I did manage to sleep a little on the plane from Melbourne, but not much, so I arrived in Hong Kong at 07:00 feeling very tired. I got the airport shuttle bus to my hotel. It was HK$140, which is about £11 and I was the only person in the full size coach. I think they may have made a loss on petrol for that journey. The journey from the airport to the city is very strange. Most of the Hong Kong is forest, but then you will have 3-5 enormous skyscrapers more or less springing out of the forrest at intervals. It looks really odd.
Arriving at a hotel that early is often problematic because the guests from the previous night haven’t checked out yet. I got lucky in Melbourne and they had a room for me. In HK they didn’t. I checking in my bags and decided to have a look round. After about 30 minutes (including some moments of feeling very lost) I decided I was just too tired to attempt to navigate Hong Kong, so I went back to the hotel and parked on a chair in the reception. After a couple of hours of nodding off and generally making the place look untidy a room became available and I went straight up hoping to sleep. By the time I had scrubbed the stench of a 9 hour plane ride off myself, I only had about 1 hour to rest before meeting up with one of my friends.
A mate of mine from university moved to Hong Kong about 5 years ago (after a year in Sydney). We had met up a couple of time since he left, but I guess we had not crossed paths for about 3 years. He dropped by the hotel and whisked me off into the city to show me some of the sights (and give me lots of money, because my cards seem to be blocked again. ).
From the perspective of an adopted Brummie, this city is very intimidating. I mentioned in a previous post that Singapore is full of really tall buildings, but there is a feel of open space between them. The buildings in Hong Kong are truly massive and very tightly packed. In Hong Kong a bungalow is 10 stories. What’s more, many of the skyscrapers seem really thin, making them look rather fragile. We started off by dropping in at his office so I could get an aerial view of some of the city. We were only part way up the building he works in and it made me feel a bit sick.
From there is was back down to the street and a trip over to Mong Kok, which I believe is still listed as the most densely populated place in the world. Something like 130,000 people per square kilometre. Alan seemed to think it was a little quiet compared to usual, but it seemed very busy to me. I took a few photos (here), but to be honest all the streets were so tightly packed I quickly realised that taking photos was a bit pointless because it all started to look the same and it also meant I was interrupting the flow of the people, which was not a great idea with 130,000 per square km.
So my impression from day 1 is Hong Kong = Blade Runner.
The plan today is to get out of the city and have a drive around. Hopefully I’ll get some more photos today.