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Monday, February 16, 2015

Day 2 - Hong Kong

Widya and I woke up extra early in the morning to do last minute shopping at a nearby mall called, Lo Wu Shopping Plaza, before checking out from the hotel. Nothing in China is authentic. There were many imitation branded goods on sale such as Michael Kors, Bottega Venetta, Tory Burch and Long Champ. The salesperson explained the reason behind the expensive goods but I refused to believe because obviously, it wasn't real. However, it didn't stop me from purchasing a fake long champ bag because I needed it for shopping purposes and that was after I successfully managed to bargain for a lower price.

Both of us did not spend much at the shopping plaza because we felt that the items were overpriced. After checking out from the hotel, we walked further down the streets and into an old building for a massage since our lethargic feet deserved a rest. 

It was a long bus ride to the airport and I wanted to keep myself awake and occupied. I was busy taking selfies and I saw a man sleeping peacefully behind me. I had to switch angles to avoid him from appearing in my photos.

Once we reached the airport, we have to wait for another bus to Discovery Bay.

I must say that Discovery Bay was mad beautiful!!! As it was located up the hill, the weather seems to be cold every time. Even in the afternoon, it was windy. Discovery Bay is a restricted area where only the residents are allowed to enter. The land is filled with plenty of apartments and tall condominiums. They only have one mall which is called, Discovery Bay Plaza. Their form of transport is the golf buggy and mini buses, which is enough to carry the people from one end to the other. Outside vehicles are not allowed in the restricted area as it will cause noise pollution. Most of the residents are Filipinos married to Caucasian men. They love to walk their dogs both in the day and night. It was definitely an eye-opening experience, seeing Hong Kong in a different light. The people there were very friendly and approachable. I would definitely live there if I had the chance to. Oh! They have beaches and ferries too!

Most of them are housewives. In the day, they would play tennis with the other mums after they sent their kids to school. After tennis, they would hang around the plaza and eat at restaurants. After which, they will go grocery shopping and fetch their kids from school. At night, they cook for their husbands when they are home. I would describe them as tai-tais. In Discovery Bay, we stayed over at Widya's acquaintance house for our remaining stay in Hong Kong.

We dropped our belongings at home and went for dinner at Hemingway's By The Bay.

I am in love with this part of Hong Kong. Amazing!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Day 1 - Hong Kong

Early October last year, I went to Hong Kong with Widya, a close companion of mine, since it was my first time travelling with a friend. Before I made my decision, I pen down a few countries that I would like to travel to on a piece of paper and Hong Kong was the last country on my list. Few years ago, I went to Hong Kong with my mother and I had the worst experience! Ever since then, I swore to myself that I would never go Hong Kong again. I tried to battle my negative thoughts with positive ones when I was told that I should give Hong Kong another try. Well, why not? I had a feeling maybe I went to the wrong side of Hong Kong. Probably that was the only thing that could make me feel better.

Thank you mother for waking up extra early to send me off to airport!

We got our tickets from United Airlines and booked a Business Class seats. I don't travel that often especially in Business Class but when I do, I feel like a princess. I needed this break so badly because school was being nasty to me. I deserve it.

I was very pleased with the United Airlines services. Great hospitality, great food. I couldn't recall what movie I watched but I know that I selected the wrong choice of movie. I slept throughout the flight from Singapore to Hong Kong. It was 5:15 in the morning! Did I tell you I am not a morning person at all?

After 4 hours of flight, we finally landed safely. There was this place that is known for its delicious halal dim sum. I was introduced to this place called, "Islamic Centre Canteen", by Widya as she told me that they serve good dim sum. As soon as we arrived, we took a bus from the airport and alighted at the nearest train station. We took a train to Wan Chai station and walked to our destination. We both agreed to take the bus and train instead of the usual taxi reason being we wanted to explore the place. From Wan Chai train station, we had to walk quite a distance to the location. 

I wasn't complaining because I love walking and observing the people, even if I had to carry a luggage and a bag, under the scorching sun, which I did. I walked a few streets down the narrow aisle and I was able to witness the lifestyle of Hongkongers. The wet market was definitely unpleasant and nothing fancy but I still find the beauty in it. You don't often see this in Singapore anymore. There were different kinds of fish, sea shells and meat on display when I looked closely at every stall. They even had pork head hanging on hooks. 

Finally, we have reached our first destination after a good fifteen minutes' walk. The canteen was located in this building called, "Masjid Ammar and Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre". Even though I was wearing something covered, I was still unsatisfied with my attire. I felt very uncomfortable because I didn't think that I was dressed appropriately (even though I knew I did but it was not up to expectation). Times like this, I wish I had brought along a shawl with me. The last thing I want to do is disrespect the holy place.

I must compliment that the dim sum was indeed tasty! By looking at the photos, I am already starting to salivate. No doubt, I would come to this place again for the dim sum.

After lunch, we took a cab to the nearest train station since we couldn't afford to walk with our bulging tummy. Once we have reached the train station, we were thinking of how to get across the border to Shenzhen, China since we will be staying for the night at Railway Station Hotel. As you can see from the map below, the grey area on the top left hand corner is China and the remaining white ones are Hong Kong. Hong Kong consists of three main territories: Hong Kong IslandKowloon Peninsula, and the New Territories. Very geographical huh?

The train ride was really cool. We purchased the token from the machine for our train ride and it looked very bizarre, just like the ones I used back in the old days where I buy tokens to play arcade at neighborhood shopping malls. In Singapore, you use a card to tap on the sensor at the entrance. In Hong Kong, you use the green token to tap. I repeat, A TOKEN TO TAP. So cool?

Taken from Google

Once we have reached Shenzhen, we went straight to the hotel to put our heavy belongings after which we packed our important documents and put it in a small bag before leaving as placing our passports in the hotel room is not a great idea. Don't trust hotels when you are overseas even how good their ratings are.

We went to Dongmen Shopping Street in Luohu, Shenzhen, for our night shopping trip. I was expecting them to sell clothes ranging from $4 to $10 but I was wrong. They were more or less similar to Singapore's Bugis Street. I bought a few basic things such as tops, accessories, undergarments, shoes, portable charger, shades, pouches, bags, souvenirs and other unnecessary items. My money flew away in a blink of an eye.

After walking around for about three hours, I felt hungry and had to snack on Mcdonald's chicken wings for dinner because honestly speaking, I was afraid to eat their local food. Luckily, Widya brought Tom Yam cup noodles with her or else, I would have died of hunger (being a little dramatic here).

The next day, we went for a last minute shopping at a nearby mall opposite our hotel. Before we returned to Hong Kong, we wanted to pamper ourselves by going for a massage. Once we reached Hong Kong, we went to this place I called, Paradise. Read Day 2 - Hong Kong in the upcoming blog post! Keep tab!