My non-stop flight from JFK to Hong Kong went smoothly considering that was the longest flight I've ever taken at well over 15 hours. I couldn't really sleep well on the plane and sheesh, halfway through, my tailbone hurt and my left knee was all sore from being in the same position that long. Oh, well, it still beats a layover, methinks.
I'm traveling with the largest backpack I could find that fits in the overhead, my thinking being I'll be able to bolt from the airport once I clear customs; I figure that should save me about 30 minutes at each of the nine airports into which I'll be flying. Actually, once I got to JFK, there was a pretty long line at Economy waiting to check in; I didn't see any kiosks to print boarding passes. I asked a worker if I'd have to wait on this line even without having any check-in baggage. She told me to go to Premium Economy, which had almost no line. So, it was nice saving half an hour to start the trip.
I got through customs pretty quickly in Hong Kong and didn't have to stand by those annoying luggage conveyor belts. How do you say "suckers" in Cantonese? I highly recommend taking the express train from the airport to town. It took only 20 minutes to get to Kowloon and it cost under $14. And taxis are pretty inexpensive; it cost me under $6 to travel just under three miles from the Kowloon station to my hotel. It sure doesn't hurt that the USD is pretty strong at $1 equaling about 7.75 HKD.
December 23-24, 2017
"I can't feel my legs...."
I went up to Victoria Peak via the tram on Garden Road. The wait was about 30 minutes, and the round-trip ticket of $12 also covers your entry to the top of the Sky Terrace, the nice observation deck that's got a bunch of shops and restaurants. "A bunch of shops and restaurants" is a recurring theme around here, which is mostly a good thing. It was really a terrific view. Can that haze really be smog?
Anyhow, after a few photos and videos, I took a walk east and hit another ultra-nice shopping mall or two. I eventually meandered to the Convention Center in the Wan Chai District where I boarded the ferry to Kowloon. It was maybe $3. That's a breathtaking view depending on what time of day you ride it, and in which direction you head. Because Victoria Harbor is wide, you get a nice panoramic view of HK and Kowloon. If the Hudson River were twice as wide, the little commuter ferries taking you to Midtown might offer a view of similar magnificence.
It's cool how the subway platforms are enclosed from the tracks, so it's two sets of doors that open up; it keeps the noise down.
December 26, 2017
"Funiculars, ferries and food, oh my!"
December 25, 2017
"Nobody goes to Hong Kong anymore because it's too crowded."
Holy smokes! I know it was Christmas Day, offices were closed, and tourists were out and about, but walking around town was not fun yesterday. Between the boyfriend with the anime haircut arm-in-arm with his girlfriend looking at their smartphones walking at a snail's pace, the family with the baby stroller all walking abreast, and the tourists with shopping bags stopping on the sidewalk to take selfies, it took me forever to get anywhere most of the day. Forget the selfie-stick...where's my b*tch-slap stick? Anyway, it was nice seeing locals and tourists feeling all festive. I just wish it were a little more spread out.
Be prepared to deal with jet lag if you fly to the other side of the world. I was exhausted by 7:30 PM local time (6:30 AM in NYC) and hit the sack after having only eaten one meal, my dim sum outing at one of the Tim Ho Wan locations. One meal?! Like that ever happens normally....
I didn't have too much sightseeing planned today since I decided last night at that musical extravaganza at London House to skip taking the ferry to Macau; I'll try to do that when I return in early February for three nights before heading back to NYC. So, my day was reserved for walking and a couple of restaurants I hoped would be very good. Thankfully, neither Hee Kee Crab General nor Yardbird disappointed.
While waiting to go to Yardbird for dinner at 6:00 PM, I walked to the waterside and took another couple videos of Victoria Harbor. I fly to Taipei tomorrow afternoon and should arrive early evening.
December 27, 2017
"I was told to try the peeing shrimp. Isn't that all shrimp?"
IMPORTANT: You ever fill out one of those customs forms during an international flight? I completed one en route to Hong Kong noticing this form had a carbon copy underneath. I didn't think much of it when the customs agent gave me the copy and waved me through; he also gave me this tiny receipt showing until when my stay in Hong Kong is allowed. Holy smokes, am I glad I saved them! The customs worker checking my creds as soon as I cleared security actually asked for both of those documents! She kept the carbon copy and gave me back the small receipt. Maybe I'll get a new one on my return to HK, but I think I'll continue to hold on to it, just in case....
December 28, 2017
"Ya know, I wasn't told to hold on to those papers!"