Friday, December 31, 2010

The Hong Kong - Shenzhen Travel

We have to work through the night before departure, as if there won’t be a vacation if we didn’t force ourselves to have a vacation. And this is one of time we felt less like a tourist, while trying to go with the flow and experience life in foreign land through our friend: Christine. It’s one of those things we should do in our life: to experience Christmas in foreign land though the air ticket is more expensive, and to visit a friend in foreign land.

We land in Shenzhen, because it’s about 40% cheaper than Hong Kong, though we need to get a double entry visa for China (RM 50, takes 3 days to process). Shenzhen is quite a vast city, with many landed property and high-rise buildings arranged in a systematic ways, though it was covered by smog. I think Shenzhen is “safer” than it used to be, with no touts in sight as well. We took a bus for RMB 20 to Luo Hu - 罗湖 (border gate to enter Hong Kong with MTR) which takes between 30-45 minutes. The border is a bit confusing as it was crowded with commercial centers and shops, and it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to cross the custom of Shenzhen and Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, we pick up our Octopus Card (minimum is HKD 150 with HKD 50 as deposit) and ride MTR to Tai Wo (太和) to meet our good2 friend.

Christine waited for us “impatiently” in front of Watson dress in jeans and boots (one of the nice things in Hong Kong is the nice Winter Clothing and Boots), as Mei Ru called her way too early before we cross the Hong Kong custom. It’s nice to see her again, as beautiful and energetic as ever. Tai Wo is like one of those HBD residential areas in Singapore, with lots of apartments and commercial centers to support the local neighborhood as well, with kindergartens and basketball court. Then we have the typical Hong Kong apartment, with nice metal gate and postboxes, watch by a guard. The apartment probably has 30 floors, with a total of 6 lifts, and 2 lifts servicing each alternate floor. It is a nice apartment, not too old and clean. Christine stays at the 28th floor, a nice cozy space of about 300++ square feet with a pretty nice view outside the window. We meet the famous white cats, Ah Fei (Fatty) and Ah B (it’s easy to get confuse as Ah B is the Fat one, while Ah Fei is the shy one, even Christine herself get confused). It’s quite a new and renovated unit, quite comfy for 2 people with 2 rooms, but probably less space for storage (or requires better space management setup). This is the space you would appreciate those Ikea double decker (where your bed is on top of your work desk), extendable dining table and wall made up of wardrobe (to save 3 inches of wall space). We did a bit of Christmas gift exchange, where Mei Ru gave her a hand-made clay of Ah Fei and Ah B (which she actually found time to make), and Christine gave us a Green Crystal Planting kit and a Green USB Boy. We like our gift, though we express it differently :p

We have lunch at nearby neighborhood shopping complex, where she bought us our first meal in Hong Kong (洗尘). It’s Christmas Eve, so we visit Tsim Sha Tsui (尖沙咀) area to have a “feel” of the Christmas mood in Hong Kong. Surprisingly, we did have one of the best meals with very good dishes in a Vietnamese restaurant (老赵). The salty Vietnamese Put Zai Gou (砵仔糕) is nice, together with the very delicious beef noodle, the soft shell crab is not bad (maybe a bit salty), the nice curry fish pot with garlic bread, sweet and spicy big head prawn (almost HKD 400 for 3 person). I think I shall remember this meal as one of the best in years to come. A few streets are closed for traffic, with presence of policeman and probably a few hundred thousand people walking around. The lighting on the street a bit of a letdown (seems like Singapore Orchard road win this time), but the cold weather is priceless. They do have some nice decorations at certain places, like an 1881 classic carousel with large blue Christmas tree, and “ice” sculpture near the seaside. We didn’t go for the lighting show at Area of Stars, because we saw it during our last visit. The bay area is really too crowded with “bumper to bumper” traffic. We grad a cool mango jelly coconut drink at Hui Lau Shan and try to escape before the countdowns happens.

Superstar Aaron Kwok is performing on the street that night, and we are too far to get a glimpse of him. They spray paper snow, which does have a small moment of Christmas feel. The side of the performance area is covered by black cloth to make sure the walkway is flowing without people stopping to peak at the performance, but we did get a glimpse of his back when one of the cloths was blown away for a moment. We reach the MTR station at 12 midnight, and heard the countdown started. An uncle complaint why there is a countdown for Christmas as it was not New Year, or are they counting stars? Haha.

It had been a tiring day, as we have barely any sleep before we depart due to work and packing. Christine was worry we might get felt cold at night, but it was alright with the closed window, mini heater and cozy blanket. I felt asleep on the s 2 seater while Mei Ru went for a bath, and I was surprise I could find place to stretch my long legs.

Another 2 and a half day with her, and more experience of Hong Kong culture and her friends. Hopefully I have the energy to finish it :p


Shirl said...

Looks like you're having lots of fun in HK! Just dropping by to wish you a Happy New Year 2011! May it bring you lots of new exciting adventures and opportunities :))

cHrIStine said...

haha, where is your 2nd part of your writing? Hurry up to finish it! :) Your fans of your blog is waiting for it!!!!!