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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gone and back again : Of HK and Macau

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Just came back, after a 30 min delay at the airport, then another 45 min delay inside the plane. A day of delays, not sure why. So how was my trip? I was so tired by the 2nd day I was literally crying. My feet really really hurt. HK is hot, but cooler than KL although it rained everyday. I had some great food, was staying at Kowloon and basically had a great time despite the rain. Their taxi drivers are very very professional and we can really learn from their MTR and LRT concepts; big towns, MTR, smaller towns, LRT. And whoeever says Yuen Long is village must be thinking of another Yuen Long. The Yuen Long I saw was HUGE although old. However it was very charming, the LRT station right in the middle of a busy street and frankly the moment I stepped off the LRT I fell in love with Yuen Long. For once I could see the skyline without hurting my neck and though old, it was full of character. And the people were much friendlier.

Not that HK people are rude. Not at all! But they're not very approachable but exceedingly efficient. The only HK people I didn't like was the civil servants; in particular the immigration officers, ironically the first people you see when you enter the country. You want friendly HK people? Try 7-11. They have 7-11 everywhere! Love the Coca-Cola Slurpee! Super awesome! Anyway, excellent taxi drivers, love the LRTs, the food for the most part were excellent with the best Chee Cheong Fun I have ever had with some very cheap but delicious soy sauce chicken wings (3 for HKD12 - where to find?!). Yes HK sounds expensive, but the food aren't expensive at all if you aim for the smaller establishments. The taxi sounds expensive but HKD18 can get you a long way. HKD7 for one large slurpee. For me, the price is ok because if you compare to Malaysia, their portion is double ours. Their one wanton is 3 times our size. No need to even ask big, small, etc. They do eat a lot by the way.

But the hotel room was super small. I am now prepared for my Tokyo hotel room. It was so small, I nearly tripped over my baggage and guess where I fell? Either the TV or the bed. It was THAT small.

I also went to Macau for 2 days, 1 nights. Room 3 times the size, so it was good. Everywhere is casino. Frankly I had no feel for Portugese architecture and worse, their street names are either in Chinese OR in Portugese. Do they know Portugese?! The weather was terrible. It was not just hot, it was like having the hot sun following you everywhere. I got sunburnt. And there was no wind, none at all. If Tokyo is this hot, I will die. The pork chop bun was excellent, the milk dessert was super excellent but the rest was expensive and smaller portion. They don't have subways,not that I can see but they have efficient bus service and let's just say they're not rude, but totally and utterly indifferent. If tourism is their 2nd main business (casino being the first), they need to buck up. We specifically asked the bus driver to just inform us when our destination has arrived and guess what? Never inform, missed 2 stops. HK at least have notices, etc. Why can't they just install some announcement devices in the bus? For me seen one structure, seen them all. And if I wanted to see, I can go to Melaka and I never enjoyed Melaka. Frankly I had a terrible time, I hated Macau, the novelty with casinos just ran out after I've seen 2 casinos.

When I went back to HK for 1 final night, I was so happy. I feel I could really live in HK, and if I do, I will want to live in Kowloon since it is so quiet but near the busy Mongkok or better yet, Yuen Long even if everything is old.

By the way I walked in I can't remember which street, Miu Kai? Anyway I saw stalls after stalls selling sex toys! And I saw people buying and the sellers so professional!

As for toilets, HK exceeds my expectations. Our cleanest toilets is I suppose at Gardens Midvalley BUT their usual toilets are cleaner than that! Dry, no smell, always there's the toilet paper there, cool. The toilets... wow. Even the Miu Kai public toilets was not the cleanest, but to me very clean! Even got classical music playing in the toilets!

Anyway what I can remember of this probably last trip to HK?

LRTs. I love the LRTs.

Food! Excellent!

Iced Lemon Tea, the best there is.

Coca-Cola slurpee!

Kowloon, quiet but charming.

Talllllllllllllllllllll buildings, even the top is covered in mist!

excellent taxi drivers.

Protests everywhere. Who says HK people is not vocal politically and socially? Very very vocal.

And Yuen Long. My best memory is Yuen Long. I just love that place.

Some pictures of some food and some other stuff.

