Ben in Hong Kong©

Monday, June 13, 2011

2 Years Later

Cantonese people love to shop, and on my flight to Hong Kong from London this became apparent because there was no room in any overhead locker for my hand luggage. I could see up the aisle that there was no room anywhere else either, because nearly every locker had a Cantonese person standing below it desperately trying to squeeze in one last Harrods bag. Eventually one of the air crew came to my aid and my bag was locked in a container at the back of the plane with some spare life jackets.

The journey itself was uneventful. The lady I was seated next to decided to raise the arm rest between our seats whenever she had a nap, which I thought was quite strange. I was more uncomfortable when I woke up and found her sleeping against my arm though. I kept moving around and waking her up, but despite this she kept returning to my shoulder, eventually I gave up and fell asleep myself. In total I slept for nine hours of the eleven hour flight, so I woke up just before landing feeling surprisingly good.

I landed at 1.30pm on Monday 13 of June. I collected my bags, passed through immigration, changed my money, topped up my Octopus card and boarded a train to Central Hong Kong. By 2.35pm I was on Hong Kong island and walking through the International Finance Center shopping mall towards Red Bar. My reason for going to a bar as soon ar I arrived was not just because I wanted a drink, (though I did), it was because a friend had arranged to meet me there to give me keys to Laura and Nikkis flat. As I stepped outside and walked towards the bar the first thing that hit me was the view of Hong Kong island and Kowloon. On one side I could see the Star Ferry making its way towards Tsim Tsa Tsui, and on other side I could look up at the peak and surrounding sky scrapers, I could even see the small viewing tower at the top of the mountain.

The second thing to hit me was the heat, it was 32 degrees with 84% humidity, it was such a shock to my system that it felt hard to breathe at first. I started to wonder how I used to cope with summertime in Hong Kong, sat down, ordered a nice cool Tsing Tao beer, then realised that perhaps I was dealing with it in the best way possible. Eventually I got the keys and address for Laura and Niks flat, grabbed my bags and jumped in a taxi.

I found the flat without much trouble, the building itself looked a little run down, but their flat inside is lovely and unusually clean owing to the cleaner having visited that morning. By this time it was only 4.30pm and I had two hours to spare before Nikki arrived back from work. I was feeling quite restless, so decided to go for a jog up on the Wan Chai gap in an attempt to adjust to the insane humidity. I arrived back feeling a little more awake and ready for an ice cold shower, so I got myself cleaned up and thirty minutes later Nikki arrived home! The evening then consisted of a few happy hour cocktails in soho, and then a nice Chinese meal of dumplings and noodles. Laura met us later on in town straight after work. By 11pm I was back in the flat and collapsed on the sofa after my first half day in Hong Kong.

The strangest thing so far, is that it does not feel strange to be back. I feel like I have only been gone for two weeks.


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