Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

Before I came here, I thought I knew what crowded was, I thought I knew what rich was, I thought I knew what culture was. And then I experienced the MTR subway at rush-hour, the outrageous cost of living in Repulse Bay on the south part of Hong Kong Island and the fantastic food, art and, mostly, architecture that this place has in abundance.

The first day we were here, we went straight for the waterfront along the northern edge of Hong Kong island to see the tallest building in Hong Kong.   We saw a TV documentary on this building once and now, we have actually been to the real life version! Does it get any better than this?

Jan - Victoria Harbour1.JPG

Victoria Harbour.JPG

The next thing we did was to take the tram up the unexpectedly steep slope to Victoria Peak for the view.

View from Victoria Peak.JPG

I won’t go on about how amazing the view was because the interweb is littered with such descriptions. I will, however, mention that the people who live in the houses on the road leading up to the peak must be exceptionally wealthy. The kind of wealthy I wouldn’t even know if it bumped into me on the street, which it may very well have already in a city this busy. I am invigorated by the crowds. There are more people on this island than I can even fathom and when everyone decides to take the MTR at the same time (when the drivers of their Mercedes and Jaguars have the day off, I presume) it is too crowded to move. The crowds at the Temple street Night Market can’t really compare but the lights, colour and traffic make up for the density.

Temple Street Night Market.JPG

Today, we visited the Graham Street market which is known for its food. From start to finish, from one end to the other, we were wishing desperately for a kitchen in which to cook.

Marc - Graham Street Market1.JPG

There were many vegetables and a myriad of fish that we’ve never even seen before, let alone can imagine cooking. What I wouldn’t give for just a chef’s knife! (Though the hostel does have a corkscrew for happy hour so we’re not completely lost.)

Speaking of food, we went for dim sum today at the “famous” Yung Kee restaurant in SoHo.

HK Dim Sum.JPG

Apparently, the roast goose at this restaurant has been the talk of the town since 1942. We didn’t have the goose, but we did have steamed dumplings with shrimp and bamboo fungus, yummy steamed pork buns, spring onion pastries, garlicky squid,spring rolls, mango pudding and an appetizer we didn’t order: century eggs.

Century Egg.JPG

I think they’re hard-boiled eggs that have been… um … preserved (?) for a few months. I tried them first and then coaxed Marc into trying. They weren’t bad but they’re weren’t something I would’ve ordered. Who cares, I tried them, and that’s the whole reason we went on this trip.

P.S. Typhoon Chenchu is due to pass through Hong Kong tonight. Should be.. interesting.