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Written on: Sunday December 9th, 2007

A journal entry from: ASIA PART II

13/F Kinglearn Bldg
Aberdeen Street, Hong Kong

To Soho please. 24-26 Aberdeen Street. I was pleasantly surprised when the taxi driver dropped me off at the bottom of the steep hill. Just a short vertical hike up with my oversized suitcase on wheels and backpack strapped onto my back.

The Soho district on Hong Kong Island, a popular area for drinking and dining with ex-pats and locals alike. Set up base here at my friend's flat, right smack in the middle of this concrete, urban jungle they call a city. I relocated after several days on the Kowloon side, where I was also in a prime location for sightseeing and shopping (Tsim Sha Tsui). Spent the first day as an official tourist sightseeing with the parents - tour complete with labels and a tour guide with a corny sense of humor.

Kick-started my week in Hong Kong by having dinner and drinks with Lionel at a swank place called Aqua. Dinner was nice and I really enjoyed my company and the magnificent views from the top of one of Kowloon's newest skyscraper, including the spectacular light show that's put on every night by HK Island's skyline.

The next day, took a day trip out to Lantau Island which is only a short ferry and bus ride away, to check out the world's largest seated bronze buddha - Tian Tan buddha. Spent the day hiking on Lantau trail and found myself wandering in the town of Tueng Chung several kilometres downhill where I could have sworn I was the only foreigner around. The mini-excursion ended full circle as I eventually found my way to the MTR station and jumped on the train back to island.

Since I didn't have the urge to roll dice in Macau, I looked for lady luck at the racetrack in Happy Valley instead. Horseracing is HKs biggest spectator sport because until recently it was their only form of legalized gambling. The energy at the track is electric as everyone cheers for their horses and with names such as Mega Bullet and Fantuzzi, I just couldn't resist making a wager or two or three...

Shopping here is a religion and the Hong Kong Chinese are very devout worshippers. Shopping 'areas' such as Mong Kok encourage this lifestyle with literally store after store bursting at its seems with clothing and gadgetry of all sort. It doesn't stop and the fashion here is in a caliber of it own. So you can gather that my week ended with a shopping appetite that has tripled and my luggage weighing in a few pounds heavier.

Spent my last night, coincidentally connecting with several familiar faces from back home and had a blast going from bar-to-bar in Lan Kwai Fong, the district otherwise known as LKF where HKs nightlife comes to life. Here the cashier at the corner 7-11 becomes everyone's favorite bartender, as all the patrons spill out onto the streets, making the party outside the place to be.

My week in Asia's gateway city was exciting, but as a solo traveler I found it difficult to meet people. Easy enough if you live or work here and co-exist, but it seems as though, the Chinese who are traditionally private people, are always in their own space. Even if it's sitting across from each other, sharing a table while eating a bowl of noodle soup. The air quality here is classified as severe and the pollution continues to suffocate my Western lungs. I've never walked more in my life this past week and I have the blisters on my feet to prove it. My brain is dehydrated from last night and my body hates me for it. Well its time to pull myself together and pack up my belongings. I'm already looking forward to the deranged traffic that awaits me in Manila.