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May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2010-09-20 10:36
Subject: Back
Security: Public
Well, we're back from our trip.

And our conclusion is, that while we loved Australia, we really, really want to go back to Hong Kong. HK is an assault on the senses, a distillation of a country, the closest to a three dimensional territory I've ever visited. By the end of our three days there, Australia seemed a distant memory.

And goodness, it can be cheap. We did breakfast one morning for $41 the pair of us. That compares to a hotel breakfast in Melbourne running to $56 for two people. Now consider the current rate of 1 AUD = 7.35 HKD. (Yes, I'm comparing a café price with a hotel price. Even so - that's £3.39 for breakfast in a shopping mall.)

And our room?

The 68th floor, with floor to ceiling glass along two sides, a circular glass-walled shower from which that magnificent view could be seen (modulo steam), and 5 star service (to the extent that when we reported an unlockable room-safe to the reception desk, housekeeping beat us to our room)(the door had been left ajar, but with the lock engaged - it took housekeeping twenty seconds to reboot the lock).

The slight downside to the room was the fact that our ears popped every time we went up to it. Two lifts - one from the ground floor up to level 41, the second from level 41 to floors 62-77. The whole thing glittering glass and steel and marble, polished within an inch of its life. And the price per night for a double room? £50.

By the end of our trip, we were sucking our teeth at things costing $30, forgetting that that's the equivalent of £2.50.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2010-09-20 11:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh yes.

I'm not sure how vegan friendly the place is - we only noticed one restaurant that was specifically vegan - but possible dietary issues aside, it's abloodymazing.

You'll end up doing a lot of walking. The metro is very modern and efficient, but the downside of having 8-car tube trains that carry 1000+ people is that the platforms are also pretty long, which means longer interchanges (though some of them have travellators). It did seem on occasion that a whole subsurface stratum is comprised of underground stations. Since the surface of much of HK Island is 20 - 25 story apartment blocks, the population density is very high, and the public transport system needs to be able to shift huge numbers of people.

Our hotel was right out in the New Territories, about 6 stops from Kowloon (and Kowloon is one stop from HK Central), but once we worked out the route that didn't involve walking the streets, but instead took the aerial bridges, it was fine.

HK is a bilingual city. How bilingual it is depends on where one is - there are times when you point and nod, and other times when you'll get an undergraduate-level explanation on the properties and history of jade (for example). There are still 5 cent coins with Brenda's head on. And the HK 'Oyster' is the 'Octopus'.

Every evening at 20:00, there is a ten minute light show (best viewed from Kowloon) when all those tall buildings on HK island light up, to music.

We'll be going back, once we've saved up the money again (so maybe 2012). Getting in is certainly much less faff than entering the US - just fill out the landing form with name, address, passport number and destination, and that's it. None of this finger printing or iris recognition stuff.
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kit
User: mizkit
Date: 2010-09-20 12:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
None of this finger printing or iris recognition stuff

I tell you, if I was not a US citizen, I'm not sure I'd ever go there. I find that all infuriating...
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2010-09-20 14:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My sister became a US citizen mostly to stop having to deal with that hassle. On one occasion, she was held on entry at Orlando Airport for several hours, despite the fact it was actually her place of work!

I regret that the UK Border Agency is also prone to this sort of stupidity.
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Sheep with a guitar
User: sbp
Date: 2010-09-21 14:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I don't. I think they have one thumb print.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2010-09-21 14:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I did one pair of trips (coming home in the middle for a weekend) a few years back, at which point I got printed.

Mind you, the Japanese also have my prints, from 2007. For some reason, I'm less worried about them having it.
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Christer "Mort" Boräng
User: khrister
Date: 2010-09-20 14:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ok, now I want to go there even more. Damn it!
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2010-09-20 14:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Heartily recommended. Except to those with vertigo problems - it does tend to the third dimension more than anywhere else I've been.
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desperance
User: desperance
Date: 2010-09-20 16:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Damn. When you go back, can I come too?
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2010-09-20 20:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Why sure.

You'll have to pay for your own bed, of course, and I'm not sure we can hide you in our suitcases, but yes.
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Sheep with a guitar
User: sbp
Date: 2010-09-21 14:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm going to have to go back there just to see what it's like now aren't I? When I was there last the metro hadn't been built yet, and you could see the hills of China from Kowloon, instead of a special economic zone full of even more skyscrapers. OK, I was 7...
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2010-09-21 14:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
One of the things blocking that view will be our hotel (aka 如心廣場). Which is just visible in the distance from Victoria Peak.
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