Hong Kong

Entry Info

9th (Tue)
Feb 2010

[day14] Hong Kong to Perth

Hong Kong to PerthI traveled from Hong Kong to Perth on the day. As there were no direct first class flights to Perth, I moved to Sydney at first and then to Perth by a discount ticket bought separately. After this I was going to travel around Australia and New Zealand by the separated flights. Despite the round the world ticket's 16 times restriction rule, you can actually visit a lot of places by purchasing other flights like this time.

QF128 Hong Kong to Sydney

Qantas First Class Lounge was located at just beside the customs but I missed the sign and went to the business class lounge instead. Although this might be for the security reasons, I wish there were some maps after the customs. However, once I entered the first class lounge, my eyes caught a totally different world from the outside. The ceilings were extremely high as they made good use of the airport's building. Having a shower and eating ice cream I was relaxing there and the boarding time had come before I noticed.

Hong Kong to PerthThe exemplary first class seats, which were different from the old ones I used at the JAL Bangkok line, excited me in the cabin. The near feature look seats were separated from each other and with an ottoman the seat changes to a full flat bed. The cabin attendants would've made the bed withs a seat if I'd asked them to turn down. But I was too sleepy to ask and had fallen asleep without the seat. It was comfortable enough though.

Hong Kong to PerthA huge Aussie beef steak had come to me as I ordered the beef course for the dinner. The taste was very simple but it went well with wines which were from some of the most prominent Australian wineries. Leeuwin Estate, Penfolds, Pierro, it was positively difficult to choose the one from those luxurious labels. Taking sleeping time into account, I had only 2 hours for the dinner but enjoyed a wide variety of wine drinking a little amount from each bottle like wine tasting.

QF571 Sydney to Perth

As mentioned before, I used a discount economy flight from Sydney to Perth and spend 8 hours in Sydney domestic airport for the transit. Initially, I hoped to use the business lounge at the domestic airport since I arrived there by first class but Qantas didn't allow me to use it and I had to kill time at the airport. Writing an entry for this blog and finishing off some work from Japan, what I was doing didn't differ thanks to the free power source with the paid internet connection.

Luckily nobody sat next to me on board and in terms of the seats it was maybe more comfortable than the business class flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong. Undoubtedly the quality of the services in the business class way surpasses the one in the economy class but there is indeed a 10 times price difference between a discount economy and a decent business. I hope to be a person who wouldn't mind the difference.

Entry Info

7th (Sun)
Feb 2010

[day11] Hong Kong Day2

Hong Kong Day2The friends gave me a tour around Hong Kong again on the second day. After eating Yam Cha, we set off to the Kowloon area again by bus. Hong Kong has one of the most advanced public transportation systems in the world and we can travel everywhere by bus, train and ferry for quite reasonable prices. Especially the bus which cost only about $US1 for an hour’s trip. Maybe it's too complex for visitors but it looked useful once you get used to it.

Local Food Market

Hong Kong Day2At first, we went to a local food market. The friend told me that once she took her Japanese female friend there but the girl did not really like the atmosphere. Well, I could see the reason. The first objects that caught my attention were dangled dried ducks and bunches of sausages. At a fish shop, shells and starfishes were wriggling in foam cartons aside from the pool for normal fish. Although the smell disgusted me a little, I enjoyed walking around there. I also found 'pirated' Japanese strawberries which were from a non-existent Japanese prefecture. I tried to take photos of them but refrained as the lady from the shop seemed very frustrated.

SOHO Area

Hong Kong Day2After coming back to Hong Kong island, we went to the so-called SOHO area which is located in the middle of the city. There are a lot of stylish cafes and bars along the paved road and it was very different from traditional Chinese style which we had already looked around before. I saw some young local people were posing for their friends' camera. However, it was not totally western. It was a harmonious fusion of Western and Chinese cultures as there were many of Hong Kong's iconic tall and old buildings around the area and some dirty signs added a sense of Asian tastes. I thought this was the image I pictured of Hong Kong in my mind’s eye.

