My friend Kate asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted to join her for a long weekend trip to Hong Kong to see some of her old friends and celebrate Halloween. I didn’t have an excuse not to go, I have four day weekends, and we found decently priced airplane tickets, so it was a GO.
We flew to Shenzhen and took a bus service from Shenzhen to Hong Kong. (Our flight took off late from Kunming because “飞机坏了”– they literally announced that the plane was “broken”… not a good start. Everything from then on was smooth sailing.)
We stayed with two of Kate’s friends back from her days in Chengdu (who now live in HK). They have a cozy bachelor pad in an excellent location (Mid-levels), and were more than happy to host us and another friend who was also visiting for the weekend.
The highlight of the weekend was Saturday night, the designated night out for Halloween, when tons of people crowd into a small bar district in ridiculous costumes. We put a lot of planning and effort into our costumes as Snow White, the Evil Witch and the seven dwarves.
Let me take a moment here to say that Hong Kong is AWESOME. I was so impressed by the city. My last trip to Hong Kong was when I was eight and my family fled Beijing for some tropical heat and fun at Ocean Park. I don’t really remember much from that trip, but I do remember that it was a welcome respite from Beijing, and that it was amazing being able to pick out some presents from Toys’R’Us! Now, as a 24 year old, I saw the city through different eyes, but it still holds a magical allure. I think it literally has everything that I could want in a potential place to live– great food, amazing transportation, convenient shopping, breathtaking beaches, mountains, buildings, lots of character, tons of diversity, Chinese characters everywhere and English too! It’s such an amazing mix of East meets West, and after I got over the sticker shock (HK$40 for one apple?!?!) I felt at home. I definitely can’t wait to go back sometime, but first I need to get a Hong Kong-appropriate salary. My mainland money didn’t stretch very far in one of the most expensive cities in the world….
Being in Hong Kong also made me realize how much I am ready for my time in mainland China to come to a close. I can’t wait to live in a place where random acts of kindness (and consideration) are commonplace, where I don’t inhale a pack of cigarette’s worth of secondhand smoke everyday, where I can check Facebook freely and read foreign newspapers. I almost bought an International Herald Tribune in print from a street side stand, just because I could. Then I decided I should save my money for more important things… like tortellini, falafel, avocado salad, draft beer and other decadent treats for my tummy 😉