Category Archives: Hong Kong

Hong Kong, China: Chi Lin Nunnery

Of course everyone should visit here because it is absolutely beautiful. I however, had an ulterior motive.  I had read that you can get your fortune told here and then take that knowledge off to Macau with you.  Since I was going to Macau later in the day, I was so excited to find out if I was going to become a bazillionaire.  Unfortunately, I had to wait and find out on my own since I could not figure out at all where exactly you can get your fortune told.

It wasn’t a wasted trip though.  Look how beautiful the grounds are.

This is the only time I actually saw blue sky in Hong Kong.  As an extra kick in the ass, this was the same day after I spent the morning taking pictures of nothing but gloom, fog and black skies at The Peak.  Sigh.

Chi Lin Nunnery, Hong Kong, China Continue reading

Chi Lin Nunnery Hong Kong ChinaChi Lin Nunnery, Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong, China: Encountering a Feces Coated Woman on My Way to the Peak Tram

Today I am up very early.  My plans are to take the Peak Tram to see some really cool views of Hong Kong,  come back and shower (since I will need to, all I do here is sweat) and then go to the Chi Lin Nunnery.

Of course, the weather hates me.   It rained while I was on the subway (thank you for that) and then everything was so foggy.

I walked through a little park on my way to the Peak Tram. I took some pictures that did not come out because my camera was all fogged up.  Some woman comes racing after me.  She speaks to me in perfect English, asking me if I would please delete the photos because she thinks she may have been in them and does not want to be in them.  Sure, I do this.  She is double checking, asking me to show her they were deleted and I don’t even register anything at first.  Then she walks away and I realize that (a) this place REEKS of shit and (b) that stench is coming from this woman who is wearing a black and white skirt that is completely covered in smeared shit.

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I go back to take more photos, the woman is nowhere in sight.  She comes flying out of nowhere, asking me to delete them again.  I now notice her eyes are completely covered in dried eye goobers.  She is trying to rationalize with me, I keep showing her “LOOK – YOU ARE NOT IN THESE PICTURES”  She won’t let up. I tell her I will delete them again “because you are fucking annoying me now” and that she can stand behind me, opposite view of the camera, when I take them for the third time.  She tries to convince me to not take pictures at all.   She tells me “I have an anxiety problem.”  I tell her “Yes, I can see that”  and instantly regret saying that instead of “no SHIT.”

I explain to her that I have now gone above and beyond anything I should be doing for her, I am going to take these pictures, you can stand behind me, I am trying to work with you, you need to give a little here.

She agrees to let me count until ten while she runs out of the park so I can take my pictures.  The weather made them come out like this:

IMG_0247

Because of course.

What a completely aggravating morning.

I continue onto The Peak Tram.

Peak Tram Entrance Hong Kong ChinaHong Kong Peak TramPeak Tram station Hong Kong China

The Peak Hong Kong China

From here, the weather is really ruining my photo opportunities.

The Peak Hong Kong China

I pay extra for the Sky Terrace.  This was not worth it.  There are plenty of restaurants up there with similar views. And I mean chain restaurants like Bubba Gump Shrimp and Burger King, both of which have got to be cheaper than the ticket.

It is so foggy up here that my camera thinks I am trying to take pictures of nothing and it won’t even work.  I decide to stick it out for a little while to see if the fog goes away. It then starts raining, because why not?  Finally I got to see the view, even if just barely.

the peak fog hong kong chinaSigh.

Here are a couple more pictures that make me glad I purposely bought a fancy camera for this trip!

The Peak Hong Kong China

The Peak Hong Kong China

Hong Kong: Kowloon Park and the Symphony of Lights at Victoria Harbor

My second stop in Hong Kong is Kowloon Park, where I plan to kill some time before the Symphony of Lights at 8:00.  It is no longer raining but it is still soaking wet and very hot.

The Hong Kong subway is very easy to navigate.  There are signs all over that tell you which exit to take for where you want to go.  Bonus, everything is in English.

super helpful subway station maps hong kong china

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Kowloon Park:

Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China

They even have a little McDonalds stand inside, selling ice cream.

McDonalds stand Kowloon Park Hong Kong China

I have a tendency to be “accidental hiker” where I walk up and up and up and it’s always just because I am lost and going in the wrong direction.  Well today I was sure I was going in the right direction, following signs for a Lookout Point.  I went up there and the view was completely obstructed by trees.

Well played Hong Kong.

