Notes from Hong Kong
I was in Hong Kong for four days and I felt I did a lot. I did a couple tours, which were pretty different than some of the normal tours I did. These felt like they focused less on the sightseeing and more on the behind the scenes story about Hong Kong. One was a tour about Hong Kong and Chinese relations. Another was a tour about housing issues in Hong Kong. Both really interesting.
Here was one day of what we did:
– Big John restaurant for breakfast
– Hong Kong History museum
– Monster building
– Arabia coffee shop next door
– Mak’s noodles
– Mammy pancake (egg waffle)
– Horse race
So that was a lot. The “monster building” is just a nickname for the building complex called Yick Cheong Building. It turns out it’s a very instagrammable spot so there are lots of tourist taking photos. The area is grungy, but randomly there is a very fancy coffee shop there. I wonder if this coffee shop was an secondary outgrowth of the Instagram-tourist traffic to this location. Who knows.
At night went to the horse racing, which was very fun. We went with a group from the hostel. I lost the group for a while… and had no way of finding them but luckily through a chain of calls back to the hostel I found them. And I got very lucky, on the first race, I won a bet on a horse with around 20:1 odds.
We went to a spot called Mammy Pancake, which had several Michelin street food signs hanging on the outside. And it had a big line. It was an egg waffle. It reminded me of a combo of a crepe and a waffle. Pretty tasty as a dessert.
From a few recommendations I went to a restaurant called Yardbird which was a very good chicken yakitori restaurant.
Went to the Victoria Harbor at night, which is a cool skyline. And then we took a ferry across.
Another sightseeing spot was the Victoria Peak… which was a bit of a bust when I went there because it was so foggy. It got even foggier after I got there to the point where you could not really see anything.
So the metro card in Hong Kong is called the Octopus Card. You can use it for the metro and the bus, but then also to pay in various restaurants and shops. It is a contactless card, and actually I would say is the fastest payment method I have seen so far in any country.
So the housing tour: we walked through a couple markets first. One was a bunch of goldfish shops, then a flower market. Also walked by a Chinese medicine shop. The things they sell there just sound absolutely gross, I don’t know that they actually have medicinal properties or they just are a tradition?
So the guide on the housing tour talked a bit about some of the issues with housing in Hong Kong. It reminded me quite a bit about the housing issues in San Francisco. One part was that he talked about how the Hong Kong government wants to present this very nice, fancy, clean front to tourists and people who visit, yet the housing issues is something that is both widespread and it tries to hide.
One part is just that there are a lot of people who live in Hong Kong, and so prices are high and places are small. However, it sounds like this gets taken to an extreme in some places, with what is called coffin houses and cage houses. You may have a 100 square foot apartment with 4 people living in it. But even smaller you may have a coffin house or cage house which essentially is a closed off area which is like one part of a bunk bed, where you keep all of your possessions. And then some people live in sort of huts on top of the roofs of many buildings.