Observations from Hong Kong, Kowloon and Macau

Hong Kong 20 dollar bills
In one week I found five different versions of the Hong Kong 20 dollar bill

Money in Hong Kong is very weird, with multiple versions of each bill issued by separate banks. At one point I had five different Hong Kong 20 dollar bills in my wallet.

The sign next to the line for Hong Kong immigration at the airport read, “Welcome to Hong Kong: A Level Playing Field for All.”

Even as far out as the airport, there are highrises as far as the eye can see.

It was impossible to walk down the streets of Kowloon without being approached by dozens of men selling fake watches, massages and custom tailored suits and dresses.

One guy trying to sell us a custom made clothing started out with no accent but then decided we must be from Australia and changed his voice to try and talk to us in an Australian accent.

Another guy trying to sell me watches tried to do so with a string of different ways of offering them. “Watches, fake watches, replica watches, cheap watches, you want watches, very good watches.” Then, after I ignored him he tried one last word: “hashish?”

Carrie and I at the Giant Buddha
Carrie and I at the Giant Buddha in Lantau

Upon arriving to Lantau we headed to the local bus to take us to the giant Buddha statue. The guy told us that we needed exact change and that we should go to 7-Eleven to get it. We did so, very quickly, but as we came out of the store we saw the bus pull away. What a jerk!

The Indians that try and get people to go to their restaurant in the lobby of Chungking Mansions are so determined that they often shove each other out of the way to talk to tourists.

The first guest house we stayed in at Chungking Mansions was so ghetto that the plug for the tv didn’t actually have a plug. Rather, the two wires were just stuck into the two holes on the wall. Amazingly, it worked.

ChungKing Mansion has a unique smell that is a mix of curry, sweat, garbage and decay. The AC unit in one hotel room was kind enough to pump this smell into our room.

Our bus leaving the giant Buddha broke down on the side of the road. Based on previous experiences, we figured we would either have to wait hours or hitchhike our way back to town. However, a new bus arrived within ten minutes. What amazing efficiency!

The most popular way to get around and to see the skyline is by ferry.

I saw a little boy on the street shooting a completely lifelike black plastic gun into a crowd and no one paid him any attention. If someone even took that out at home I feel like they would be tackled by police.

Signs all over the streets of Kowloon and Hong Kong
Signs all over the streets of Kowloon and Hong Kong

There is so so so much neon…everywhere!

After my guidebook said that I could get every type of bootleg movie and software for dirt cheap in Hong Kong, I purposely did not buy any from the countless shops at Bangkok’s MBK mall. Boy was this a mistake, as I couldn’t find my bootleg goods anywhere in Hong Kong. Damn you Rough Guides!

I had been told at one point that I could get a computer for dirt cheap in Hong Kong. However, after spending a day shopping and only finding older models at newer prices, I realized that maybe it’s a good deal for people from other countries but not for me. If I’m spending sticker prices, I at least want to get it from home with genuine Windows and a valid warranty. Oh well.

During our night out at the 7-Eleven and the bar, a guy standing next to me getting a drink told me that he was from Yemen and had come to Hong Kong to work for the Chinese Mafia. Who says that?!

I tried to explain to a bartender what a dirty martini was but it came out so sweet and wrong that I changed my order to a beer.

We sat down to eat at a vegetarian restaurant in Kowloon that closed at 11pm. We ordered at 10:30 and they immediately told us that we had to pay that second and turned off the AC as soon as we did.

Getting my palm read at the Kowloon Temple Street Market
Getting my palm read at the Kowloon Temple Street Market

I had my face and palm read at the Temple Street Night Market. The guy was scarily accurate.

Every store that sold DVDs or CDs had Michael Jackson blaring out of their speakers. I think I had You Are Not Alone in my head for days.

The HMV in Kowloon was selling tee shirts from the final Michael Jackson tour that will never happen.

A rat gnawed into a bag of food that we had in our hotel room and ate a bunch of bread as well as Carrie’s glasses case. Huh?

I can’t even count how many little old women bowled me over on the street or in the MRT subway.

At our guest house in Chungking Mansions, we always had ants in the bed. No clue why or where they came from.

The streets of downtown Hong Kong at night
The streets of downtown Hong Kong at night

People do Tai Chi in the park every morning and night. It’s very cool to watch.

There are hotels that rent by the hour all over Hong Kong.

On our last night in Hong Kong, I accidentally stuck my finger into a fan while trying to see if it was still on in the dark. It was.

Our last meal in Hong Kong was at a nice Indian restaurant.

After spending five nights in our hotel in Chungking Mansions and bringing them more business from Ben, Michelle and Karen, the owner tried to charge us more money for a crappier room when we returned from Macau.

We sat in the front seat atop a double decker bus to get to the airport in the early morning and had a great view of the city coming to life.