From here, I walked all around taking tons of pictures.  Given my maturity level, this one was my favorite:

sex toys classy

The Symphony of Lights show was not as extravagant as I thought it would be.  Still it is free and a must if you are in Hong Kong.

Victoria Harbor night Hong Kong ChinaMy level of patience was borderline running out at this point.  Hong Kong is similar to Las Vegas in that things that should be RIGHT HERE are accessed only by walking through insane lengths.  In Vegas, it’s pedestrian bridges over the Strip.  In Hong Kong, it’s having to cross the street by going through the subway tunnel underground.

After the light show, I went back to my hotel and went right to bed.

Hong Kong, China: Lantau Island, Ngong Ping Village, Tian Tan Buddha

Today is my first full day in Hong Kong!  I am awake after only six hours of sleep.   Outside my window is this view of pouring rain:

Ibis North Point room view Hong Kong Victoria Harbor

I consider maybe not sticking to my original plan of going to Lantau Island.  I mean, it is raining!  I know it is supposed to rain my entire time here.  I ask myself what I am going to do instead.  It is a trick question.  If I can come up with an alternative, I am allowed to do it. But if my only alternative is to go back to bed, then I know I am just using the rain as a scapegoat for me being nervous about going out in a new country all by myself.  Guess what?  It turns out I did plan to go back to bed.  Nuh uh – nope.  You chose to come here, you are going out.  So I did.

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Lantau Island has several attractions.  On my list for today are: Ride the Tung Chung cable car to the Ngong Ping, visit the Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery.

I am an over planner, which has gotten me some negative remarks.  I found everything exactly how my research told me it would be.  The train is right here, the Oyster card costs this, take this train line to that train line, get out and walk here. I couldn’t have gotten lost even if I tried.

I was on my first Hong Kong subway for two stops before some woman asked me “does this train stop at Disneyland?”  and I was actually able  answer her.  No matter where I go, people always assume I am a local.  Even in Hong Kong.

I get off the train at my stop.  I attempt to take a picture with my new camera that I have yet to figure out.  Everything is black.  Uh?  Some guy yells “LENS CAP” at me.   THANK YOU!  I wonder if I ever would have figured that out myself?

Hong Kong signage is really helpful.  They do not want you to get lost here, there are signs everywhere:

how to get to tung chung cable car

As I am walking the the cable car, it started thundering like a beast.  OH COME ON.  I get near the entrance and an employee is putting out warning signs about lightning and thunder.   Of course she is.

I am still going to go.  I am here, I have to.

I end up sharing a cable car with people, I would really have preferred to do it alone but you do not get a choice. My pictures would have been way cooler had it not been raining.

cable car Ngong Ping to Tian Tan Buddha Hong Kong Cable car rain Ngong Ping to Tian Tan Buddha hong kong cable cars ngong ping village

Finally off in the distance, there he is!  TIAN TAN BUDDHA!  Well hello guy!  I am here to see YOU!

Tian Tan Buddha from Cable Car exit

The Tian Tan Buddha is the “world’s largest outdoor bronze seated Buddha”  You will find that there are many large Buddhas in the world and they all find specific categories to be named the largest of.

To get to the Buddha, you have to walk through little Ngong Ping, a village catering to tourists.  I passed a Starbucks and was tempted but told myself it could be my reward on the way back for climbing the 268 steps to the Buddha.

ngong ping village hong kong

Bodhi Square Ngong Ping Hong Kong

Because I just must take pictures of every adorable animal I see, here are some cows and some stray dogs (aw)

cows ngong ping village

I wonder what they are talking about?stray dogs ngong ping

Po Lin Monastery gates with Buddha in the background, getting closer!

Po Lin Monastery Gates with Tian Tan Buddha in background Hong Kong
Finally I get to the iconic view that has been posted on every blog of every visit to the Tian Tan Buddha.  Due to the weather, the poor Buddha looks headless:

Tian Tan Buddha Hong Kong China

Even better, after climbing to the top in the rain, I was rewarded with the view!  I have read about this view.  Gorgeous mountain scenery with the South China Sea in the background.  Here of course, is the view I got:

view tian tan buddha

Sigh.

At least Buddha has his head back   Well kind of anyway.

Top Tian Tan Buddha in the fog Hong Kong

Two seconds after taking this picture, it started POURING and everyone ran for cover.

rain storm tian tan buddha

Tian Tan Buddha Devas in rainI was up there for so long, waiting for the rain to end.  I got so bored.  I decide to make my descent and just deal with being wet.  Mind you, I have an umbrella and two rain ponchos back at my hotel.  idiot.

