Hello my readers! I have finally returned from my 2-week holiday, sitting through a 17 hour flight from Hong Kong back to the UK (rest stop Dubai for 3 hours – one word: AGONY). I am from Hong Kong and kinda miss it already, although the notable differences during my time in HK compared to the UK was the lack of internet, a proper bed (foldable couch, anyone?), a proper flushing toilet and the weather. Also, NO TV. I had no TV where I was at @_@
It almost sounds like I was living like a beggar but I can honestly say I kinda was, or more like, my sister was (she slept on the floor, poor thing). The reason so is because the lock to the bedroom got jammed on the second day of the trip for absolutely no reason – in general, my gran has a three-storey house in Hong Kong and we were meant to stay at her house for our trip. She came to the UK to see my Uncle’s newly hatched son – erm, I mean newly born son (wtf Fish and Chips? Get a grip! It must be the long hours spent doing nothing but watch Disney movies in the plane. It has turned my mind to much T_T). Yeah, so my gran came to the UK while we were meant to go to HK, so she gave us the keys to her house (see picture of house below) and she said we could live in the apartment upstairs while we were in HK, which I thought was pretty neat…
It turned out she hadn’t cleaned the apartment on the second floor for a looooooooooong time and her TV was no longer working. Me and my sis got off the taxi at my gran’s haunted village to see that the floor had dust up to our heels, the toilet did not flush properly and my gran had left her washing indoors along with all her plants so there were bugs – dead and alive – everywhere. We spent a day armed with bug spray and mops and flannels to clean up the house to sleep in whilst my mum went out to get covers and pillows for us (since the ones that were left for us were a bit mouldy. Thanks a lot gran).
We had two weeks to spend in Hong Kong and there was lots to do; we stayed in the City Gate Novotel for the first night after getting off the plane at HK International airport at 5pm and me and my sis had wanted to stay at a hotel for 2 weeks so we’d be closer to attractions but my mum refused and said we should live at our gran’s and then this happens so cue three-way arguments about our living conditions between myself, my sis and my mum, and moans and complains and bitching about our current situation.
Anyway, I couldn’t sleep during the first night at my gran’s empty house. We heard the village was haunted and when it got dark from around7-ish, I noticed the night-time inHong Kongis extremely scary, especially in a haunted village. Whereas it was just dark in theUK(and I’ve been out in the UK from1-3amin the morning), it was a different kind of dark in the HK – it was complete and utter darkness. I also woke up several times during the night because I thought I could hear whispering.
My gran also has two dogs –
At first, I was terrified they’d be mean and bark and pounce on me upon sight like the previous dogs my gran had raised and trained but I was proved wrong when I arrived; they kept weaving through my legs playfully and licking my face and sniffing our butts (yes, really). They’re so cute (see photos)
Now that our living habitat was sussed out, it was time for me and my sis to travel and go shopping! The places we went to were…
- Sheung Sui (Landmark North, MetropolisPlaza)
- Luen Wo Hui (marketplace, where we got scammed into buying mouldy melons)
- Tai Po Market
- Sha Tin (Yata Department Store, New Town Plaza and more)
- Kowloon Tong (Festival Walk)
- Mong Kok (GrandCenturyPlaza, or Place, I can’t remember)
- Admiralty (QueenswayPlaza,Pacific Place)
- Causeway Bay (Harbour City,SinoPlaza)
- Tsim Sa Tsui
- Ocean Park
- Wong Tai Sin (a temple)
- Avenue of Stars
(…not a lot of attractions, eh? We were meant to go to the Giant Buddha but we had no time 😦 we also wanted to go visit Macau but also had no time. Grrrrr!)
The first thing I noticed was that people kept staring at us. People passing would actually stare when they walked past us, and would keep staring even after we walked past them a foot or two. That was kinda weird. I thought it was because the clothes we wore, which we brought with us from theUK, since HK fashion is different, but I’m not sure about that, because last time I brought a t-shirt from home which screamed SCOTLAND! and no-one stared… oh well. Another thing about HK is that everything is efficient and FAST. It’s a very fast lifestyle, and I couldn’t keep up with it. I found the Public Light bus and their drivers and their disregard for the speed limit rather refreshing, however.
