Red Alert

Going to Hong Kong from Linköping wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be. I scored tickets from Norrköping with Finnair and the entire flight was only 12 hours, including a too short for comfort connection in Helsinki (we landed 10 minutes after boarding time).Hong Kong airport My fears of losing my baggage were unfounded and I’m met by Jen and Jaime who usher me onto the bus into town. Hong Kong is very hot this time of year, it’s 33 degrees, very humid and as we roll into town I’m struck by the stupenduous number of harbor cranes. This really is one of the biggest harbors in the world…

Jen has some hotpot in mind for us, but as we try and locate the place, it seems to have moved, so we end up at a Yakiniku place. They are indeed trying hard to be authentic; they have the stools for waiting in line, the staff are shouting “Irrashaimassseeeeee!” (although not all of them at once as they would’ve in Japan) and they have the proper grill thingies with the chimney.

It’s very nice beef, properly marbled and very nice cuts.Kung Fu kids Jaime orders the chicken, but gets some beautifully marbled pork instead. But seeing as she expected chicken, that’s what it tasted like. The mistake is only found out after we order another plate of chicken, pointing at the first on, which leaves the poor waiter rather confused.

The island Lantau is our plan for the second day, which entails a lot of subway hopping and a cable car to get to. The cable car overlooks the airport, which appears to be a man-made island right next to Lantau. Lantau itself is rather hilly and very green, criss-crossed by trekking paths that look very nice – some other time perhaps. The main attraction of the island is the Tian Tan Buddha statue which today is shrouded in mist. It’s nice, but doesn’t take long to admire, so we move on to the second sight on the island; the pink dolphin tour in the Tai-O fishing village.

The dolphins aren’t home today though, and we’re left wandering the village, waiting for the bus. The village does have it’s sights, most of it is dried fish though of many, many varieties. I buy some suspicious-looking unlabeled beverage out of a cooler from this woman and it turns out to be a very refreshing, tangy sort of drink. I also buy these deep fried chili fish balls, that are incredibly spicy and not that good. Meh, you win some and you lose some.

Back in the main village, we happen upon a rather unimpressive Kung-Fu show. It’s still fun though, and they certainly make an effort of it, so we stay for a bit before grabbing lunch and an ice cream.Dried fish I go for black sesame seed ice cream, and it turns out to be another winner! Jen and I also grab a milk tea with bubbles (where ‘bubbles’ are small, slimy tapioca balls) each before heading back to the mainland.

I’ve talked Jen into trying a deeper shade of red for her hair, but she’s skeptical and at least wants to try out a couple of wigs to find out which shade that will suit her. So we go to a couple of wig stores that I’ve looked up online, but all of them are rather strange and don’t have that big a selection. The closest thing they have to a red one is a strange purple one, so we give up and just go for a color that seems nice. It luckily turns out really well and her hair is now a deep reddish brown. (I’m going to keep lobbying for a bolder choice though)

Jaime and JenThe next day we sleep in a bit since we aren’t due to meet Jen’s roommate Jourdan and her boyfriend Alex until noon in Macau. We make it down to the ferries a bit late at elevenish only to find out that the ferries that normally aren’t a problem to get a ticket right away for are now booked up all the way to 15:30!!! And that one’s only available if you get the first class ticket (330 hkd apiece). Problem is that the show we’ve gotten tickets for starts at 17, which leaves precious little time for the 1 h crossing, navigating customs and getting to the hotel where the show is. Oh well, not much to do but wait at this point.

We almost end up missing the ferry as well, since we hadn’t considered that we’d need to pass through customs as we leave Hong Kong as well. We actually end up making it with only seconds to spare. The customs on the Macau side turn out to be another half hour on top of that – at least we get a proper stamp instead of the little note they put for Hong Kong. A hurried cab ride later we meet up a rather miffed Jourdan (that hasn’t gotten any of our texts) and we manage to catch something like two thirds of the show, which by the way is excellent! It has all the glamour and flair of a Vegas show. and actually a decent storyline. (the daily turnover of Macau is actually bigger than Vegas, by the way)

Our miserable luck continues when it turns out that we don’t have time to have dinner with Jourdan and Alex since we have to get back in order to catch the ferry again. Oh well, at least I get to talk a bit with Jourdan, which is probably Jen’s main henchman/sidekick.