Hong Kong, Day 1 — Avenue of Stars

This post references things that had happened on Saturday, May 25, 2013.

Okay, I’ll be backtracking events so give me a couple of minutes.

Last time I left the country was a ”mere” 13 years ago when we went to Australia and stayed there for a year. I could hardly recognize the NAIA 1 Terminal but fact remains that it looked third world grade which actually seemed much worse when we finally got to Hong Kong.

Flight was a quick 2 hours and after getting into the actual airport, you could right away distinguish how organized the system is in Hong Kong. Almost everything had an English translation. As much as comparisons go, the Toyota Alphard (which is considered a high-end model in the Philippines), is used as a taxi here — same goes with the Toyota Crown which is dubbed as Toyota Comfort locally.

It took us about a good 45 minutes before we reached the hotel. Those 45 minutes were well spent — gazing at the amazing scenery which is Hong Kong. Their ports are always busy and out-of-this-world in terms of size and organization. The skyscrapers here are around (insert ridiculous number here) times more as Makati City’s. Traffic flow is smooth as ever and they allow you to go as fast as 140km/hr. I should mention that they drive on the left side of the road here — which somehow resembled that of Australia’s.

I’m not sure which date the Holiday Inn in Tsim Tha Tsui was built but it’s way old compared to the recently finished one in Glorietta 2 in Makati. Everything is old school. TV has no HDMI connection, obvious aging of furniture, and any floor is accessible through the elevator (a rarity in today’s hotels). Service is okay but not great. Buffet spread selection is amazing the first time but quickly becomes dull after a few days.

But enough of the hotel.

It was almost noon after we’ve finished eating but we didn’t want to waste any time. First on the list, a typical tourist list, is the Avenue of Stars. We decided not to take a taxi while in Hong Kong so we used their subway system (called the MTR) to get to our destination. One thing you’d immediately notice is how organized their train system is. You’d have that sense of how everything was carefully planned to perfection before execution. The subway has every shop imaginable built in to keep your eyes (and maybe wallets) busy. One way to stay fit in Hong Kong is to walk these tunnels to reach your destination. And that’s exactly what we did to get to the Avenue of Stars.

The place resembled a pier which fronted the Inter Continental Hotel. After all the walking, we decided to hit up the first food stall we saw. Amazing how a pack of shredded squid becomes an instant hit. For $30 HKD (Hong Kong Dollars), you’d get one pack of freshly grilled squid — shredded for easy consumption. One would be smart enough to bring this idea to the Philippines.

Back to the Avenue of Stars.

It’s somehow a replica of Hollywood’s but, of course, this one features their own set of artists. Out of the numerous handprints, we only knew three of them — Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, and Chow Yun Fat. In which, of course, were all packed tourists waiting for their photo op. I had to misdirect some of them by pointing at another handprint and reacting like it was that of Jackie Chan’s. Bruce Lee’s statue is much worse as it was nearly impossible to have your picture taken without another tourist photobombing it.

Alas, we reached the end of it and after taking numerous pictures of the harbour, we decided to hit the local Starbucks. Gusts of wind were present as it was probably the best day to do the tourist spot. After a cup of a strong-tasting Café Mocha, we decided to head back — but not before 2 middle-aged women decided to take a picture with the three of us. Weird, but just as then, Hong Kong sunk in.

With how efficient the subway was designed in Hong Kong, you’d hardly notice all the walking you’ll be doing. This is probably one reason why almost everyone here looks fit which is backed up by the fact that Hong Kong is the 2nd place with the longest life expectancy.

Half a day in Hong Kong and we’ve already cleared out one spot (two, if we count the MTR). We headed out to the hotel by foot to get some rest and down a little bit of jetlag. Tomorrow, we head out to Ocean Park.

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