FOOD!
Food ordering can be very confusing in HK, especially in big restaurants, with their many types of specials, prices, hours, etc. And many forms to fill and mostly all in Chinese. The captains weren't helpful in that regard, and some waiters can't even speak proper cantonese, which surprises me but then I suppose not all speak fluent cantonese.



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COCA-COLA SLURPEE!!
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STAR GAZING
Didn't see one star at all at any place, in person.


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Martin Yan (L), Chow Yun Fatt (R)
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Louisa So (L), wall of pictures (R)

All at a restaurant in Yuen Long



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The very young Tam Pik Wan, at Heritage Museum, quite a fun place



FUN STUFF!
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Harry Potter stamping thingy


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Harry Potter "Diagon Alley" display at Times Square. Got more pictures but lazy to upload. Quite possibly one of the fun-nest place to be in. There was a hogwarts train outside the shopping complex. So many people, and some girls even dressed up for the occasion although they would have been expelled from Hogwarts for dressing that way. They were giving away free movie postcards but alas, by the time I got there, all finished. And yes, I was probably the oldest lining up for the stamping thingy.

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Liza Wang

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Looked very carefully at the poster, huge mistake "Surtitles"? I swear I saw "No Hawing" on  a sign in a major MTR station

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Mahjong centre at Temple Street

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HK night view. Why so blurry? Because the taxi was going really fast!



6 comments:

  1. Funn,
    Welcome back! Loved your post about your HK trip... Hehe thought you were going there for the food. You mentioned noodles and mostly the drinks. Did you try to dim sum there?

    I loved the dim sum in Hong Kong. New York has pretty good dim sum chefs, but Hong Kong has more variety of course. It appears that people eat around the clock. I loved the street food choices and simply shopping and eating everything that is appealing to the eyes.

    I was at Temple Street and didn't notice the sex toy shops you mentioned. I was there 5 years ago. Temple St seems more catered to tourists now because the merchandise they sell inside the stalls are not that cheap compared to other places.

    I didn't go to Yuen Long or Macau. I did spend one slow day in Cheung Chau. My favorite memory of HK are the beaches in Stanley. I love being near the water, since many parts of NYC can feel like a concrete city and you have to make effort to see some natural scenery.

    I was most impressed with HK's modern skyline amidst the lush mountains and water views. Simply beautiful. I would love to live there.

    HK was hot, but if you dodge into any of the nearby malls and the trains have very strong air conditioning, to the point where I got cold inside. I took mostly the train and didn't take taxis. Loved the night atmosphere and shopping everywhere.

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  2. Jayne,

    Yes I tried dim sums. Didn't feel like writing so much. But basically I tried

    - dim sum and the likes (One Dim Sum was excellent, after all 1 star michelin! The chee cheong fun was awesome. I tried another one, har gau, excellent. One more very famous in Yuen Long but sucks!)

    - roasted pigeon. didn't like it, texture like duck and I don't like duck

    - goose - excellent

    - char siew (not good), siu yoke (excellent) and the likes

    - Yuen Long's famous "Bucket food"? Poon Choi? Excellent and so much we can't finish since we have so few people. Could feed 14 people

    - Wanton mee- the famous one where the chef uses bamboo to make the noodle

    - tong sui (dessert) - excellent!!!

    - shanghainese food - excellent!! and darn cheap

    - soy sauce chicken wings - HKD12 for 3!!

    - soup noodle - don't know how to say the name of the noodle but not the mee or mihun type - excellent and very healthy

    - famous TPK restaurant, expensive but the is it souffle? Anyway huge.

    - macau tried pork chop bun (excellent), milk dessert (like those egg dessert but this one is milk? Anyway I liked milk better than egg-egg a bit too much egg), portugese food (darn expensive)

    And some small stuff.

    Basically most food are great although their fried noodle are all very oily. The rice is better, I can eat many bowls. I took some pics of the some food only, I will post them up. Wanted to take all but too busy eating, forgot to take!

    And I went to Harry potter display at Times Square. A dream come true, but too many people.

    So Miu Kai is temple street? I was so surprise so FEW people there. Maybe not late enough? Maybe because it was raining earlier? Not much tourists too. But yes, sex toys. Too shy to even look!

    My sis went to Stanley, I didn't. I don't need to see their beaches since Malaysia has one of the best there is. My first trip to HK I did go to those expensive housing areas. But this time I seem to go to those more common people place and I frankly love that aspect.

