It’s 5.45 a.m. on Saturday morning in HK. I’ve slept all I’m going to sleep tonight, but that sleep was a full eight hours with only one interruption.
As I type while seated at the desk in my hotel room, I am looking occasionally out of the window at the high-rises east of me. The sun has yet to make any kind of announcement, but I can see that the sky is clear today, and that we might well have a glorious last day of 2016.
My need for sleep last evening was evident by about 7 p.m. The jet-lag and the wear of a day spent walking, with little sitting at all, meant that I started to fade very rapidly, so by 9 p.m. I was in bed and out quickly. J tried to keep me entertained at dinner — I was getting grumpy in my weary state.
But a night’s sleep cures many things, as does a change of shoes today!
The Friday excursions:
- hotel shuttle to Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district on the southern horn of the mainland.
- walk to Nathan Road to find Sam’s Tailor, one of the many local tailor shops, and a vaunted one.
- order two new suits and five new shirts. First fitting today.
- mosey along side streets and take in the local culture.
- walk one km to Sky 100, the tallest building in China, and spend time at the top-floor observation deck, and eat a salad for lunch
- subway and bus to Mong Kok and a slow crawl through the famed Ladies’ Market. More of these markets follow in the next few days.
- walk back to hotel and dinner at a nearby restaurant.
It doesn’t sound like much, but this was a long day!
First impressions: Hong Kong is bustling, but friendlier than some other Chinese cities. (Of course, this was a British colony for the better part of the last 150+ years.) Commerce is king. Streets and sidewalks are crowded, but not inhumanely. Food stalls and shops are everywhere. And if you like fashion or jewelry, Hong Kong is the place.
I’m looking forward to being outside of the main shopping district and seeing more of other sides of HK.
Food: Friday was essentially a Western food day. Breakfast (I’m on the club floor at the hotel, and have a full breakfast, afternoon tea, and heavy appetizer cocktail hour provided daily) was Western food save for the two shrimp and vegetable dumpling I ate. Lunch was a Caesar salad at the cafe on the 100th floor of the skyscraper. Dinner, finally, was Eastern, but I was so tired that I only ate a portion of the soy-sauce chicken. More eating adventures await for certain.
Ex-pats: Americans still take the prize for the most obnoxious international travelers. Rather than roll with the experience and soak it in, too many of us want to replicate home whilst abroad. We don’t deal with money, or with language (I’ve already learned a half-dozen phrases in Cantonese), or with people as equals. Every time I travel outside of my own comfortable culture, I note this ugly American tendency, and while I could describe the tendencies of Spanish-speakers from the Iberian peninsula, or the take-photos-everywhere-and-don’t-notice-your-surroundings tendencies of Japanese student tourists, this chauvinistic American attitude, albeit generalized, is not one of which I am proud.
6.25 a.m. now, and a faint glow is emerging in the east. But Hong Kong still sleeps.
From Sky 100:
From the wharf: