Hong Kong Encapsulated I: Customs, Drones, Salsa and Delectable Food

“If God had really intended men to fly, he’d make it easier to get to the airport.”
George Winters

The stop sign came when I was not allowed to check-in because as an occasional traveller, I had no clue that I couldn’t fly abroad with a passport with less than 6 months worth of validity. The old Malaysian passport merely stated that we are to renew the passport when there are less than 6 months, but it does not bar us from travelling. (It was amended in the new passport.) One of the the airline staff said it wasn’t advisable to travel because HK might kick you back to Malaysia. Being the debater I am, I rebutted (probably fiercely) saying, “Not advisable. But it doesn’t mean not permitted.” Oops. But it just goes on to show the importance of terminology and sentence structure. Dad said this is why I should do law. Haha.

But thank God for the two God-sent Penang immigration officers who got my passport renewed in a mere 2 hours! And Lim Baba who paid for my flight transfer. 🙂

We caught a cab to The Peak. Watching the taxi meter red digital value increase with a beep is a pretty depressing sight. Food and transport prices hit me hard here!

The view was awesome. I just wished the camera was better in low light.

The HKUST campus wowed me, and made me feel like experiencing an overseas campus life myself. Sure, I’d get a whole house and my car in Brickfields but there was an lingering ‘if-only’ feeling that drives me to finish two years in London.

HK is certainly not for the agoraphobe; people are just everywhere – in the MTRs, the streets, all the time. It’s ironical. In the crowd, people lose individualism. They dress alike, and after awhile, they look alike. But they become individualistic. The ‘care factor’ disappears. Everyone rushes with their specific destination in mind.

Drones, I call them. That’s got to be the word of the holiday. There are several ‘types’ of drones.

1) The corporate drone. Dressed in crisp suits, they embark the MTR and do not initiate conversation. They recharge (snooze), then disembark at their station and walk hurriedly to their cubicles at work.
2) Tech drone. There are the wired ones (ear phones are merely body extensions), the finger-tapping ones (on the iPhones), and the chatterer. The tech drones are aplenty.

Spot Me! Hourly hotel... don't you just wonder. 🙂

We spent one night day in Mong Kok. Shopping at Argyle Street alone can kill you when choices are abundant. There were many promotions for cell phones on the streets which reminded me of the HK movie ‘The 72 Tenants of Prosperity’.

Food at 大牌档 (dai pai dongs) are cheaper at about 24 HKD but not cheaper than the average Malaysian hawker fare (12 HKD). But HK helpings are huge! But Ipoh taugeh still emerges triumphant. As they say, must be the water.. Despite wolfing down loads of wanton noodles, the amount of walking the 香港人 (Heong Kong yan) does burns it off.

It was KJ’s friend, Art’s birthday. We were followed by a ‘bin tai lou’ at Hang Hau. Scary experience. I was barred from entering a club at LKF. But there were others who were visibly younger than me. The bouncer asked for my passport. Who carries passports to party? But it was all for the better, because we went to Makumba! Live music by real Africans. 🙂 I was pretty nervous, being a first-timer. It was like ‘deer entering a village’. But Joaquin led me in a salsa several times (I do believe they’re my first dances ever!) and I think I was a klutz. An eye-opener though. I think I surprised myself by actually enjoying salsa with Joaquin. YES, SALSA. (Everyone knows Yi Wen can’t dance.) But maybe I drained the fun out for KJ because she baby-sitted me.

Dumplings @ Dai pai dong
Bagels with feta and omelette with salsa @ The Flying Pan
Chicken and leek pie @ The Globe with KJs pals
Sour and spicy Szechuan rice noodles @ Eat Together
(Unknown Cantonese word) sauce chicken rice @ Fanling
Pepper rice and kimchi @ Food Republic in Diamond Hill
Super desserts!
Dim sum breakfast – a HK must-have @ HKUSTs China Garden!
Fat har-gaus = pure bliss.

Gotta love the food! 🙂


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