The employees in every single store, every restaurant, every place you step foot in, are like robots, I swear. I mean… I’ve never experienced a faster McDonalds serving experience in my life before. It was the fastest exchange of money and a Sausage Egg McMuffin of my life. Also, everyone has iPads, or iPhones or tablet-like computers. They could be just standing and they’ll have some gadget out and play/listen/watch on it. I saw an old man watching Kung Fu Panda on his iPad whilst on the train. And here I am iPhone less and iPad-less. Sigh. I felt oddly out of place taking out my Go Gear. It’s so ancient. But yes, since everyone has a phone or computer, I guess I am right to say that video games and consoles like the Playstation 3 were a little unpopular, or could only be afforded by only very well off rich people, because one game costs at least 399 HK dollars or more. But man, do HK people love their phones and PSPs.
My shopping experiences
I used to think this was the best place to shop when I went to HK back in 2004 but now I think differently, maybe because there are no more CD shops or bookstores except from 1 in the far off corner on the third floor or something like that. It is now filled with both HK and UK/European stores like Marks and Spencers, H & M and Accessorize. The newest addition we found was Yata Department store which encompassed a supermarket (it was super, not your average supermarket like Morrirsons, Asda or Walmart, but SUPER supermarket) and other clothes stores all meshed into one floor like Frasers or Debenhams.
Stores included C.en and Liz Lisa. Liz Lisa is where I finally found a clothes shop selling gyaru clothes. You couldn’t imagine how I happy I was to come across it. But holy **** the clothes expensive, in the price range of 600-1000 dollars. The worse thing was that you can’t really wear these clothes back in the UK (well, I can’t pull it off anyway). Maybe that price range is nothing for you, but I was on a budget so I didn’t buy anything, wanting to save the money for something else.
There were gyaru sales assistants lurking around promoting their items and I got to talk to one. She didn’t wear circle lens but her false eyelashes were magnificent. I told her she looked exactly like the gyarus on Popteen and Kawaii TV (a TV show/magazine which has gyarus) and she stared at me as if I had sprouted two heads. I guess she didn’t realise I was complimenting her. And it was slightly disappointing that she had no idea what I was talking about, but oh well.
It wasn’t as far as Mong Kok, which was good, and it also joins to the subway line to get to Wong Tai Sin (see photo). We only managed to visit Kowloon Tong once and went into Festival Walk, a massive shopping plaza (not as big as Sha Tin) but I thought it was far more interesting. We went to a store called Log On which was really interesting and I found a VCD shop that sold PS3 and Xbox games. I was disappointed to see that the selection of games were identical to the UK but at inflated prices. The food court was the best. I got Japanese food like Yoshinoya and I got a full meal for 38 dollars in less than 5 minutes (bowl of rice, chicken, vegetables, a coke, miso soup, kimchi and jelly dessert YUMMMMMMM).
I also got a coupon for discounted skating as they have a skating rink downstairs but I sat that one out.
Mong Kok East (used to be just Mong Kok, don’t get confused with Mong Kong Subway station)
So freaking far from where I stayed in HK. It was the second last stop of the train, the last stop being Hung Hom. But AHHHHHH I CANNOT STRESS HOW MUCH I EFFING LOVE THIS PLACE. I love it I love it I love it. The Grand Century Plaza is the best. It had everything I was looking for. It’s where I got all my books and beauty products (see the photos of what I got in HK). Sasa had some of the gyaru things I was looking for except from the eyelashes. I only got the Dollywink eyeliner from there and I was going to get the Heroine mascara but thought I could get that from somewhere else forcheaper.
There’s also another plaza but I’ve forgotten what it’s called. It’s called New…Something. sorry, but you can just leave the Grand Century Plaza, walk out a little and you can see it, or you can get off at the Mong Kong subway station and it’s just there. You can find cheap clothes and beauty products inside. The things there are really good (I got full outfits – tops and skirts – for all under 50 dollars, whooooo!) but the bad thing is that it is SUPER CRAMPED and the sales assistants are quite rude. We also went to Ladies Market. It was interesting but I didn’t get anything. We walked around and around trying to look for a VCD shop but couldn’t find more than 2, and they didn’t sell what we wanted, either.
You’re probably wondering why we are so uptight about VCDs, it’s because we were trying to find Korean dramas for sale and anything else (unfortunately we didn’t find a lot).