Hong Kong Day2It was just a toast with condensed milk. I had this Hong Kong Toast in the SOHO area and it was surprisingly crispy and tasty. Accompanied with special milk tea, they are soul foods for the Hong Kong people. A toast and milk tea, British culture must have been left them. Incidentally, I asked the friends what sorts of food they eat usually and the answer was that they eat probably same amount of Chinese, Japanese and the other foods. Wow, it's impressive. Though the opinion must have been biased a little as she does love Japanese culture, they seem to like Japanese food very much.

An Invaded Country

In fact not only foods but also any sorts of Japanese culture were very popular in Hong Kong. Signs of Japanese brands were ubiquitous there. I can recall the name of them endlessly. Additionally, there were a lot of local Japanese restaurants and goods stores. Thus Hong Kong people were always consuming Japanese culture. One of my friends described this situation saying "We are 'invaded' by Japan, culturally." with laugh.

On the other hand, I found myself liking Hong Kong Design due to this visit. Presumably, the mixture of Chinese culture and British culture resulted their sophisticated styles of design which were amazingly gorgeous but not garish at all. I noticed that one of my favourite pairs of jeans, which I bought in Tokyo, was in fact a Hong Kong designer's brand. I didn't care about the country of the brand when I purchased them but the uniqueness of the style which didn't look like Japanese or Western appealed me at the store.

Hong Kong and Japan have a lot of similarities. Both of us use Chinese Characters and have been influenced by Western cultures a lot. Yet, each of us has its own distinctive culture as well. Similarities and differences, I suppose the balance of these two give us affection for the other side.

Entry Info

29th (Fri)
Jan 2010

[day10] Arrived at Hong Kong

arrived at Hong KongThe next destination after Bangkok was Hong Kong. The flight was reasonably comfortable though it was just a business class as it was only 3 hour flight and no first class settings were available on the route. Actually I felt a little disappointment since they tried to serve a decent meal despite the short flight time but this is maybe because I've been acquiring extravagant tastes. I should try to remain an ordinary person.

This time, I stayed in Hong Kong for 5 nights. One of my friends let me use his apartment and the other ones gave me a guided tour around the area. During the trip, I really appreciate this kind of help from friends.

Familiar Languages

arrived at Hong KongThe very first impression in Hong Kong was "Kanji! (Chinese characters)". I, in fact, had big trouble with Thai characters in Bangkok. Although there were alphabets with some important signs, many things were written in Thai characters there and it was impossible to grasp the meanings. On the other hand, Hong Kong uses traditional Chinese characters which are very close to the Japanese ones. Thanks to them, using a local bus from the airport was not difficult at all. I could communicate with people by writing although the pronunciation was totally different. What's more, the ethnic proximity made me think 'Back to the home from abroad'.

Speaking about the language, it was a little bit surprising that not many people can actually speak English very well. I had prejudice that Hong Kong people have very good command of English as they used to belong to the UK. Nevertheless, their mother tongue was still Cantonese and their ability in English differs from person to person. Anyway the situations were far better than Bangkok again as I could order something in English everywhere. It was enough for me as a tourist.

The Night Market

arrived at Hong KongThe first evening, the friends of mine took me to a night market which was located in the Kowloon area. According to them, it was a very messy place but it seemed rather tidy compared with the Bangkok market. Probably there were no foods sold and it looked clean, with no stench. Mainly they sold sorts of souvenirs which were quite funny and cheap. Without buying anything, speaking and laughing about the products on the stores, we finished walking through a long passage before we noticed the end.

arrived at Hong KongI must mention about the crowd in Hong Kong. Again, this was my presumption that, good or bad, Tokyo has a world-class crowd. Yet Hong Kong far exceeded Tokyo. It was just a normal weekend but I could see thousands of people on the road. Not only passages at the market, but also many pedestrian roads got floods of people everywhere. We even had to queue for an elevator at a shopping centre. Probably, Hong Kong people wouldn't be surprised at the notorious overcrowding in Tokyo.

A Terrorist Attack!?

Oh by the way, we were almost involved in a terrorist attack in the market. Just a few blocks away from the place we stayed, a stranger threw a bottle of poison into the street and dozens of people were hospitalized. We heard the news when we were eating dinner and the friends who knew exactly where the place had been got scared as we could've been there. I think there are quite a few incidents around me somehow. Though the terrorists are difficult to avoid, I want to have a safe journey anyway.

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