I arrived in Hong Kong about a week ago and had a pretty epic time. I was only really there to get my Visa before I could head over to the mainland. That process was fairly easy. Went in on a Friday and picked it up on a Monday. I’ll go into more detail on that later.
Over the weekend I climbed Victoria Peak, well I tried to at least. It was pretty damn foggy so I couldn’t see much but the hike was fun and it felt cool to be surrounded by nature again.
I got caught up in a rainstorm at the top so I killed some time in the cafe before taking the creaky old tram back down to the base. At this point I was pretty exhausted from hiking and walking all day so I headed back to the hostel and started importing the footage that I gathered from the trek. I ended up making a short video of that day that you can check out here.
Saturday night I met up with a mutual friend that I have from back home. He was in a similar situation as myself back in New York, working a job he didn’t like and looking for something a bit more adventurous and fulfilling so he left his job and got a teaching position in Hong Kong. He hasn’t looked back since. It was nice to talk to him and pick his brain a bit over some beers while we relaxed in the Wan Chai district.
After a couple hours of hanging out we decided to go out for some of the famous Hong Kong nightlife in Lan Kwai Fong. This place offers all the great things that I missed about Europe. Plenty of packed bars, clubs, and every type of person overflowing into the streets with a beer or drink in hand. In the US this would be damn near impossible and just simply illegal. It’s nice to have the option to buy a $2 beer from 7 Eleven and drink it with your buds on the street instead of paying $8 for the same beer at a bar.
We partied up and down the street all night and eventually split up around 3am at which point I headed back to the hostel to crash. I was still pretty beat up from jet lag as I’d only arrived less than 48 hours before.
I found out later the next day that the friend I was with got jumped by a group of Indian guys after telling them to stop bothering some girl. They had him on the ground, kicking and punching him until the cops came. He is okay but it was a bit ironic as we were literally just talking about how non-violent the city is.
The rest of the weekend I took it pretty easy and just recovered from the two nights before. I walked around some other areas and took shots with my camera for a compilation video I was making. I must’ve seen over 50 7 Elevens in this time period. I swear the brand you’ll see most often there will be McDonald’s and 7 Elevens. Just crazy, every corner.
On Monday I swung by the Visa place to pick up my new CHINESE BUSINESS VISA! Damn, it was incredibly easy. You fill out part of the form and they ask you what company you work for at which point you say, “I don’t really have one yet” and then they shrug it off, because frankly they don’t care. That’s China for you in a nutshell. Pay ’em $250 and you got yourself a 10 year multiple entry business visa. I can’t vouch for how this goes for other countries but this was my process coming from the USA.
Later that day I linked up with my friend Carl and his friend Gary, who brought us to this online business networking event at some posh hotel. It was a pretty neat experience and I’m glad I went. I had it in my head that it’d be like the old networking events I used to go to where I’d painfully make small talk with older dudes in expensive suits who I didn’t know nor care about. This was more like young 20 somethings who were not following the traditional path that we are fed to believe, taking risks, and encouraging each other to do the same while sharing success stories.
After hearing everyone’s story and sharing resources for two hours, Carl, Gary, and myself decided to go out for our last night in Hong Kong. Another Filipino girl from the networking event tagged along. We grabbed some cheap noodles then headed to this street called Knutsford Terrace where there are several bars and restaurants. Of course, we stopped at 7 Eleven and purchased our $1 cans of beer before hand to save a little cash.
About 5 beers later and a basket of waffle fries and we were all laughing, sharing stories, and having a good time. Around 2am we decided to call it a night and sent the Filipino girl to her hotel in a cab. We jumped in one and headed back to Mongkok only to be confronted with a multitude of options for weird street food and a group of flirty Thai girls. We ordered about $13 worth of street food, which was WAY too much mystery meat after a night of drinking, and then plopped down next to our newly made Thai girlfriends.
They were incredibly smiley, giggly, and overall way more rambunctious than their Chinese counterparts, which was a nice contrast from the rest of the weekend. Two of them were particularly interested in Carl and I so we invited them back to the hostel for some more drinks. I won’t go into much more detail but, needless to say we slept only two hours and had one of the better nights of my life.
Tuesday morning Carl and Gary snagged some sweet shades from the crazy flea market and then we ate some incredible Japanese food that set us back only $10. Finally, we stumbled to the subway and headed to the main station to catch the train to Guangzhou. The ticket cost $25 and takes about 2 hours. This was a nice break and we all passed out on the train.
Hong Kong was a nice landing point and really helped in getting me acclimated for the big move to China. In regards to food, culture, and people, Hong Kong can actually be quite different from the mainland.
Well, I’ve been in Guangzhou for about a week now and will post soon about some of my observations and experiences of the city thus far.
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