Admiralty (if you have the monies)
We went to Pacific Place first. I wasn’t surprised to see many tourists there. They have lots of shops with stuff I couldn’t afford like er…Emporio Armani (look at my knowledge of labels hurrdurr). Because we couldn’t afford anything, or didn’t feel like spending money inPacific Place, we went to Queensway Plazawhere I got the Comic Fans book (see the photo ofHong Kong stuff I bought). It’s always tradition of me to at least try and find a Comic Fans book whenever I do go to HK but it was hard trying to find one for sale, too. Also, Katekyo Hitman Reborn Volume 35 and the latest volume of Kuroshitsuji, Bleach and One Piece were for sale, too.
Other Beauty/Fashion shops I went into/saw:
- Crabtree and Evelyn
- Louis Vuitton
And finally, my favourite…
The Wallace and Gromit-themed shop, Chocoolate!! (Yes, you read it right, it’s chocolate spelt with two O’s)
Restaurants/Places to eat which I found interesting:
- The Spaghetti House
- Haagen Daz
- McCafe (yes, really)
- Korean Food Hut
- Fairwood/Cafe de Coral
….It was OK. Not the best. We’ve been before but I was 8 years old and spent the day panting and wheezing from long treks under the hot weather. Also, my family went off to this one ride and I was too short for it so I had to wait with my dad for about half an hour before the rest of my family came out. The worse thing was they didn’t even like the ride they got on. It felt like fifteen minutes wasted. And I didn’t remember anything about Ocean Park except from the terrifying cable car, the Bayview restaurant, and the elaborate display of Bubble eye goldfish.
This time, I went on a really sunny day too and it was different this time because we weren’t interested in going on rides but rather, seeing everything Ocean Park had to offer. We saw the Sea lion show, which was cute. The sea lions were the equivalent of wet, big dogs. We also saw tonnes of jellyfish, sharks, rays, goldfishes and — pandas. They didn’t do much but everyone was like OOOH and AAAH and ‘TEEHEE it’s scratching it’s butt’. The most retarded thing I overheard was a conversation between two tourists – a girl telling her boyfriend that the panda wasn’t actually a panda, but a guy in a panda suit.
Yeah, like…totally…it’s a guy in a panda suit.
Random things I noticed in Hong Kong:
- There are no pigeons. …What? I’m serious!
- Sesame Street, Angry bird, Spongebob and Lady Gaga are really popular
- If restaurants are too busy, you can still sit down beside a random person at a table and eat
- There are no potholes in any road
- They love F(x). Almost every shop I went into was playing Hot Summer or Nu Abo
- They have funky chocolate/sweets for sale (Aji Ichiban store) . Everything’s so colourful and it makes you want to buy it or at least try it. I saw a Starbucks product called something along the lines of Vanilla Caramel Chocolate Cookie Dream Cream Frappucino (imagine trying to order that at the till). I also saw a Pocky box on sale the size of an A4 pad @___@ It cost 300+ dollars!
- When it rains, it often rains like rain at the Amazon rainforest!
- There’s no Costa, but plenty of Starbucks. I went to one in Langham place. Most expensive Hot Chocolate EVAH.
Downsides of the trip:
- The journey. I get really bad travel sickness, and I was sick twice on the way back. AHHH! So sorry, you didn’t have to know that (what is with me? I keep telling people things they don’t have to or needn’t know). It was 17 hours by plane on Emirates, about 13-14 hours on other planes. The 17 hours was not including the 3 hour wait inDubai. WHY DOES THE UK HAVE TO BE SO FAR AWAY FROM HONG KONG HNNNNNNHHHHHHHH.
- Jetlag during the first three days. I was half-asleep during the day and morbidly wide-awake during the night. I’m sure my eyebags have worsened.
- The fact we had to live akin to rats during our 2 weeks there. No TV, no proper food (lack of cooking utensils in the uninhabited second floor; we had to eat while out shopping) and no proper beds (because we were locked out of the only bedroom WTF!) and did I mention NO TV!!!!! D:<<<<<
- The lifestyle and people. I’m surprised by people from Hong Kong and their mannerisms. And the sales assistants!!! There’s no need to be so rude, hmph! And the lifestyle is too fast. I pissed off the 7-11 robot girl by S-L-O-W-L-Y taking out my purse from my bag and s-l-o-w-l-y counting my monies to see if I had the correct amount to pay for my Cup Noodle while a queue formed behind me.
- Manga is quite hard to find, and even when I did find a manga shop, it was a library and you had to rent it. Manga is more common than VCD shops, however. I think manga is rather unpopular now, but novels with manga-drawn covers are more ‘in fashion’ now.
