Hong Kong! (Day 1)

Welcome back to another belated post! This time, I will be writing about Hong Kong, which I went to wayyyy back in May for a Japanese string of holidays called Golden Week.

There are many reasons for this post being so late, some of which include Flickr removing their free auto uploader, and me dealing with some stuff, but I won’t get into that here!

SO! I visited Hong Kong with fellow high school ALT Justin!! We left for Hong Kong on the 30th of April from Nagoya using HK Express! Seats were tight but the flight wasn’t long so it was not that big of a deal. We got there late at night so we first set off to find our hostel, which ended up being a little more cramped and strange smelling than we would have liked (with some signs asking people to quit it with the animal feces in the elevator), but we got used to it.  On the plus side, the location was a 2 minute walk from the subway, we could check in super late, and we had our own room with a private shower/bathroom. For those wondering, we stayed with Yessin @ Fortress Hill!

First thing I noticed was how WARM it was. April was still pretty chilly in Japan, so the warm humidity was perfectly OK with me. :) It was great to wear shorts!!  Also, it was exciting to see yet another currency!! I am not sure if I got a shot of it, but I have some Hong Kong dollars laying around somewhere so I am sure I can snap a shot if I can’t find any.  Other than that, it was pretty much easy to get around! There was English signage for the most part, and more English speakers than in Japan, for sure. Although we did run into people that didn’t understand us, it was easy to travel here. :)  Also, speaking of travelling, they have a really cute-ly named card called the Octopus card, which you can recharge and use on most of the public transportation! The front is some colorful squares and a transparent infinity sign, which is a wasted opportunity to place a cute octopus on their cards, if you ask me.

Anyway, we got there pretty late so we ate some snacks and went to bed. The next morning, our first stop was a Dim Sum place called Tim Ho Wan (添好運).  It is known for being the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world, so we were excited to try it.  The line for it was kinda long but we went early enough to be able to get in without too long of a wait.

The line! It was also in a basement level of a mall, so it proved kind of difficult to find…
It took us a while to figure this out, but we realized that we had to check off what we wanted on a pink slip, and hand it to our waitress when they seated us to speed up the service.
It was a fairly small place!

When the food came I thought my soul left my body a little… While I definitely had my favorites, I could have eaten seconds, thirds, and fourths of almost everything if I only had the room. :) We liked this place so much that we came back on our last day to get takeout!!  The food came super quickly since we had ordered while we were standing in line, so it was a fairly quick meal.


I believe this was rice cake?
These barbecue pork buns were probably the best item on the menu… Hands down!!!!



Me with my barbecue pork buns ahhhhh! (JF)

After our delicious brunch, we walked around near the port and took the city in by foot. The weather was a bit overcast, and it was hot, but again, it was a welcome change from the chilly weather we had left behind in Japan! The following are just shots of our walk/exploration!


Ship leaving the port!


This blew my mind – bamboo scaffolding!!! I’ve seen a lot of scaffolding in New York before but it was always metal… I had not seen  anything like this before!
All the signs!
Little roadside shrine.


Beautiful art on a store side!
Just a side street. It was amazing how vertical and sloping Hong Kong was. So many sharply sloping streets, stairs, turns. It was insane.
Justin and I got tired so we stopped by a hispter juice bar and had a rest.

So! Although we were very relaxed in our wandering, we did have a destination in mind! We were walking through Sheung Wan heading to… PMQ!

PMQ is short for Police Married Quarters, built in the 1880s as a part of Queens College campus, then used as married quarters for police, and in 2014 it opened to the public and transformed into what it is today – a hub for creative arts, shops, classes, and events.  The campus is really beautiful to walk around, and on the day we visited, there was a French festival happening.


Entrance! There seemed to be a cafe here as well.



We found a piano painted white with plants growing out of the body! Unusable, but pretty cool. :)
This is what the building looks like. You can see that it used to be residences.
The festival! There was a lot of stalls with delicious French food! Including lots of cheese. :D
Alice in Wonderland wall art in progress at the festival!


After PMQ, we continued down the road to check out Man Mo Temple, which to our surprise was nestled right in the city neighborhood.  I think I was personally expecting to see like, expansive grounds.  It is one of the top tourist destinations in Hong Kong!

The Man Mo Temple is a picturesque tribute to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo), both of whom were worshipped by ambitious students looking to succeed in the civil examinations of Imperial China.


Once we got inside, I was blown away. I haven’t been in this kind of temple yet.  It was quiet, dark, and the air was heavy with incense.  The air inside was a bit smokey from the burning coils of incense, which only added to the magic.  I think what added to the magic was the contrast between the hectic city life outside the temple, and the muffled quiet inside it.






That last photo on the bottom right there reminded me of the little cabinets at the bathhouse that the spider dude used in movie, Spirited Away. :)

After we had appreciated Man Mo Temple and taken in the atmosphere, we headed out and walked around for a bit again. The area that Man Mo Temple and PMQ are in is called Sheung Wan, and has some cool spots(cafes, street art, street vendors, etc) to check out, as you can see from the following shots:


Road lined with street vendors selling all kinds of random things from jade bracelets to purses to notebooks…
Justin and his appropriately colored clothing :P



I love Mr. Bean. :D

We took it easy for the rest of the day and headed back home to plan the next!  So far we were really enjoying Hong Kong. :)

EDIT: Originally, I had an overview of day 2 below, but I decided that the picture load was too heavy for one post… so I moved it here instead! :)



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