Sunday, August 10, 2014

Hong Kong Hustle

Well, I got the next chapter of my life as a traveling/expat blogger off to a great start Friday before I left Hong Kong, but wherever will I go from such a fantastic beginning?  I guess I could whine some more by way of telling you about my posh digs at the Chungking Mansions. When I realized I was actually going there a week ago, I ignored my electronic copy of Lonely Planet Hong Kong and went to Hotels.com instead, sorting the results by price, and came up with a room at the New China Guesthouse for $28/night.  I was pretty sure at that point it was not going to be the most comfortable stay I'd ever - I had read something somewhere (in LP, it turned out) about the Chungking Mansions - but I figured it would be interesting, if nothing else, and it was pretty conveniently located in Kowloon, so I went for it.

I wandered through the ground floor, looking for the D Block elevators and growing more and more annoyed with the touts.  Eventually I found it, and after waiting what seemed like a couple of hours for my turn to be crammed into the tiny lift stopping at the odd-numbered floors, I got to my guesthouse, where I was shown to room M by an African dude, the only person at "reception" the whole time I was there.  Room M was smaller than a car, with a wall-unit air conditioner that trickled cool air out and a ceiling fan that you couldn't turn up above 3 unless you were willing to take your life into your own hands.  The lock seemed dubious, so I didn't leave anything of value in my room, which was kind of annoying because I had to remember to keep my outside zipper locked and a couple of times a day I had a mild panic attack when I questioned whether or not I had put my phone AND my Nook back in my bag. Room M did have a dinky private bathroom going for it which gave me nostalgic memories of my time in Korea thanks to the shower head installed above a toilet that didn't properly flush (a fact that I didn't realize until after I'd made my first "deposit").  There was, at least, hot water, but Hong Kong was so bloody hot that I only ever took cool showers.

I'm sure it wasn't the worst place I've ever stayed, but I can't think of anything to top it with at the moment.  I should have taken photos, but I don't really take pics of hotels, so you'll have to take my word for it.
Hong Kong was not a total gong show though. I did do some worthwhile sightseeing - the first day I was there I found these charming signs on my way to Man Mo temple.  I've been in Asia long enough that I shouldn't giggle over stuff like this, but it just never gets old.  And I guess that's enough of that - I'll get around to the real tourist attractions in my next post.

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