Hong Kong is beautiful. I couldn’t start a post about it any other way.
I’m writing to you from the hostel yesinn@causewaybay. Specifically floor 8, room A, bed twelve. The bottom bunk. Of three.
1. Frequent U.S.A masterbate enthusiast extraordinaire
2. Snoring Chinese girl
3. Me… Typing
I’ve been to exactly three hostels in my life, this, the third, is the finest. Maps, mates and massage chairs (all free). The bed is only around £17 a night and the subway to the centre cost 50p. Though the whole city is central. I’m in one of Hong Kong’s 6000 or so skyscrapers now as I try to sleep. All the buildings are skyscrapers, each unique. I spend my days looking up; neck craned.
A Chinese snore is not higher than a western, in fact it’s deeper.
But… My day.
I usually wake up at seven. Put on a shirt and jeans, head to an upstairs deli across the freeway. I order J2, which is Hong Kong breakfast, meaning strips of ham with rice and a fried egg. I pretend to read the paper, it’s in Chinese.
I head back to the hostel and have my shower after breakfast as to rouse as few hungover Irish as I can. The shower has to be cold, the rooms have aircon but the communal bathroom does not. I put on a tie, walk to causeway MTR station and head to Central through Nan Yip. The train always has at least 400,000 angry Chinese business men on. The English on the train hesitantly catch each other’s eyes above the heads of the swelling ranks of locals, the white, sweaty, suited ex-pats look at me and want to say something. I don’t know what.
I get off the MTR and take the fifteen minute walk to the surface level. I then straighten my tie and try to get as high up various skyscrapers as I can. Sometimes I get turned away politely by military or police, usually security guards, if I’m lucky a beautiful receptionist from Kowloon will kindly direct me to a public platform I’ve already been to. Five times out of ten I get through and take the lift to my own public observation platform. Free from Americans being subtly insulted by local guides and selfies. I sit on top of a skyscraper and eat my rice cake and almonds.
By two it’s too hot to think, so I venture down onto the street, away from the cool 112th floor breeze and walk back to the hostel. I usually make it by five unless I’m distracted by waterfalls or mountains to walk on. As I am, everyday. I make it back to Yesinn at six in the afternoon and sleep til the frequent self abuser leaves the common room and jumps into his pit of debasement two bunks above me. I wake at ten, make small-talk with other travellers about cockroaches and typhoons, the first very present and the second imminent. I leave at ten past ten, walk to the bay, take group photos of giggling Chinese schoolgirls dressed in white frocks.
Today I caught Asia’s first penicular/pernicular/vehicular? train/tram/cablecar up a mountain. No halfway houses there, it’s a mountain. Though there are houses… Halfway. The train travels up at seventy degrees past skyscrapers for so damn long it’s easy to imagine yourself in a wooden lift.
The view from the top is awesome. As in shock and awe awesome, I’ll include a picture but it’s difficult to grasp. From the peak you can see the whole island. Surrounded by the China sea, a colonial, glass and steel drop in a pond full of junks and trawlers.
I walked back down the mountain tonight. In 30 degrees of wet heat that will stop you breathing, squirrels watching, anxious for sweat to drink. Walking through a forest in a city at twelve would invite dark crimes in England. All I see are joggers, couples and business men asleep on benches who, too afraid to take their ties off, had to rest on benches. No graffiti, few cameras, no sirens, no vandalism and seemingly nobody homeless or begging.
I’m not sure how.
It seems the only danger is the roads, the locals follow the ticking zebra crossing to the second, even when the road runs for miles with no car in sight. The cars themselves are either tricked out Honda MPVS with blacked out windows, taxis or Rolls Royces, they do drive fast though. Add fifty double decker trams on the road and millions of people and London would be brought to a standstill. Hong Kong runs like clockwork.
At five I get back to the hostel, talk to some Basque separatists on the rooftop garden then head to bed. The bag gets chained to the wall, the rest goes in the locker. I brush my teeth with tiny travel toothpaste (3 uses if not excessive). I upload some pictures, write my blog. Listen to the sound of non stop traffic, helicopters, trams, etc. I sleep til seven and wake hungry.