We reached Hongkong airport at almost midnight after a harrowing turbulent flight where the plane shook, dove and circled the airport airspace several times. There was a typhoon in the China Sea, and the wind was too strong for us to land. I was already feeling out of sorts when finally we touched down.
We had an 18-hour layover in the city before we board our connecting flight, so we decided to check out the place in the morning. I have been passing through Hongkong several times to change planes but never really had the opportunity to explore it yet.
After checking out at the immigration, hubby withdrew a few Hongkong dollars, and we then proceeded to gate 1, where hotel assistance booths were available to get a pass for our hotel bus shuttle. We only waited for five minutes before boarding the bus. The air outside the airport was crisp and chilly. The bus was spacious and comfortable. We were able to let our turbulent-beaten bodies relax during the bus ride. During the half an hour ride from the airport, I can only see darkness from my window seat but as soon as we reached the bridge and saw the bay I was enchanted. The scene before me looked surreal. The skyscrapers glittered like a magnificent light show in the sky, which were further magnified by their equally glittery reflections in the water. I’ve seen lots of pictures of Hongkong nightscapes but to see it in real life was quite breathtaking. The bus though, was moving too fast for me to take pictures.
After coming down from the bridge, the bus drove inside what looks like an old downtown area similar to the places I often see in anime films. I saw the road signs, and it indicated that we were in Kowloon area. I love the place. If we had a lot of time, I would have wanted to explore it more. It has this nostalgic feel to it as if I was in some kind of period film. Well, the entire bus ride has a dream-like quality to it anyway. Enveloping the people and their surroundings in a soft, warm glow.
We reached our hotel after 2 hours, I think, can’t remember exactly. The staff in the Harbour Grand hotel were amiable and warm. The room was great and has a full view of the bay. The kind of pampering we needed since we were extremely exhausted. I am a backpacking kind of traveller, but like everyone else, I don’t mind occasionally camping at luxurious accommodations.
Excitedly, the next morning after taking a bath in the jacuzzi (yeah!) we went down to the 3rd floor for our breakfast. Food was okay; as good as how hotel food can be. Several choices for breakfast were available. American, European, Continental, Asian, Indian, and everything else that you could crave for. We chose a table with a good view of the bay. Gazing towards it, I sipped my cappuccino with pleasure.
Since we were short of time, we chose to visit Sogo, a shopping complex located in Causeway bay area. It was nearer to our hotel than Time Square. Taxi cost us about 23 Hongkong dollars. The driver was an old man who was very courteous and did not expect any tips. He even returned the 2 dollar change to hubby’s 25 HK dollars. We told him to keep it.
One remarkable thing we noticed over there was the driving etiquette of the motorists. Unlike in India, the cars wait a few seconds after the light turns green before moving. This amazed hubby and I. In Delhi, vehicles start running even before the light turns green.
Sogo was fascinating as well and has that old downtown ambience complete with double-decker buses and trams. What I noticed especially was how the air smells of expensive perfumes emanating from shopping malls where they sell mostly imported luxury brands. But we were really not into that. I want to get a glimpse of the local culture and local food. I would love to come back, though. I have a feeling I will discover more exciting places aside from Disneyland and Chanel stores.