    HK wasn't that hot, compared to Macau. But yes, their indoor air conditioning is super strong. Toilets, restaurants. A small restaurants (all of them are small), small as in could fit into the airport toilet and you can firt 2 shops in it, have at least 3 main air cond like those office type, then there's 3 smaller ones, plus 3 fans. I was so cold! First time! But outside is hot, BUT not unbearably hot. I find KL can be hotter.

    BUT Macau was unbearably hot, reminded me of Jakarta or some part of Medan, Indonesia and also Cambodia where the best time was standing in the rain waiting for the tour bus.

    I didn't go to Cheung Chau, I think. I don't know why I love Yuen Long so much. Maybe because the buildings whilst tall, weren't that tall, the place looked more.. personal I suppose. I don't know. Maybe it was the LRT.

    We had to take taxi because our hotel was not close to the MTR. The first time I was there we were very close, so took a lot of trains. This time, took a lot of taxis which weren't expensive since they drive you to the door step.

    Not so much into shopping. Didn't shop much in that sense, because I am not into brands and such. But I know a good deal when I see one and I bought a nice cute bag at Temple Street where in Malaysia it sold for the equivalent price quoted in HKD.

    But oh coca cola slurpee! Yum! Yum! And also iced lemon tea! Only HK makes it that great. Not even Macau can match HK. Ours is iced Lime tea, also as good.

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  3. "Even got classical music playing in the toilets!"

    I chuckled reading this. So funny (in a cute way). We don't even get this in big 5 stars hotel.

    " And if I wanted to see, I can go to Melaka and I never enjoyed Melaka. "

    I like Melaka precisely because of the old heritage there. My favourite state to visit.

    You make we really wanna visit HK.

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  4. That is Macau! If you like portugese architecture, then that's the place for you. Yes lots of casinos but also some old style portugese buildings. But don't go in July. So damn hot!! I hated it because it was so damn hot! Also expensive. Very expensive in my book although the heritage sites are free. But you know, I walked all the way from Senado to that famous A-Famosa like building at night only to reach there and see not even lights on. My sisters said "Weird, usually got lights" and I was so frustrated with the heat and aimless walking, frankly I didn't care. Like I said, it is just A-Famosa, but larger and not even the original. Our A-Famosa is original building or whatever left of it. But I am sure you will love HK, but again avoid July. Rain, heat, I don't think they're good combination for holiday.

    So you planning to go alone or with family? I mean I can ask my sis for the accomodations details. Royal Plaza is great room but very expensive (Rm400-Rm500), location is great as it is next to or rather inside a shopping complex where the trains are. That was the 1st I went to. The 2nd is Silka something hotel, used to be called "Dai (as in Wong Dai) Hou (Hou Chak)hotel and no taxi cab knows its new name so we had to say Dai Hou, it is at Kowloon, Anchor Street, new Dai Kok Chui, next to Mongkok. Room is darn small but price is half of Royal Plaza, but nowhere near trains BUT near those market things, which I think you will like more. But if you like walking, then it is considered nearby an MTR but for me too far away. The taxi is ok, not THAT expensive, so you can take taxi to and fro MTR, about HKD18-25.

    BUT the hotel provides free shuttle to nearest MTR station (Prince Edward I think) but coming back, you have to find you own way.

    When you planning to go? I think you can survive HK alone. You know Chinese, know how to read. I tell you, some of them speak worse cantonese than me!

    But Macau, darn rude.

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  5. And you know how many times those taxi driver laughed at our cantonese??

    My sis said "Dai Chui Kok" and so got laughed at. She told me "remember we are at "Onn Kak Kai" when it is actually Ahn Kak Kai" and again I got laughed at. We kept saying Loh Mai Kai and they were like HUH (What HK no Loh Mai Kai meh??). We said wantan mee when it is in HK means just the noodle! So we ended up saying Wantan Mee, we want wantan also and she thought add wantan??

    Sigh! And their food portion is big so when my sis ordered extra plate of the wantan mee (that shop is very famous, in Sham Sui Po), the lady was like shocked for a while. See our size also know we eat a lot lar! But seriously, their rice is heaven.

    But I got a bit insulted they kept laughing at our cantonese when we went to resturants can't even understand what the waitress was saying. And don't bother asking the waitress for recommendation. They don't even know their menu and this is at big restaurants.

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