Suddenly we were in Hong Kong. The airport and the emigration process were easy, efficient, and metallic. All around us, money flowed with a furious intensity. In no time we had turned our Baht into HK$
and were purchasing Octopus cards. Octopus cards are a kind of universal proximity card. Our primary use for them was to ride the MTR, the spotlessly clean, efficient, and devastatingly metallic subway/light rail system of this fine city.
Using the Octopus card, one can not only ride all over Hong Kong on trains, but they are also able to buy snacks from vending machine, pay for your purchases at the pharmacy or 7-11 (Hong Kong is full of 7-11s), take a boat ride across the Harbor, and all simply by smacking your wallet down on a yellow landing pad. One can even visit any of the strategically located octopus inquiry pedestals, and slap down your wallet to see you transaction history and current balance. The most unbelievable thing about the octopus card is that when you are done with it, you get not only your 50 HK$ deposit back, but also the money you had placed on the card! Unbelievable.
Much of our time in Hong Kong it was raining hard. The rest of the time is was threatening to rain or misting fiercely. This is not to say the the city was not a beautiful sight to behold. This is to say that we spent a lot of time dashing through the rain in and out of shops, restaurants, and tea houses. Hong Kong was a time for getting things together, refueling our minds and bodies, and purchasing much needed provisions for the upcoming journey into the heart of China.
A List of Important Tasks Accomplished in Hong Kong:
Umbrellas — purchased
Woody’s Health — verified by physician (no charge; the man liked asiaheeling.com)
Pants Which Were Terribly Filthy After 11 Days in India — cleaned
Terrible Plaid Shorts — jettisoned
Colds — Discovered in both Scott and myself
Strange Chinese Medicines — averted
Inordinate Amount of Cash — spent
Very Tight Pants — purchased
Tap-water — consumed with relish
Replenishment of Spirit — achieved
Internet — found readily available
Savage New Calculator Watch – purchased from fantastic Pankisani fellow
Ability to easily communicate with the US — present
Our time standing on the doorstep of China was a much needed interim in the savage adventure which is (oh dear and valued reader don’t worry) is about to continue with renewed savagery. I found Hong Kong to be a very livable city. So much did this place appeal to me, that at times I found myself considering working and living there for a piece of my life. But as always, I stand by the mantra, of it is not so much where you are and what you are doing, as who you are doing this thing with. And Scott, having lived in Hong Kong for his study abroad experience, was a most knowledgeable and capable guide, with many charming friends.
For deeper insights into our time in Hong Kong, I fear I must refer you to the gallery, where you will no doubt enjoy our rather large chunk of Hong Kong photo-documentation.