We woke up at 9:00, because our bodies are still on Kathmandu time and so it was really 7:00 AM (or something like that). Jon hustled us up to the Renaissance Club for breakfast as the breakfast buffet is finished at 10:00AM. It was so delicious! We had some amazing salmon, croissants, meat and cheese, fruit, and hash browns. We went back for seconds before they cleared away the buffet, and then sat and read the paper in front of the amazing 40th floor view of Victoria Harbour.
Around lunchtime, we hit the streets to see the city. We didn’t really have a goal in mind, we just wanted to walk. So that’s exactly what we did! We took the pedestrian walkways to Hennesy Road, and walked down a street the reminded us much of Times Square – except with many more shopping malls.
When I first moved to New York City, Jon used to come visit me on weekends. Just to torture me when we were walking around the city, he would stop in the middle of the sidewalk, look up to the sky, and say in a particularly redneck southern accent, “Would you looook at those taaaaallll buidlings!”. I, of course, would die of embarrassment and continue walking as if I didn’t know him. But the funny thing is that this is sort of how I feel here in Hong Kong. It’s been so long since we’ve been in a city like this and I’ve become used to the rural places we’ve been visiting.
However, I do feel much more comfortable here than I did when we arrived yesterday. It takes a little while, but it’s been easy for us to get back into the “city swing”: walking down the street quickly, swerving through obstacles, making no eye contact with strangers. I do, however, feel out of uniform without black pants and 3-inch heels. Sadly, all of mine are in storage somewhere in New Jersey. So I have to make due with Tevas and a long skirt, but it’s almost as if I’m unarmed.
Jon – Bald Again!
We found a place for Jon to get a haircut for HK$59 (US$8), and he was thrilled that they had an electric razor. So they set it on the shortest setting, and I have a practically bald husband again (see June 10). He also wanted them to trim his goatee, but the guy didn’t feel comfortable using the electric razor on Jon’s face. So Jon asked if he could do it on his own, and went to town. So the frightening growth on his chin is now a regular goatee again! The first thing he said when we left the haircut place was, “I feel almost human again!”
We also stopped by an optical store to look at eyeglasses, which we understand are very cheap (and very trendy) here. Well, the selection is similar to what they have in the states, and the price difference isn’t very dramatic. But we had a good time looking anyway. We decided to wait until Singapore in November, to see if the prices are better there. I did get a new pair of sunglasses, though. They were having a tremendous sale on Fendi sunglasses and there was a cool pair that I just couldn’t turn down. This will set some of your hearts at ease – to know that I haven’t lost my cravings for brand name goods. But they were amazingly cheap and they are very, very cool. They’ll fit in well in the rural areas of China, I’m sure. Practically is what I’m all about!
One Big Mall
We spent the next few hours walking around and searching for Tevas for Jon. I’m convinced that Hong Kong is one big mall, because every other doorway was an entrance into another mall area. Jon thinks it’s because we’re staying in the business/shopping district, so I guess we’ll see when we go to Kowloon Island in 2 days to meet our next group. (We’re on Hong Kong Island right now, in case I haven’t mentioned that yet).
We weren’t hungry because of our big breakfast this morning, so we just continued walking around and looking at the sites. Jon especially wanted to look at electronic stores, because we’d heard there’s a good electronics market (like, non-legit) where we can get good but inexpensive stuff. He doesn’t know what he wants exactly, but he wanted to look to keep his options open. So we did a little of that, too. We wandered into a mall which had 3 whole floors of computer stores, and Jon was in heaven.
Ironically, we haven’t seen ANY Internet Cafes around here. This actually makes sense, because we’re in the business district of a big city, so everyone who needs Internet access can get it in their offices. But finally, we stumbled across a cafe that was masquerading as an on-line banking center. Upstairs, they had some super fast computers and a delicious cafe bar. So we hung out for a while and answered emails.
When we returned to the Renaissance, it had just started to rain again. We actually haven’t seen the sun all day because Hong Kong is now in the outskirts of some hurricane traveling south of here. So we have cloudy weather with occasional rains. But it’s OK because it’s a little cooler than it would have been otherwise. We went back up to the 40th floor to munch on the snacks in the Renaissance Club Lounge. Jon went for a swim in the hotel pool while I typed up my delinquent journal entries.
Saigon Beach Restaurant
Lonely Planet recommended a Vietnamese restaurant near the hotel for dinner, so we set out through the maze of pedestrian walkways to try and find it. We finally stumbled upon it, a little hole-in-the-wall establishment with yummy smells. We were surprised at the prices, but had to remind ourselves that we are in a big city so prices are much more expensive than what we’ve been used to. Then again, we hadn’t spent any money on food today because the Renaissance Club has been treating us so well!
Dinner was pretty good, although the beef concoction we ordered didn’t really have beef in it – it was all fatty bits. So we ate the potatoes and put the sauce on our rice and ate that. It was still good, which means our standards have certainly changed! A year ago, we would have sent it back. But you really can’t do that in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. So I guess our standards have changed more along the lines of the fact that we would never have eaten at an unknown hole-in-the-wall restaurant at all.
We walked back to the hotel, past a bunch of strip clubs and bars with GoGo Dancers. Jon thought two women walking in front of us were “working girls” but it was debatable. They could very well have been just scantily-clad women. Who knows anymore?
We went back to the hotel, showered, and washed some laundry in the sink. This is funny, because there really is no place to hang our wet clothes except for a small clothes line in the shower and the curtain rod. So Jon pulled out some hangers and started distributing clothes around the room. Hopefully, this will all be dry by tomorrow so we don’t frighten the maid.
We settled into bed by 10:30 and ordered a movie – The Gift – with Kate Blanchette, Giovanni Ribisi, and Keanu Reeves. It was very good! Of course, I missed 1/2 of it because I’d covered my eyes, but Jon kept me filled in on the parts I couldn’t watch. I have no idea how he can watch these scary movies and not even flinch during the scary scenes. Ironically, I’m the one who really wanted to watch it!