We made it to Hong Kong! I’m writing this in bed after a full-on day all over the city, which I would approximate has been raining torrential-downpour style rain for about 90% of the time. Apparently we picked the worst couple of days ever to visit as a typhoon has just blown in! Typical!
We left Heathrow at 6.40pm on Sunday, which will forever be remembered as one of the very worst days of my life. Saying bye to family at the airport? Good luck to you. I can’t remember ever crying so much over such a drawn out length of time in my entire life. Genuinely it was the most horrific experience. Plus Mum and I kept setting each other off all day just leading up to me leaving (Our last Scrabble game! Saying bye to my bedroom! The last squeeze of the cat for a couple of years!)
When we got to the airport, we managed to catch up quickly with Delene who was heading out on a flight too which was so lovely as we got to say a last goodbye, but that completely set me off again. (LOVE YOU D! Sorry we never got to hang in the First Class lounge!) Unfortunately despite arriving with plenty of time to spare (which we NEVER do), we had a whole lot of drama checking in, and it looked for a while that we may get bumped off the flight which was added unnecessary stress – though British Airways were amazing, and their T5 staff are just the best. (Particular sorry shout-out to the lovely check-in desk attendant who I made cry when I started crying. It was an emotional day.)
Eventually though we were all sorted, and it was time for Jimi and I to head through security. We were both bawling, all our families were crying, EVERYONE was staring…
IT WAS THE VERY WORST THING EVER.
Anyway, let us not dwell any more on that else I’ll start weeping again now. The flight was fine – your standard economy twelve hour night flight. Magical. My hand luggage was CLEARLY far too big for an overhead locker but we wedged it in anyway; the food was crap but an air steward brought us three extra chocolate mousses and a REAL spoon – it’s the little things! (Sidenote: in real time I read this line out to Jimi who looked a bit shocked, as though he’d forgotten about the chocolate mousses, and has now gone to check that he hasn’t left one in his bag… yum). We both got a bit of sleep so by the time we landed in Hong Kong, at 2pm local time on Monday, we were both more-or-less functioning.
The holiday package we’ve booked meant that we had transfers from the airport – ta luxurious and amazing treat! Our name on a sign! Obviously we couldn’t find the driver for about twenty minutes, but eventually we were united, and he drove us into the city.
Neither of us have ever been to Hong Kong, or indeed any Asian city before, and first impressions were that it is COMPLETELY unlike anywhere else. The temperature was around 30 degrees when we landed, but really overcast and muggy, and it started spitting with rain as we drove to the hotel. As Hong Kong is made up of lots of islands, the airport is on a separate (man-made) island to where we were staying, so the drive took about 45 minutes, across lots of bridges. There are so many skyscrapers – both apartment blocks and offices, and the architecture is really unique – the best I can describe it as is really ‘blocky’. Plus neon lights and signs EVERYWHERE which I love, and Jimi loves to photographThe M.
We’re staying at the Hotel Jen, which is conveniently about 30 seconds away from the HKU MTR line. The hotel is big – 28 floors – and like a nice business hotel which is perfect for us. Once we’d showered and felt a bit fresher, we headed straight back out to spend the evening in Macau. You can get to Macau by ferry, which takes about an hour from a port a couple of MTR stops from our hotel (luckily Luke had done us a detailed itinerary so we found it easily). The MTR is great – like the underground, but more efficient and cleaner, and ORGANISED. The ferry port on the other hand was absolute chaos, with people everywhere, shouting, lugging bags around and/or tripping down escalators. (Incidentally there are hundreds of warnings about the danger of escalators and either consequently/relatedly no one seems to be able to use an escalator. There’s a lot of hesitation and panic when it comes to stepping on and stepping off. Really odd).
I fell asleep on the ferry but woke up to Jimi shaking me away to look at the view as we docked into Macau. It’s basically like Vegas, but instead of along a strip, the casinos are set out around a bay. The sun had gone down while we were on the ferry, so the huge neon lettering of all the hotel resorts were lighting up the skyline. We disembarked and managed to locate a free shuttle service to the Venetian hotel. It’s just like the one in Vegas and absolutely enormous. But unlike Vegas, which is always loud and messy and BUSY, and has that entertainment/seedy (read: fun) side to it as well as all of the gambling, Macau felt very sanitised. Like a boring, clean Vegas. There was barely anyone there, which may well have been because it was a Monday night, but even so it just didn’t have the same kind of atmosphere. Less excitement. A distinct lack of drunk people. Though Macau apparently has an amazing old town, but we couldn’t see very much as we only had a few hours there this time so we definitely need to come back at some point.
We had a touristy couple of hours, eating a very American dinner in the Hard Rock Cafe, and having a look around the Venetian and the Grand Canal Shoppes which was fun, but as the hotels are so spread out we couldn’t get very far in the time we had. So after wandering through a few casinos, we got incredibly lost in the Venetian, ended up in a service lift and eventually got escorted by a kind security guard to a taxi rank, to catch a cab back to the port. We both slept again on the way back (damn you jet lag!) before catching the MTR back to the hotel to get some sleep, knowing we’d be having another VERY busy day ahead…
(Spoiler: we did have another very busy day.)