On My Own in Hong Kong

Today was the day. I braved the city on my own. Exciting! After breakfast (what will I do when I get home and don’t have congee anymore?). I headed out to walk a bit in the neighborhood of the hotel.
This is a Hong Kong local neighborhood – not really a tourist area or an ex-pat area, so it’s interesting. Lots of seafood markets selling dried seafood products. I can’t recognize most of them.
I walked a bit and eventually decided to get on a bus for the Central District. A bus came along that said “Central” on it, so I figured that would work, and I got on. That’s when I discovered that I didn’t know where my Octopus card was. That’s the all-purpose card that you can swipe to pay for busses, trams, and ferries, and you can even use them in convenience stores. There are 7-11’s all over the place, by the way. A woman jumped up and swiped her card for me, which was very sweet. I found my card about 30 seconds after I sat down, of course.
When I got to Central, I went to get a foot massage. A friend had recommended that I do this. She told me that it’s not like regular massage, and that she was sweating when she got hers. Mine was far more gentle. I think I went to a place that caters to tourists and westerners. It was in the Fodor’s guide and my hotel recommended it. It was lovely and relaxing, but I might seek out a more traditional experience before I leave.
I walked around some more after that, and then it was lunch time. The small alleyways were filled with workers eating their lunches at outdoor street vendor cafés. There are small tables and chairs set up, and the streets are absolutely teeming. The vendors are busy cooking noodles in their food carts. It’s quite the sight.
Honk Kong is an international financial center. It’s a city of stark contrasts. These workers sit and eat in the alleys. The vendors live from this. Steps away are huge flagship stores for Louis Vuitton, Coach, and Cartier. It’s rich or poor – there doesn’t look to be a lot in- between.
Some things in Hong Kong – many things, are inexpensive. Transportation is very cheap. A car is unnecessary. Cabs are plentiful and cheap. Busses, the subway (oh yes, the Octopus card works for that, too), trams, and the ferries are inexpensive. Food doesn’t cost much. My 50-minute foot massage came out to about $25 US. But rents and property values are insane. Space is at a premium, and very expensive.
I took a ferry to Kowloon and walked around the jade market. This also drove home the contrasts. Theo buildings dedicated to vendors who mostly sell jade, but also pearls, lapis, and some other goods. They work from sometimes makeshift stalls, in cramped spaces and in stifling heat without air conditioning. They bargain fiercely – “you tell me what you think is fair”. Yes, but I don’t want a dragon. I did buy a few things, of course. At much less than the original stated prices. Because I am a nice lady, the first customer today, and all that. But it was so worth the visit.
Hong Kong definitely has World Cup fever. There are giant statues of international footballers by the Kowloon ferry terminal.
I eventually found my way back to HK island, and then to my hotel. Then I got to the Discovery Bay ferry by myself, and I ran into FC on the ferry. Spent a nice evening with them.
Tomorrow we’re going up to the peak! So I guess I’d better get some sleep
That’s it. That’s my mite.

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2 thoughts on “On My Own in Hong Kong

  1. Hi, nice to meet you…Yes, you are absolutely right, food and transportation is very cheap but the rents of apartments and property values are much too high >”<

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