These posts I make about Hong Kong are going to be a very strange time capsule when they go up six months later. Who knows how much of the situation will have changed compared to the third week of November 2019. I mean, when we booked this trip 8-9 months ago, there were no protests let alone the violence that you’ve been seeing on the news.
I’m hoping that by May 2020 things will have come to a positive resolution for the people of Hong Kong, but as things now we are in a position where it looks like we’re going to need to be flexible with plans and keep up to date with where the flash points are. Needless to say, I’ve barely slept for the week before coming here because of everything going on and that none of this was considered serious enough to allow us to get a refund on our flights and hotel.
The day we flew out, however, the excitement began to hit me. Not only does this mean that I have visited the final Asian economic tiger (the others being Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan), but also crossed off the final big place I wanted to visit as a kid. As I’ve not been able to really look forward to this too much, this all hit me at once and I just started crying in the office from excitement. It’s been a journey.
Our flight was fine, but flying with British Airways really cemented just how good our flights were with Asiana on the way to Seoul. The only thing BA has over the are better free headphones and a better selection of in-flight entertainment (I mean, I was able to watch Parasite months before it’s released in the UK). However, the seats and the food is just so much better on Asiana.
Anyway, 12 hours later and about 5 hours of broken sleep later and we were in Hong Kong. Despite our earlier fears based on previous weeks, the Airport Express was operational and so we had a painless trip to our hotel in Wan Chai – which gave us a room upgrade since the number of tourists coming to Hong Kong has plummeted.
We figured that we would try our luck and see how bad things were by going on a short stroll towards the harbour – which I am so glad I did because it has helped to allay a number of remaining fears about how this trip might end up. It also really hammered home just how the level of tourism has collapsed as we had so many of these beautiful views of Kowloon across the water to ourselves.
I’m always a bit of a sucker for a city skyline at night, but Hong Kong’s is something truly special – and I haven’t even seen the view from the mainland yet! We strolled along Victoria Harbour towards Central Harbour, gazing at the buildings on both sides of the bay (not thinking to go on the Ferris wheel, hopefully we’ll get around to it at some point before we leave) and it was just one of those lovely serene moments when you are just taking in the magic of the city.
We actually walked so far into Central that we were able to visit Yum Cha for a late dinner. This is a place I had on my list for two reasons – good dim sum and cute dim sum. I am fully prepared to have a ridiculous amount of dim sum whilst in Hong Kong, but I really wanted to make sure that we got to a place that did something cute. The char siu pigs and the orange guys filled with molten custard were the best.
Then it was just a quick ride home on one of Hong Kong’s iconic and visually unstable double decker trams. From the window on the top deck, you get some great views of this upmarket shopping area – alongside the remnants of protest graffiti and the occasional beaten up structure. Truly though, similar areas in London are in far worse condition than here in Hong Kong and we haven’t had the bust-ups and brutality that they’ve had here.
Tomorrow will see our first full day in Hong Kong proper, which is going to be interesting to see how it goes. We’ve got possibly adjustments in place should certain areas flare up, but hopefully we won’t need to use them all up. For now, it’s time to sleep off this time zone adjustment headache and get to tomorrow with gusto.