Day 2 – Shenzhen/Hong Kong
We started our day having a typical Shenzhen breakfast consisting of small paos. They tasted rather bland but locals seemed to love them. We found there was surely at least a small basket of paos on every table, so we decided to try it.
We went on to the Window of the World again to finish whatever we didn’t manage to see the day before. We were awed by more and more replicas and amused by more and more bad English.
By noon, we packed our belongings and headed to the subway to catch a train to Hong Kong.
It is quite convenient to travel to Hong Kong from Shenzhen. The subway station is situated near City Inn, so we only need to walk a few minutes to the Shi Jie Zhi Chuang station (Window of the World’s station). A single ticket to Lo Wu, the interchange station to Hong Kong, costs only 5 yuan.
There were about 14 stations away from Shi Jie Zhi Chuang to Lo Wu. Contrary to what most of my friends encountered, I find going to Hong Kong via the Metro (the subway) is a breeze. I was told of horror stories of being pushed and sandwiched, this and that, but it didn’t happen. Perhaps, we went during lunch hour when it was not rush hour.
It took about 30 minutes to get to Lo Wu. At Lo Wu, we were greeted by equally humorous sign board. Please leave the country by lift. Wish things could be that simple!
We went to the counter to get hold of some immigration card. One of our travel mates, Mdm Katak (as in “Katak di bawah tempurung”, a Malay idiom for a frog who lives in a coconut shell and thinks this is the world..details later) was starting to get onto my nerves.
Mdm Katak: Must fill form one meh ah? Why have to fill forms so many times one?
Me: If you are from Tai Lok (China) or a Hongki, you don’t have to.
She quietly completed the form.
We bought an Octopus card at HKD150 with value HKD100 to use. HKD 50 is used as deposit where we could get back after deducting HKD7 for administration fees when we surrender the card.
We took the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) to Kowloon and stop at the interchange to get to Mongkok where Ms Sure Win had made a booking at Dragon Hostel. It was crazy as the streets are so damn confusing. How to pronounce this: Argyle Street? Ugly Street? I don’t know.
We had to walk about for almost 20 freaking minutes to look for the secluded hostel with heavy bags. To our horror – most of their train station use staircases instead of escalators. No wonder fellow Hong Kong people are so slim and fit. I almost broke my back carrying my 70L bag negotiating the staircases. I am just not a good backpacker.
I thought to myself. “Rule No. 1 – Never ever rely on someone who only knows how to get from home to work and back to be the navigator.”
I refrained myself from cursing and followed closely as the locals led us to yet another wrong place. When we finally found the place, the other travel mate nicknamed Mdm Katak asked a ridiculous question on how to get up to the building.
An elderly lady in her 50s retorted. “Tap lip lah! Lei wan yeh ah, Jer Jer??”
(Translation in Cantonese: Take the lift! Are you kidding me, sister??)
We choked in laughter and then, the statement – “Lei Wan Yeh ah, Jer Jer!” became the mostly used sentence throughout the entire trip.
At Dragon Hostel, we get to experience staying in a narrow and cramped place like every other middle income earners in Hong Kong. It was not comfortable but I was glad that it was clean. Check out the view from the hostel. “Breath-taking nya!”
Since one of the travel mate stood us up last minute, we had to make a different arrangement for the place to stay. Instead of paying HKD220 for a room for two, we opted for a room for 3 persons at HKD300. Mr Fan, the person who runs the hostel is a nice and courteous person. A very rare finding in Hong Kong – stories later.
Mdm Katak complained at the size of the bathroom. You practically can’t even move about in the bathroom. I imagined the worst with my huge size. I hope I just don’t get stuck in the toilet and had to be rescued by the fire department. I asked Ms Sure Win, who recommended this God’s forsaken place to stay. She mentioned Ms Sure Lose – one of our ex housemates who is very well known for being super thrifty and always being a suspected nun. We came up together with Rule No. 2 – “Never ever ask for traveling advice or recommendation from someone who only took pictures outside Disney Land Hong Kong and pretended that she had been there.”
When we finally settle our bags and rooms issues, it was already close to 5 pm. We were exhausted from the 20 minutes of getting lost in the maze of people in small and packed lanes. The weather was chilly when we set foot out from the hostel. We walked about the lane where we got lost earlier to familiarize ourselves. We were greeted by a faint odor of dog shit.
“Gawd! Did someone just step on dog shit?” I pinched my nose.
Ms Sure Win beamed when the smell reached her nostrils. She was elated that it was the Hong Kong’s famous Chow Tau Foo (Fermented bean curd) and urged me to try it. I didn’t want to get diarrhea on the first day in Hong Kong and made a pass.
We settled for a restaurant with the most people inside after going around Sai Yee Street and Tung Choi Street, named Eat Together. We checked out the newspapers cutting which recommend their best dishes and settled for this Ham Choy Noodles. I don’t know how is it called in Cantonese, but you could see local celebrities’ faces plastered all over the wall with this recommended dish. You guys should try this shop if you have the chance.
After a hearty dinner, we went to Ladies’ Market on Tung Choi Street. Earlier, we were exhausted because we took about 20 minutes to locate the obscure hostel. Everyone looked dog tired. At the sight of Ladies’ Market, Mdm Katak who said she was tired earlier, spring to life. My instincts told me, trouble is looming.