Today I found out that Hong Kong is the only country that you can say without moving your lips or tongue. This may or may not be true but I love random trivia. I’m not exactly sure if Hong Kong is actually a country. It depends on how you define a country. Hong Kong certainly has its own political and economic system. While undoubtedly heavily influenced by China you don’t really feel as though you’re in China while in Hong Kong.
As expected public transport in Hong Kong is excellent. I’ve built up quite a collection of transit cards from various cities. Most have a fairly unimaginative name. Hong Kong uses the Octopus Card. This has overtaken Melbourne’s Myki Card as the most expensive piece of plastic I’ve ever purchased. An Octopus Card will set you back over £5 and that’s without any credit on it.
My hostel had a slightly unusual setup and wasn’t the easiest place to find. It was housed in a high-rise building that contained everything from tailors, massage establishments, language schools, a few other hostels, as well as private apartments. I’d imagine that the hostel itself was probably once an apartment. There was a reception/lounge room, a bathroom, two bedrooms and that was it. Squeezed into each bedroom were three triple-decker bunk beds. I had a middle bunk which was literally half way up a window. Naturally there were no blinds or curtains across the window. Any wardrobe malfunctions and my arse would have been in full view of the hundreds of windows in the next building, which was almost in touching distance. My old flat was probably bigger than this entire 18-bed hostel. I suppose that is a reality of living in Hong Kong where space is at a premium.
A nice trade-off of staying in shoe-box sized accommodation is that the location was great. I was in a bit of a quandary whether to stay on Hong Kong Island itself. Instead I opted for Kowloon, just across the harbour. The hostel was right in the thick of the action on Nathan Road. Here are almost endless amounts of shops selling electronics, clothes and pretty much anything else you can think of. I must have been asked about six times a day by the same man outside the hostel about whether I wanted to purchase a tailored suit. There’s also a large amount of pharmacies in Hong Kong. Apparently a lot of people come from mainland China to obtain western medication in Hong Kong, where such items can be difficult to come by back home.
Another major advantage of staying in Kowloon rather than Hong Kong Island is the classic view you get of the Hong Kong skyline. About ten minutes walk from the hostel is a promenade area which is a nice place for a stroll. Unfortunately Hong Kong seemed to be in a permanent sate of haze during my stay. This made taking decent photographs almost impossible.
I clearly hadn’t been consuming enough gin and tonics in the Philippines to keep the mosquitoes at bay. At the weekend I ended up with some of the nastiest bites I’ve ever received. I had four extra nipples across my chest that were larger than the real ones. A bite on my arm seems to have had a nasty reaction and has ballooned up a bit. Today I had to treat it with some antihistamines and steroids and be incredibly careful to avoid infection. In case my mother sees the picture it’s fine now, although healing took almost a month.