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Our location as of 10/2/2012

Madison, WI, USA
Last updated 10/2/2012
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Special Administration Region Recap: Hong Kong

Hong Kong truly is a world class city and I absolutely loved it. It reminded me of New York, except maybe cleaner and easier to get around. The public transport system there is amazing. It’s fast, clean, efficient, and easy to understand. I really think it’s the best public transport system in the world. (Well, maybe London’s is on par.)

It’s also a shopper’s paradise. We didn’t do any shopping, of course, but we did spend most of a stormy afternoon wandering around malls. In the central area, many of the buildings are connected by bridges or tunnels, so you can go all over the place without getting rained on. We were able to stock up on all our supplies and see The Hunger Games without ever going outside. (For the record: I thought The Hunger Games was a great movie.)

The food there is also among the best in the world, with the added bonus that you can find any cuisine you can imagine. Of course, you have to pay for it, but I think Hong Kong is more affordable than the other major cities of the world. (For example, we could easily find beers for around $6, or $4 during happy hours.) We ate burgers, falafel, hummus, noodles, steamed buns, and Hong Kong style French toast with kaya jam or peanut butter in the middle.

Our best meal, though, was with Sid and his wife Rad. Sid knows my Aunt Diane’s friend Barb, so he kindly agreed to have dinner with us one night. They took us to an awesome Thai restaurant in “Rat Alley” (just its nickname, I don’t think there’s actually rats there) and ordered dish after dish of delicious food. Everything they picked out was really good, but the fish we had for the main course was definitely the best. (Actually, maybe the mango and sticky rice dessert was the best. Too close to call.) But the company was even better than the food and I’m so glad we were able to meet up with them.

Then the good times came to an abrupt end and I got sick the day we left. Actually, I was already sick the day before, but it got really bad during our travel day. I’m still not sure if I had the flu or food poisoning. Regardless of what it was, it was not fun to have on two plane rides! At least I had been healthy for about two months. That’s probably a new personal record!

Top three experiences?

Nikki:

  1. When the weather finally cleared up and we were able to see the Hong Kong skyline from Kowloon. 
  2. Going out to eat with Sid and Rad. So nice and interesting, we really had a great night with them!
  3. Stopping in a random bar for happy hour. We were just walking by when I noticed all the people in suits sitting there with mugs of beer, eating peanuts and throwing the shells on the floor. When I saw that, I knew we had to stop. Beer, peanuts, good music, and hockey on TV–what a great afternoon!

Brad:

  1. The view of the city at night. The weather cleared enough to see the amazing skyline.
  2. Museum of History. Museums are usually a bit boring, but this one was very interesting, had some neat exhibits, and gave a great overview of Hong Kong.
  3. Wandering the streets of Central and Kowloon. Even though it was raining, it was still fun and interesting to see the tall buildings. I liked how the MTR was clean and very useful, the Octopus card, and how traffic was predictable.

Bottom three experiences?

Nikki:

  1. Rain and poor visibility, again.  I guess it is spring time….
  2. Our hostel. Not only was our room tiny and cell-like, we also had complete idiots staying there with us. Every time I went in the common room, there’d be some guy playing a guitar while someone else was saying something along the lines of, “I don’t like clean places, I like real places.” (Apparently Singapore is just a figment of our imaginations.)
  3. Getting sick. It started the day before we left and quickly went downhill on the day of our flight.

Brad: I can sum up all three with one word: rain. I wish we had better weather.

Best meal?

Nikki: The fish we had at Good Luck Thai.

Brad: The Thai restaurant, “Good Luck Thai,” on Rat Alley that Sid took us to. Delicious food. Why didn’t we get mango with sticky rice when we were in Thailand?

Worst meal?

Nikki: The wonton noodle soup. Not because it was bad, but because I’m pretty sure it made me sick. 

Brad: Our breakfast in the airport as we were leaving consisted of crackers. Nikki wasn’t feeling well.

Favorite person we met?

Nikki: Sid and Rad were the best!

Brad: Sid and his wife. They were great hosts, took us out to a great restaurant and we had a wonderful time.

Worst disaster?

Nikki: Getting sick at the end of our stint there.

Brad: The rain. 

Weirdest thing?

Nikki: Navigating with ease and never getting lost seemed pretty strange, especially after all our mishaps on the mainland.

Brad: Hong Kong dollars are printed and issued by banks. They also have different designs based on what bank printed them. On them, they say “(Such and Such Bank) promises to pay the bearer on demand at its office here one hundred Hong Kong dollars.” What if I went into the bank and asked them to pay me for this HK$100 bill? Would they give me another HK$100 bill back?

Statistics for Hong Kong

  • Days in the SAR: 3
  • Rainy days: 3
  • Photos taken: 122
  • Photos uploaded to SmugMug: 42, 34% of all photos taken
  • Geocaches found: 1

Statistics for the Trip

  • Days on the road: 234
  • Photos taken: 8834
  • Photos uploaded to SmugMug: 2071, 23% of all photos taken
  • Geocaches found: 14
  • Currencies used: 12

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