SO this is how Hong Kong starts, with me unsuspecting. Japan finished at 6am this morning, cold and raining – almost like it didn’t want us to leave. Lucky we’re out though, the typhoon is supposed to hit tomorrow and it surely would have then had its way. I’ve come to decide the follow things having suffered through the last 7 and a half hours of flights. Firstly, the Japanese are beautiful people and I don’t mean just literally. The respect and care that they show one another is amazing. The amount of times someone would approach us, offer to take our picture, miss a train to give us directions or walk with us where we needed to go; not to mention the incredible patience they showed, us stumbling through words trying to find the right balance of language to make clear what we needed/wanted. It was so unexpected but I feel now I might have taken that somewhat for granted. Secondly, Japan is a crazy place. It’s full on – especially in Tokyo, but there is an order to the madness. The Japanese have mastered organised chaos. Thirdly (and by no means lastly but for the purpose of not droning on), the country itself is so clean, so practical. They have dual level bike racks, dual level carparks – they have carparks that lock the wheel of your car so you have to pay the fee before you can leave – no way you can get a fine. No money-making scheme here. There are so many things we saw over our month that lead to comments of ‘why don’t we have this at home?’ that I can’t list them all here but it’s not until you go somewhere like Japan that you realise just how dysfunctional everything at home is. It’s insane. But none of this I realised fully until this afternoon when somewhat unsuspecting, I was slapped in the face by the city of Hong Kong. Actually to be fair, it was slightly before this that I had this realisation. It was about the time I copped an arse in the face on the plane. I don’t know what it is but Air China, while being comfortable and reasonable pleasant to fly with, has the most disorderly flights I have ever endured. People were up and about standing around – blocking the aisle. This is why I copped an arse in the face actually. The man opposite me decided he didn’t like his seat that much and stood up, forcing everyone who walked past to have to step around, swinging their bums in my direction. The staff weren’t that pleasant either. It could have something to do with the fact that no one was listening to their directions but they seemed happier just to grumble than to actually do something about it, like tell them to sit the fuck down. I shit you not, we were still taxing into the terminal and people were up getting their bags. They were pushy too. Pushing past, elbowing people out-of-the-way. Yep, that was about the time I realised how polite the Japanese are and how spoiled I’ve been during my month there. Today was like a reality check. It was a bitch slap with a message of ‘hey, don’t get too comfortable – that’s not the way the rest of the world is you know!’
I’m actually surprised how much like Kuala Lumpur it is, I wasn’t expecting this. I also wasn’t expecting the level of smog that surrounds the city. I was shocked when we arrived in Beijing, I was completely astounded when we arrived in HK. It’s disturbing. It was so thick that from inside the airport, I couldn’t tell whether it really was smog or whether it was just raining. I suppose though that I can blame some of the shock on the fact that I had 5 hours sleep last night – when your tired, a city like HK can be a bit overwhelming. I snoozed on the plane a few times – much to Shona’s amusement, my head lolling around like one of those little dogs you have on the dash. Once we had located our room and dumped our things, we headed out for a bite to eat and a quick look around. On the way to the hotel we discovered a vegetarian restaurant just around the corner and decided to head there. It literally had the words vegetarian restaurant in the title of the place and yet, no; vegetarian it was not. We still went there though – had a fantastic, if not unusual dinner and then went for a stroll down Nathan Road. We were wandering around when we came across the Police setting up a crime scene. Turns out not long before we wandered past, someone had jumped from the roof of a building. I think this is about when we decided to head back towards the hotel and the oasis of quiet that was waiting for me. On the way we stopped for dessert (which cost us like $3 – including drinks!) and devoured a lovely layered mango cream crepe cake. We’re heading back there tomorrow night for some crazy ice-cream. I’ll post pictures for you later. We had only minutes previous decided a need to cut dessert was in order – particularly seeing as I will be in Paris on Thursday where all the dessert I could ever need waits for me, but we can’t help it and we caved. What the hell, we’re travelling right?
Now I’m back in the calm of the room (we are in a hotel for the three nights we are here cause after this we split up) and I’m grateful to shut the door on the bustling nightlife outside. In a few moments I intend to take my weary body to bed and hopefully wake up tomorrow refreshed and much more ready for what lies ahead. But before I do, I have one more thing to tell you. It’s a tale of the best Okonomiyaki I’ve ever tasted. Yes. I can sense the excitement in your eyes and yes, it really was the best. We were slightly sick of 7/11 food last night and both having abandoned our plans of eating at the Ninja Restaurant and my having recovered from the unusual spot of stomach pains/nausea, we settled on giving the Okonomiyaki one more shot. On Thursday when we were wandering we had spotted this little place where you cooked it yourself and we headed back there. It was just like at home – none of this noodle nonsense. It was doughy and vegetabley and it hit the spot. I’ll leave you to have your visual feast below.
Wish me luck for tomorrow!