It was at around 10 in the morning when we arrived in Hong Kong, a cold and cloudy day. We intended to drop our luggage at our guesthouse in Tsim Tsa Tsui and then head to the docks for the boat ride to Macau, it turned out to be a very different day.
From the airport we took the train out to Tsim Tsa Tsui where our rooms were near the big-brand shopping malls on the right and the local scene if we went to the left. I thought it was a very strategic place for tourists wanting to explore Hong Kong on all angles, the train station was also just across the street.
I am in awe of the well-planned lines of the trains in Hong Kong, we were never delayed, I forgot how many lines there are and how deep their subway was, it was at least 5 floors below the ground.
When we got to the guesthouse, we were surprised and relieved that the person keeping the place spot-clean was a Filipina. We got situated well and she explained the rules and of the place, shortly after her Hong Kong national employer came in. And me being the curious one for information (since I took up Journalism in college) I whispered to her and asked if she was being treated well, and she answered yes – Good for her, I know others aren’t treated as well.
We were 9 in the group and of course, I get to have the single room, my moment of peace and quiet when I finally closed the door and looked outside the foreign country I was about to explore. Rooms in Hong Kong are quite small, so imagine me having to go through those tight alleys, Jollibee’s comfort room was actually bigger than my room.
Just after dropping our bags and checking the room, it was time to get lunch. We wanted something authentic so we didn’t look for tourist restaurants, we went to the sidestreets to find some hole in the wall food place, and sure enough, we had one.
While it is not my first time in Hong Kong (My first was in 2006 with the family) I’ve somehow lost all memory and senses of the place, and during that time we were in a tour so we never really had the chance to explore the cities.
I ordered a wanton noodle soup, the basic soup, so that I could really compare it to what we have in the Philippines. I must say, the first sip of the soup brought me to the little town in Manila called Binondo. I was astonished at the authenticity of the food I eat in the hole-in-the-wall places in Binondo whose owners came straight outta China. The difference between Hong Kong and in Binondo is that I can take my time eating in Binondo, the manager in Hong Kong kept saying not to take photos.
Maybe it’s a cultural difference that it’s not because they don’t want their food taken, but it’s more of they don’t want to waste time, I found this to be true because after we finished our food, we were sent out immediately to the counter to pay, the manner they sent us out wasn’t entertaining, we were like stray dogs being kicked out, that wasn’t nice.
And so as scheduled, we went to the port to get tickets for the boat ride to Macau. But due to an unfortunate event, we had to change plans.
What happened was that when we got there, all tickets were sold out. But the bad thing was that scalpers bought all the tickets to sell to tourist for double the price. It was being sold at $50 for a one way ticket, that was too much for us and we decided that we weren’t going to go through it and instead just tour the city for the rest of the day, I guess we have to come back someday for Macau.
So we started walking aimlessly, the couples went into the big brand shops that were cheaper there than in Manila, as for me, I strolled up and down the streets of Hong Kong, while looking at the map we stumbled upon a space called Kowloon Park, we went in there and walked and walked, our feet were starting to hurt at this point that whenever we found benches, we would take a break and mind our feet.
I guess it was also kind of a blessing in disguise that we didn’t get to Macau because we discovered a lot of places in the city that we would later come back in the coming days. Watch out for the next blogs about our Hong Kong trip, I’ll leave you with a slideshow of photos from the first day out.