- There are no VCD shops. Since I hadn’t been back to HK for more than 7 years, things have certainly changed. We found about 3 stores selling real VCDs and even then they were expensive as they were the licensed thing, and the selection were old, as in, they were selling VCDs of old movies back in the early 2000s. There were also no anime VCDs except from Doraemon, Shin-chan and Volume 3 of Samurai X (aka Rurouni Kenshin).
- Getting scammed. As much of an idiot abroad as I am (and my family, I suppose), we got scammed into buying this huge watermelon that was seemingly decades old at a market. We also got scammed outside Wong Tai Sin. That was not fun. Wong Tai Sin is the temple which I really wanted to visit and when we all went, we were stopped just a foot from the entrance by this old granny selling incense. My mum got three for all of us and when we got to the temple, we were surprised to see Policemen there telling us we weren’t allowed to bring in outside stuff, but in fact, we were only allowed to get it from the shops inside the Wong Tai Sin area. The extra thing was that there were already incense inside the temple from other people who also got scammed from the same granny. D’oh!
- PS. To the old scamming granny …You should be ashamed of yourself!!
- Going to the Avenue of Stars on a cloudy day. Worst photos ever, because the beautiful landscape of Hong Kongwith me grinning in the foreground was dull, grey and dark.
- The bugs. I got bitten on the bottom of the foot on the day of Ocean Park. It hurt like a bitch and I limped. I also got bitten on the back of the right calf, and it was HUGE and itchy. It’s still huge and itchy and my skin was swollen and turned rock hard, kinda like cardboard. Ewww….
Here are the stuff I got from Hong Kong-
1. ViVi Magazine
2. GameZone Magazine
3. A novel with a manga cover, Volume 3 (dont know what the title means, sorry)
3.a Same novel, but different cover (Volume 2)
3. b Same novel again, but different cover (Volume 1)
4. Another novel, called ‘Evil Prince Falls in Love’ LOL (that’s why I bought it xDDD)
5. Yet again, another novel, called ‘Song of the 2 Faced Prince’
6. Small magazine that came with Gamezone. Special feature was K-On
7. Popteen Magazine (magazine with plenty of gyarus)
8. Comic Fans (it’s like Shounen Jump only with shoujo)
9. Some random book on beauty
10. Phantom Black Magic Notebook School(Volume 1. Has a character that looks like Lelouch from Code Geass. It’s not even a manga! I was tricked by its pretty cover!)
11. Fans Magazine. All about Korean popstars with a free Jang Geun Suk poster
12. The Jang Geun Suk poster (squeee!)
13. Diamond Lash eyelashes and Magic Magic lashes
14. Dollywink Eyeliner and Eyelash #1
15. Rilakkuma stuff – notepads, stickers and pencilcase
16. Random notepads for writing ^___^
Here are pictures of the books up close (I put newspapers underneath it because the table was a little dirty):
This is the ‘Evil Prince Falls in Love’ book along with the goodies that came with it (a poster, a diary and these bookmarks):
And this is Phantom Black Magic School Notebook (loooooooong and ridiculous name) front and back cover; I thought that it was a manga book but it was actually a novel – it was wrapped in a thin plastic cover preventing you from opening it at the store TT_TT
Front and back cover of the ‘Song of Two-faced Prince’ novel:
If anyone wants close up of the other stuff, I don’t mind taking more pictures :)))
Overall, I really enjoyed my 2-week trip to Hong Kong. I’d love to go again, but I’m just put off by the long journey by plane because of my EXTREME travel sickness TT_TT I really did manage to go to a lot of places, but I had a curfew this time, which was 6.30pm because that was the last small bus schedule, otherwise, I’d had to get a taxi back into the haunted village and my mum didn’t want that because it’d be expensive – and all I can say is, we did a LOT of travelling in HK. By bus, by train, by subway train…
Hong Kong does have a lot of stuff. A lot more stuff compared to the UK anyway, which is really good, but when I went this year, half of the stuff seemed to have lost its magc. There were tonnes of kawaii stationery, and I guess I’ve grown out of that phase because I only got a few notepads and stuff, and concentrated on getting things that were rare in UK and would be beneficial for me. I really wanted to get more beauty products but we hadn’t the time.
A trip to Wanchai to get our identity card sorted out took a whole day!
Phew! Look at this enormous post all about my time in Hong Kong. All the places of interest/attractions I have managed to highlight (except from Disneyland, I didn’t go there), and I have also managed to highlight places for shopping, too. Let’s wrap this post up with another picture ^^