I walked around the Po Lin monastery and took some photos.

po lin monastery grounds china hong kong Golden Buddhas Po Lin Monastery Ngong Ping Hong Kong po lin monastery hong kong chinaPo Lin Monastery Hong Kong China.

Then I just got tired of being out in the rain so I eventually left.  I took the cable car back, had the same crappy rain views.

Next stop is Kowloon Park, where I plan to kill some time before the Symphony of Lights.

Travel Day from New York to Hong Kong: No Sleep Since Brooklyn

My flight was horrific because all flights are horrific.  Or at least they are for me because I cannot sleep on flights.  Not only can I not sleep, I can’t even keep my eyes closed.  It drives me insane.  Then on trips like this one, where my door to door commute was 27 hours, my brain just gives out.  It is so physically and emotionally draining to be awake for that long.  To not even be able to focus or concentrate on anything because you cannot even keep your eyes shut.   I did a lot of writing about how “NEVER AGAIN” and to consider finally taking that cross country trip on a Greyhound bus, just to be able to say I did, instead of flying to Asia ever again.

Then of course, we land in Tokyo for my layover.  I was so excited walking up the ramp “I AM IN JAPAN!”  I had been off the plane for less than two minutes and I was already mentally planning to come back so I could see JAPAN!  So much for never again torturing myself with another flight of death.

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During my layover in Japan, I was a complete zombie. I had a public conversation with my cute little stuffed dog, who was in my backpack.  Since he was in my backpack, no one could see who I was talking to.  I am not sure that matters since if they had been able to see, they would have seen me talking aloud to a cute little stuffed dog.  I assure him, still speaking in a voice loud enough so he can hear me through my backpack, that I don’t care if all these people are watching a crazy American talk to herself.  I am never going to see these people again.

Also, I got to see my first Japanese toilet!  That makes this the very first picture I took during my trip.
Japanese toilet

When I finally got to Hong Kong, I could not take anything anymore.  I was so exhausted and stupid.  No brain cells.  One plus one = whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

I got through customs, could not find my luggage.  Turns out Delta had taken it and put it somewhere because it took me so long to claim it.  Well of course it did.  The luggage conveyor was so far from my plane and with the slow pace I was walking?  I am surprised I made it there at all.

Then it is time to get cash.  My debit card won’t work.  I try three times, nothing.  I called my bank before I left.   I hate my bank so much.  I try and call them now but either I cannot get phone reception or there isn’t any in this area.  I am so tired and I need cash and fucking PHONE FUCKING FUCK YOU.

Now I am standing there with my useless debit card in my left hand and my useless phone in my right hand.  I am now SO MAD.  And frustrated.  Not to mention completely exhausted.  I am pretty much miming throwing both items and telling them ” I WILL KILL YOU.”  Some security guard tried to tell me I could not stand where I was standing and I growled at him.  Literally, growled in his face.

Great start to my trip.

I go to a stupid currency exchange place and give them $200 USD out of the “just in case” cash I brought with me.  They give me $1412 HKD.  Horrible exchange rate, but what can I do?

I now try and exit the airport.  There are signs everywhere for the airport bus.  I had always planned to take it since it stops right at my hotel.  I had actually booked my hotel specifically because the airport bus stops right by it.  But I just don’t want to take it any  longer.  I am so exhausted and tired and sleepy and dead and I AM SO FUCKING TIRED.  I decide to just take a cab to avoid doing that thing where I get lost one block from where I am supposed to be, because I am too stupid tired to realize I am only one block from where I am supposed to be.  Because I do that.  A lot.  The worst time was last year in Seattle.  I walked one way, saw it was not right.  Returned back to the map on the wall at the train station I had been looking at, and set back out walking the same wrong way, as if walking it a second time would make the street names change.

But back to Hong Kong.  As i am walking outside to the cabs, I see another ATM.  Fuck it, let me try it.  So of a bitch, it works.  I take out $1400 HKD which cost me $186 USD.  So basically, this works out to me paying $14 USD less for $12 less HKD = I lost $13 USD.  WHATEVER.

I take a cab to my hotel.  This was awesome.  It is like a 45 minute drive and the entire time we are driving, we are sandwiched in between airport buses that I did not want to take out of fear of being lost within one block from my hotel.  We finally get to my hotel, along with the buses that have been along for the entire ride with us.  They literally  stop RIGHT OUTSIDE MY HOTEL.  The bus costs $40 HKD, my cab was $285 HKD.   That $245 HKD difference = $31 USD.  Oh yeah.

