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Causeway Bay to Kowloon Tong and back again - Tactical Ninja

Jan. 16th, 2011

02:34 am - Causeway Bay to Kowloon Tong and back again

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Today I decided that Hong Kong is just a giant computer game. You get on the train and wait around while they show you shiny pictures of fantasy-like worlds, then you pop out and you're in a completely different place, pretty much like entering an instance in WoW.

I am now a Level 2 lightrailmancer, and I have no idea of the geography. I have, however, learned the Chinese pictograms for "exit" and "don't do (whatever the following pictograms mean)". I think I've almost sussed "coffee" as well.


This morning I woke up at 3am but managed to go back to sleep and stay asleep till the decent hour of 8ish. Nothing really opens before 10 here so there's not much point getting up early. We goofed around in bed for a while then went and had adventures!

But first, here's a picture of a poster in the lobby of this apartment building. It's telling people how to take precautions against burglars climbing up bamboo scaffolding and nicking their stuff. Included is not leaving valuables at home. All the windows have bars on the inside. Joel thinks it's to stop things falling out and killing people in the street, but it might be to stop the strangely-European-looking bamboo-climbing burglars:



Anyway, the day went like this:

Coffee at a westernised coffee shop that had Classic Hits of the 80s playing on an endless loop.

Going around Ikea. Shut up, I've never been to Ikea and Joel is about to move house and I'm trying to suss out what it'd be like to live here so it's relevant. I was amazed by the Hong Kongians' ability to make everything compact, and some of the cool ideas for storage in limited space. Like, doing away with knobs on drawers, and building beds that are on stilts so they are like a mezzanine floor and you can put living space under them. It seems to me though, that all of this is mostly just to make room for having a giant TV.

Then we went on the train and popped out in Kowloon Tong which is where Joel's work is. We went there and he didn't do any work. Then lunch in the biggest food court I've ever seen, where I learned the difference between Chinese chopsticks and Japanese ones, and failed to drink my coffee because it was too foul. There was an ice skating rink in this mall, along with 6 or 7 levels of shiny shops screaming BUY BUY BUY at people.

Then we went to Joel's new house, which would fit in our lounge at home in its entirety but has been freshly done up and is really nice. I'll be helping him move while I'm here and have been half-pie offered plant selection duty. Here is the view out of his window:



That's the Ladies Market and it's true that the way to find Joel's house is to turn left at the table full of bras! As you can see, the neigbours don't keep their roof tidy and folks hang their washing out the windows to dry.

There was measuring, since beds here don't come in standard sizes and the rooms are tiny so it's important to buy one that will actually fit.

After this we went to the flower market where they have all the orchids in the world, and are preparing for the Chinese New Year by selling loads of jonquil bulbs, mandarin trees and 'lucky bamboo' shoots, which you stick in a vase and they grow and look pretty. They also have these at the Crofton Downs Woolies, but in pots. I will be revisiting this place later in my trip as part of plant duty.

We also visited the bird market which sells birds and bird cages. There are hundreds of these stalls full of birds in cages, and all the jackdaw-like ones were saying "Hello" to us as we walked past. Beats me why all these Hong Kong birds are greeting me in English..

Speaking of weird things, I'm getting accustomed to being stared at, and then when I look back the person pretends they weren't looking. It's probably a politeness thing but it's disconcerting. One person even took a picture of me and then tried to pretend he hadn't. You see in Wellington, having unnatural coloured hair is nothing out of the ordinary. I still get comments about it but I don't get stared at. So far here, I've not seen another person with pink/green/blue or purple hair. I'm a novelty and it's weird.

Tonight we decided to go out for posh dinner (last night's was cheap n cheerful local fare, very tasty and about $15 each for more than we could eat). I wanted to see the giant escalator so we went up that (it's GIANT!) to the top and discovered there's nothing up there but a road, so then we had to walk all the way back down - the escalator only goes up - but it goes up about 2km. On the way back down we found a steak house called Comida Grill and had dinner there. It was good - they know how to cook steak and I'd recommend it for those times when you're hankering for a Western meal. I suspect it exists for that market. We paid a premium on NZ prices for the steak but hey, it's been a few months and we were the first ones there so they played us cheesy love songs and everything.

I also noticed that the higher up the hill we went, the more European faces there were. Accordingly, the higher the prices in the restaurants and the real estate agent windows. After spending a day being stared at by local Asian folk for my pink hair, I got to spend the evening getting stared at by local European folk for my hair as well.


Now we are back home and I'm knackered. Tomorrow, I'm told, is the day that all the cleaners, maids and labour workers have off. Which means the streets will be even busier.

Now if you'll excuse me I have a nice boy to cuddle.

Comments:

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From:tatjna
Date:January 16th, 2011 04:05 am (UTC)
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You should have seen Joel's face when I read that last bit out to you.

Also, he is not wearing pants.
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From:wildilocks
Date:January 15th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
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I am inordinately amused that there is IKEA in Hong Kong, but not in NZ. And that you went there :) (I'm quite a fan of IKEA btw)

I try to tone my hair down a bit when I go to asia because I get tired of the stares, but TBH, you'll get stared at no matter what colour your hair is, if you go rural enough: there's no escape being a white female. I believe blondes can actually get the most disconcerting attention, because in many places (esp India), it is assumed if you specifically have blonde hair, then you are a prostitute and it's okay to grope you (yes, for reals.)

Hope you have more awesome adventures! :D
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From:tatjna
Date:January 16th, 2011 04:06 am (UTC)
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Today I have decided to embrace my novelty value by adding the coat I got from Wildilocks - especially since it's cold. If I'm gonna get stared at I might as well lap it up and brazen it out.
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From:wildilocks
Date:January 17th, 2011 03:53 am (UTC)
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Whee!! Hey you may as well go all the way :)
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From:rivet
Date:January 15th, 2011 10:18 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the commentary! I wasn't expecting much, so I'm quite pleased to hear these tidbits.

I'm also an ikea fan ;)
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From:tatjna
Date:January 16th, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
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I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've travelled

a) with a laptop
and
b) to somewhere that has internet instead of lions and/or scorpions.

I'M IN A CITY! O.o

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From:poor_toms_acold
Date:January 16th, 2011 04:01 am (UTC)
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Hee I recognised the Ladies' Market just from the photograph! I love Hong Kong, I want to go back.
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From:danjite
Date:January 16th, 2011 08:00 am (UTC)
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Our house in Thailand got burgled through the bars. They used bamboo rods and loops of fishing line and stole everything that could fit through the bars- while we slept upstairs.

Loving your trip!

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From:victoria7
Date:January 16th, 2011 11:52 am (UTC)
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Yay! This is great! I've never known anyone who is in Hong Kong on the internets. :-) I'm feeling like, more, more, more!

I can't wait to read what happens next and I'd love to see the inside of the apartment.

Can you snap a picture of someone snapping a picture of you?
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From:tatjna
Date:January 16th, 2011 11:56 am (UTC)
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Hee! I never thought of that, I'll try to catch someone at it but I can't do anything here without being noticed.

Also, I will take a pic of the apartment - this one is tiny so I might have to climb out the window to do it, but the new one hasn't any furniture yet and might be easier to photograph. Moving will require us to take suitcases full of stuff on the train. Well, um, three trains. It will be an adventure!
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From:victoria7
Date:January 16th, 2011 12:04 pm (UTC)
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My friend, Anna, tells tales of moving via taxi in NYC. Crazy! But also, sounds fun.

Someone recently started dressing in costume for moves and I pretty much think that this is the best idea ever. :-)
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