Hong Kong

Travelling is great.

(Alert: grumpy post)

I arrived in Hong Kong on a hot, rainy Sunday. The streets were full of people and it was hard for me to walk around with my bags trying to find my hostel. But I found it!

It was a creepy, very creepy hostel. Dark place, unfriendly staff, not very clean room. But it was one of the cheapest in Hong Kong, so I felt that I couldn’t complain. However, I started to find reasons to do so. Wifi was not working, neither on my tablet or on my cellphone, and the staff didn’t care at all when I mentioned it. Great! Kitchen? This was the “kitchen”:

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A rice-boiler, a water-boiler and a sink, all covered in dirt. Great! Having a kitchen is one of the most important things for me in a hostel because I actually use it (for more than cooking rice and making tea).

I was already in the common room using the computers to search for another hostels in the area when some members of the staff started arguing and raising their voices. And then they started fighting against each other, breaking every object in the reception that they would find on their way. The situation got so bad that some minutes later two policemen arrived to check out what was happening. “Click to confirm new booking on Hostelworld”: YES.

I picked up my things, went back to the reception after checking that no bullets were flying around and explained the staff that due to no wifi, no kitchen and the unpleasant situation I had just witnesssed, I wanted to leave and get my money back (at hostels, almost always, you have to pay for your whole stay at the moment you arrive). They understood my position and let me go away with the money that I had given them just an hour before. Maybe the fact that a policeman was still at the reception keeping an eye on them helped.

The new hostel I found was finally a decent one. After many years of travelling, I’ve come to a conclusion: if a hostel has individual reading lamps and sockets, it’s a good hostel. And this one had that:

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But the grumpy part of the post is still not over. The following morning, I woke up and found that the right lens of my glasses was broken. Great! That led me to spend much of my time in Hong Kong at the optical store of the closest shopping mall to get my glasses repaired as quickly as possible. Great! Did I mention that on the same day I had that incident with my glasses, I accidentally spilled my lunch over my legs and now one of the few jeans that I brought for this trip has a beautiful oil stain on it?

And finally, the things I did in Hong Kong:

Victoria Peak. Getting the tram to go up this mountain is a must if you are in Hong Kong. You can have a good view of the city from the sky terrace of The Peak Tower:

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Ferry to Kowloon. On my last picture you can see Kowloon as the area on the other side of the bay. It is connected to Hong Kong Island by subway, but the nicest way to get there is to hop on a Star Ferry boat and enjoy the views:

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Hong Kong Museum of History. This museum is a good way to spend a rainy day in Hong Kong. It has lots of information about the city, from Prehistory until today. For example, you can see (and walk on) a model of an old fishing boat:

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Foot massage. I had initially planned to spend a day in Macau, but as it was raining heavily every day, I decided to stay in Hong Kong and invest some of the money I had saved for the trip on a foot massage. There are plenty of massage places in Hong Kong and you’ll probably be invited to get one while just walking on the street. I was actually talking with a Spanish guy at the hostel who had a friend from Hong Kong who had told him… how to distinguish a massage place from a “massage” place. If you see foot massages advertised with just a foot, then you will just get a massage.

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But, if at some moment a smiling face appears in the sign…

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Guess what? You actually get a massage with a happy ending. I got my massage (without quotes) after almost being kidnapped by a massage-PR lady in the streets of Kowloon and checking that there were no smileys anywhere to be seen. It was a great and relatively cheap way to relax after hours (and days) of walking from one place to another.

All in all, I didn’t really like Hong Kong. Too big, crowded, hot, humid and smelly for my taste. But I have to admit, it is a very tourist-friendly city: almost everyone speaks English, locals are not pushy with tourists (I’m in Vietnam now and locals ARE pushy with tourists) and you can find maps in the most visited places to help you find your way if you get lost:

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And finally, my vegan experiences. I kept cooking as in Japan:

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However, look what’s on the right side of the picture. “Oreo? Is this girl not vegan anymore?”. Good news! In some countries, Oreo are made without using any animal products, although they might have milk traces (I’ve already written before that I don’t care very much about that). So far, I’ve only found them in USA, Hong Kong and now in Vietnam. I was actually in New York last October and I remember being so excited about the vegan Oreos that every morning I would eat as many as I could for breakfast until my teeth would start hurting.

Usually I don’t eat almost any processed foods, and there’s no need to say that Oreos are not the best thing for your health. But who cares, they are vegan!

By the way (only useful for Spanish vegans), los bollycaos del Mercadona también son veganos. De hecho, cuando estoy en España y voy a comprar al Mercadona, la sección de bollería se convierte en un poderoso vórtice calórico del que me es imposible escapar…

Apart from cooking, I used the chance of having food labelled in English in the supermarket to fill my suitcase with vegan cereal bars.

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Quite often in the supermarkets, even in Spain, it’s possible to find at least one sort of cereal bars without any animal products, and they are very useful to have at hand when you’re travelling, just in case you can’t find any suitable food.

This was all about Hong Kong. Sorry for not having more pictures, but as I’ve mentioned before, it was raining almost all the time. And there were just not many nice things in that city to take pictures of…

Next post: Vietnam.

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