I have now been in Hong Kong for an hour and I have lost $44 USD.

My Hong Kong hotel is the Ibis North Point.  I walk in the door and reception is located on the Floor 1.  I am on the ground floor.  I have to take the elevator up.  This proved to be very hard.  There were two columns of floor numbers in the elevator.  The left had 18 up top and 1 down bottom, the right had 31 up top and 19 down at the bottom.  I could not find the button for 2, which I was only looking for because my brain recognized that “first floor is actually the second floor” thing.  Then once I found the Floor 2 button, I realized what I had done.  But by now, we had passed floor 1 which is where I needed to go ARGH.  Tired.

I get to my room, again it takes me forever because I simply cannot make my brain understand that the numbers are top to bottom, highest to lowest.  So I just cannot find the button for 15.  FINALLY I get to my room.  I take a shower and then go outside to 7-Eleven to get some water and canned iced coffee for my room.   It is around 2:00 am now.  I get back to my room and it is finally time for bed!  Let me plug in my electronics, OH WAIT MY ADAPTER IS THE WRONG SIZE.  Yeargh.  I get dressed and go to the front desk and they have one I can borrow.  Thank you so much!

Finally I am in bed.  Look how awesome this looks.

Hotel Ibis North Point Hong Kong bed

What you cannot tell from this picture is how sad my face must have looked when I went to blissfully sink into this soft comfort, only to find out it was a rock slab in disguise.  This is how China does beds.  Still, I slept wonderfully and was up and out a mere six hours later.  My body doesn’t do jet lag.   All the years I have kept it in a strict schedule of sleep deprivation while I travel all over to see hardcore bands on work nights, have made sure it knows that anytime you get more than four hours of sleep.  Time simply does not exist.

Hong Kong, China: A Quick Recap

I will be posting tons of details and photos later on.  But for now, a quick recap.

How long was I in Hong Kong?  60 hours.

Where did I stay?  Ibis North Point.  I wanted a hotel with 24 hour check in, near the airport shuttle.  This had both and BONUS it was on the same subway line as the Macau Ferry, which is what I took when I left.

How much was my hotel?  $279.22 USD.  Hong Kong hotels are expensive. I stayed over a weekend and I booked after prices went up considerably.

What did my hotel room look like?  Typical of China, it was small.  But it had everything I needed.

Hotel Ibis North Point Hong Kong bed

Hotel North Point Ibis Hong Kong room

How much money did I spend in addition to my hotel?  $1121 HKD = $144.58 USD

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What did I spend that on?  I wish I had kept better track.  Let’s see.

Biggest expense: Taxi from the airport (more on that later) = $285 HKD ($36.76 USD)

Oyster Card: $250 HKD ($34.24 USD)  I ended up getting a refund of $117 HKD ($15 USD)

Peak Tram and Sky Terrace: $150 HKD ($19.35 USD)  If you go to Hong Kong, do not pay for the Sky Terrace.  You can get up pretty high to view simply by eating at a restaurant. And I do not mean an expensive one like the Stratosphere or the Space Needle.   There is a Burger King up there with a balcony view.   If I had known this..

Ngong Ping cable car: $150 HKD ($19.35 USD)

Ferry to Macau: $172 HKD ($21.18 USD)

The rest went to water, soda, coffee and food.

Things I brought that are no longer with me:  When I left NYC, my checked luggage weighed 33 pounds.  I am now down:  three Cliff bars, half a loaf of cinnamon bread, three days’ worth of meds, vitamins and Aleve, seven band aids, one pack of gum and my envelope of Hong Kong information.  I am betting my bag on the way home gets down to 25 pounds.  We shall see.

Things I accumulated along the way:  Four toothbrushes and two tiny toothpaste tubes.  My hotel left me two of each every day.  I used two toothbrushes and four tooth pastes.  The others are with me.  I also accidentally stole the power adapter I borrowed at Ibis.  I am sorry.

Would I return to Hong Kong?  No.  I was not planning to fall in love with it and I followed through on that.   It was great to see it once, I do not need to see it twice.

How many pictures did I take?  279.

Can I show you one?  Okay but just one.  I have things to do, ya know?

Here is Victoria Harbor at night.  I am showing you this one because it looks okay on my netbook but I bet it looks really shitty on a real computer.  I am on a netbook so allow me to take advantage of this, because I would probably not be able to show this if I saw how shitty it looked on a real computer.

Victoria Harbor night Hong Kong ChinaBonus: My mouse stopped working for no real reason and using a touch pad is not my strong suit.  So editing pictures = death right now.