Monday, October 17, 2005


Hey from Hong Kong

You should come here if you can! Hong Kong is one of the best places I have been on my trip, even if it's the most expensive. I arrived Sunday afternoon and did a little bit of shopping to get ready for the weather in Germany and to replace my scroungy backpacking clothes. When I went back to my hotel "room" -- it's really just a paneled box with a toilet -- I added everything up and had a heart attack because I had been doing the exchange wrong. So a few items were returned to the stores today. HK has the best shopping of anywhere so far. Someday when I am wealthy, I will come back here so I can really not have to worry about the exchange rate.

Today I took myself on two self-guided walks suggested by the very helpful visitors' center here. I went into an area that is essentially a Chinatown, but that's kind of silly to say because all of HK is a Chinatown. I walked down the ginseng street, the dried seafood street and the raw meat street. On the raw meat street, I saw a tail of some huge animal hanging from a hook, fur and all. It was disgusting yet fascinating. No idea what it could have been from. All I could think of was a lion, but I doubt it was a lion's tail. Wonder what someone is going to cook with it?

Next I walked myself all around the tourism center, ate way too much good food, went to the space museum (very 1980s) and enjoyed the AC in the malls. I have seen more things I would like to buy here, but this isn't a shopping adventure. I need to have a local person to help me eat here. Lots of dim sum places (hi, Marti!) but I don't know how to eat dim sum and I don't want to end up with a $200 dinner ticket at the end if I try. I read in the visitor information that some of the Chinese restaurants will bring food and drinks to tourists' tables and tell them they're included but then hit them with an exorbitant "service charge for condiments" at the end of the meal. That's some expensive soy sauce!

Flying to NY and Frankfurt tomorrow morning. Thanks for joining me on my trip through Southeast Asia. I have hopes I will offer more anecdotes in the coming weeks before I have to face reality again.

If you have time, go to City Hall, in Central. It's right near the Star Ferry Terminal and has excellent, afffordable dim sum. You've gone to the source - give it a try if you can!
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