14 October 2009

Hong Kong: Wrap-Up

Wednesday morning, all we did was pack up, check out, and take the fabled, historic tram (I swear, every single thing that I read mentioned it at least once!) to Victoria Peak. It was a totally touristy thing to do, and maybe it wasn’t as spectacular as touted, but it did provide a pretty amazing view of much of Hong Kong. Also, the area at the tram terminus has been incredibly built up to provide enough shopping and eating for about three days. The four of us actually did spend the better part of the day at a Pacific Coffee there, just chilling out and enjoying exploring one or two or three at a time so that at least one person could stay back with the luggage and we didn’t have to tote it around. We got lots of sorely overpriced, last-minute gifts and souvenirs there before finally finding our way to the subway back to China in the evening.

Once we made it to Shenzhen, we didn’t really have much in mind: we were hoping to get a room or two at a decent hostel for one night, but we were also prepared for everything to be full and to instead spend the night in the airport, waiting for our flight the next morning. After a very convoluted and confusing hour or two and with the generosity and helpfulness of many non-English-speaking foreigners, we finally arrived at what turned out to be a very nice and reasonable hostel, indeed. As neat as it would have been to explore, we were exhausted, so we divided up between the two rooms that we’d rented (with NORMALLY-SIZED beds, mind you) and went to bed. The next morning, we enjoyed a nice breakfast prepared on the premises before taking a taxi to the airport...only to find out that our flight had been delayed. For almost two hours. No matter - we made it back to Suzhou eventually. :)

All in all, my trip to Hong Kong was expensive but totally worth every penny. I got to see totally different cultures than those that I had previously experienced in the PRC. Hong Kong was very entertaining; I would recommend that everyone go at least once in his or her life - there is something there for everybody. I noticed that Hong Kong was cleaner, better lit, and seemingly busier than the mainland. It seemed more diverse, as well. On a somewhat random note, McDonald’s and 7-11s are EVERYWHERE. On the negative side, there were a lot of annoying hawkers, though the government apparently is (and has) cutting down on that, and prices are significantly higher than in the rest of China - no more $0.14 meals, that’s for sure! However, that is not to say that one cannot have a relatively cheap vacation there; lots of what I think are the best things to do are free, anyway. Aside from money, as mentioned, Hong Kong abounds with possibility to keep people of all ages and preferences amused: museums, shopping, beaches, Hong Kong Disneyland, beautiful views, and green space that is great for hiking and camping are all easily found. I could definitely see myself spending a longer amount of time there; there is so much left to discover!

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