Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Layover in Hong Kong

"My favorite thing to do is go where I've never been" - Diane Arbus

Sleeping in the airport was not as bad as I thought it would be, not that I want to do it regularly, but it could have been a lot worse. I only caught a few hours of sleep, but with writing and a little "50 Shades" to distract me, the night went by quickly. My one take away from the night is ... I'm not as high maintenance as I thought. I can tough it out with the best of 'em. Ha!

I made it out of NYC at 8am on 11/8 on a Cathay Pacific flight with a stopover in Vancouver and due to the delay, I had an overnight in Hong Kong. Although I was anxious to arrive in Bali, the overnight was a welcomed stop. The airline was kind enough to put me up in a hotel for the night at the Regal Hotel at the Hong Kong airport, which was incredibly convenient.
When and if you find yourself traveling to Asia and beyond, I would recommend Cathay Pacific. The planes are nice and spacious, flight crew are all gorgeously coifed, food's not all that bad, and they were incredibly accommodating throughout the trip. Nice, yes ... cheap, no.
The Hong Kong airport is large and modern, which was expected given the bustling metropolis. It was truly easy to navigate, and for $100HK (about $13USD) I bought myself a round trip train ticket that took me right to Kowloon station. I then hopped on the K2 bus right to the Penninsula hotel to a trendy spot called Felix for a skyline view of Hong Kong island. The skyscrapers were really a site. I never get tired of looking at the NYC skyline from Hoboken. The view always amazes me, and this moment was no different. Building after building, all bright and colorful. For the first time on this trip I stopped to just take in my surroundings with overwhelming awe and wonder.  
I only had a few hours, so after Felix I continued to walk up Nathan Road - or Tsim Sha Tsui. A main road straight through the center of the city, and considering I was slightly intimated and on my own, this was a nice 'first timer' kind of walk. The street was packed with people and lined with shops. I quickly made my way to Jordan and Kansun street which was so worthwhile. The surrounding blocks encompass a night market filled with street vendors and Sichuan street food. Truly authentic and I felt completely immersed in the culture. I could have walked around for hours. The smell and looks of all the spicey food was amazing but despite my temptation, I did not partake. It was just a bit too risky for the first night of travel. But man, everything looked so delicious.
I made it back to my hotel in one piece just by reversing my original route and depsite my initial apprehension to venture out on my own, I am so glad that I did. Definitely a little fear was holding me back at first, as I hestiated leaving my comfy hotel room. It would have been easy to stay in, avoid any confusion and potentially get lost. But, I wasn't going to let the fear stop me just yet. I ultimately made it one piece, realized the city is manageable to navigate, and saw what I wanted to see in a few short hours.

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