little choice. In fact we soon found out that there were walkways connecting most of the skyscrapers in Central so we managed to stay fairly dry. First was a walk through Soho and up some public escalators to help get up the slope before we got to Man Mo Temple.
Soho was very similar to the original Soho in London, full of bars and restaurants which to be fair could have been found in any major city around the world. If we had had more time we would have probably enjoyed a few nights out here wandering between what seemed like hundreds of tiny hole in the wall bars. The Man Mo Temple was a little bit of authentic eastern culture and was quite bizarre in the way it was wedged in between all of the modernness of Hong Kong.
It wasn’t the biggest of temples and there was a mix of locals praying and tourists taking photos. The first thing we noticed was the incense. The air was thick with it. In fact so thick that we both ended up with stinging, blood shot red eyes. Still it was a great experience seeing the temple and watching such a different style of worship.
To say that the weather had cleared a bit would have been an exaggeration but we felt we had to catch the tram up Victoria Peak to try and take in the views of Hong Kong. The tram itself was quite cool as it took us seemingly straight up the side of the mountain and in no time at all we were at the top and luckily there was a break in the weather and we were able to enjoy our view over Hong Kong.
We caught the bus down from the top and completely by chance it passed by the end of a street which had a dumpling restaurant recommended in it!! You know when you have found a good place when you are the only locals there. While it was a bit expensive the dumplings were absolutely fantastic!! The tea which accompanied the meal was fantastic too, I think we are going to enjoy the food throughout Asia.
Walking around Hong Kong, the first thing we noticed was how clean the place was. There was very little to almost no litter in the streets and bins for recycling everywhere. The other strange thing, and this might have been because of where we were, was that there weren’t as many people in the streets as we expected. I am not saying it was quiet but there weren’t nearly as many people walking around considering its one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
We felt we had earned ourselves a little bit of a rest at this point before we met up with Alex, a friend we had met during our trip in UYUNi. There followed an evening of drinking, going to the night markets and eating great food.
Thankfully the next day it was fantastically easy catching the flight on to Shanghai. We were able to check in in the middle of town and then catch the train out to the airport to catch the flight.
Next stop China!! T