Super late report but for Christmas I went to Hong Kong! Pictures will have to come later because I can’t upload from my phone for some reason.
By coincidence, I met up with my friend Thomas fromthe Basque Country who is now working in Japan. He popped over to Hong Konfor a visa renewal and our days overlapped!
We met on Hong Kong Island for some dim sum and a wander to the botanical gardens. The place where we went to eat was proper local and they sat us down to share a table with an older couple that helped us figure out what to actually do to get our food. They give you a piece of paper that kind of looks like a bingo card and you take it up to get marked for whatever items you choose and then pay at the end. Yum yum! Botanical gardens were nice to for some monkey watching, even though sad to see them in the cages.
Later in the day Andrew finally arrived from his work trip on mainland China! We stayed on the Kowloon side and wandered down to a park and the waterfront for a lit-up skyline view before seeing Star Wars!!!
The next days were some fooding and wanderings around Kowloon markets – they have streets sectioned for your shopping desires from sneaker street to goldfish street and flower street. Now I am contemplating having a flower shop someday… surrounded by plants all day = a dream come true. There was also a bird garden which was interesting and depressing all at the same time. Birds in cages to buy for pets or some kinds are just there to pay for their release as a sort of freedom-granting good deed.
Temple visits are a must for me so we went to Wong Tai Sin which is a temple that has a mix of Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist elements all in the same place (we CAN just all get along). Lots of burning incense and shaking sticks in boxes for wishes, and I didn’t see it myself but I know there are lots of other paper offering items you can buy to burn and send on to your ancestors, from paper money to paper food, paper cigarettes, and so on.
Another temple hunt the next day was a little further out and an uphill hike but it is called 10,000 Buddhas Temple so there are Buddha statues lining the whole walk up! Some nice views from the top of the city too.
What else… we made it to the race track to see some horse races. This seems to be the foreigner gathering zone on Wednesdays haha. No bets made but now I can say I have seen a horse race. It’s realy short and I have no idea who won but I guess that is besides the point!
Andrew left for the States on Christmas Eve so I went out around Hong Kong Island to hike Dragon’s Back trail. Amazing views of the sea and a pleasant escape from the skyscrapers and crowds. Being Christmas, shops were packed so being out in the forest and ending on a little beach was perfect for me.
Later I stopped around Central for some antique markets. If only I had a magical bottomless bag and a home to take things to, I would definitely pick up souvenirs more often. Oh well.
On Christmas Day I met a girl from Couchsurfing and she took me to “the real Hong Kong” out of the center for some dim sum. A hike was planned but the weather was against us so we went for coffee and cake instead! I tried some kind of tea that is good for health according to Chinese medicine and we chatted about travel plans and teaching life, since Flossie plans to try to go to South America to teach there.
All in all, Hong Kong has sooo much shopping in the central areas but some great natural areas once you take the subway or buses out a bit further. If I ever go again, I would definitely shoot for more hiking trails, surprise surprise.