I’m fully aware that I repeat myself after every weekend spent here, but I simply can not help it. Though Hong Kong has exceeded all my expectations already long ago, once again, I am speechless of its beauty. I honestly never thought I would find anything like this from Hong Kong. The citys ability to get you, at one moment, feel like the only people in the world in a middle of a rainforest, and at the next moment surrounded by so many people, in the vibrant city, with endless possibilities. Like my experience last weekend, this day made me deeply aware and grateful of the fact that I actually get to live in this city for which I am falling more and more as the times passes. I can not but feel deep gratitude to the factors that have enabled this experience. In my case, I need to thank my parents for paying the taxes and my company for flexibility. Above all, I am grateful for myself for being persistent and not settling for anything less. These are the experiences that make it worth to being a world apart from family and friends.
Sheung Wan is by no question the area that I would settle in if I stayed longer in the center area. It is no surprise that I love coffee shops and tiny restaurants, which Sheung Wan is full of. I also love idyllic vibes that the beautiful alleys and hilly scenes bring. Considering the location, I find it incredible that such an peaceful and quiet area can be found so near to the hectic Central. This is the place where I escape to when the hazzle of the city gets too much for me. I take a book or grab a friend and go to one of the endless small cafés. It is the best time of the year now in Hong Kong, which even more makes every day spent feel special.
Last Saturday a male friend of mine crashed to my what was supposed to be a getting organized session in Classified. We ended up ditching the books and laptops and having a beating hang over dinner, first with coffee, followed by wine. After which, getting some more wine and enjoyed on nearby steps on a deserted alley, in the light of a full moon. I guess I had at some point mentioned of my attraction towards shisha, as he at some point announced it was time to hit a shisha bar, and so we headed to a Moroccan bar Sahara in Soho. The double apple was as good as my memories from Bali a couple years back. Unfortunately, this sin caused me getting a flu, which I have now suffered all week. The double apple will definitely remain a once in every two years manner…
Though I am aware of repeating myself often, no photos or words, once again, can do justice to the past weekend. Having no good friends in the city led me to new adventures, deepening friendships and establishing new ones. Until last, I hesitated on whether to take part to this junk boat party as I only knew one person beforehand. I knew it was a going to be a group in which everyone else knew each other. I took the risk, which obviously turned out to be worth it, both girls and guys taking me immediately part of the group, sharing their stories from all over the globe – for the first time in a long time, I was the only Scandinavian. Another memorable day in the city that keeps surprising me over and over again.
Star street area is by no denying the trendiest district in Hong Kong. Located above the very Chinese alleys of Wan Chai, these couple blocks gives you the feeling of being somewhere very far from Hong Kong. For me, in Ted’s Lookout I feel like being back in one the bars in East Village, New York. That, naturally, is not bad at all. Maya Café serves amazing vegan dishes, juices and desserts, but the best thing are the Mediterranean vibes. Sitting at the backyard, surrounded by the white walls , blue details combined with the perfect Hong Kong mild fall weather gives you a very real feeling Greece moment. I, of course, love Just Green, which is a cute little organic shop. Other favorites of mine are Classified wine bar, Yo Ma Ma frozen yogurt place and Oolaa Petite restaurant. All of where you can sit outside, without the typical Hong Kong hazzle in front of your eyes. These places offer the perfect people watching spots.
Tai Mei Tuk is a cute village by the sea, where the locals come spend their weekends and have barbecues by the seaside. I liked the most the forest path that lead to viewing spots over the village and ocean. A place you feel like the only people in the world.
After spending last weekend exploring Tai Mei Tuk and Kowloon, and heading to Shenzhen on Sunday, I couldn’t be happier to spend the weekend at the island, with no tight plans. Today, I want to have a glass of wine and see where the night takes. Sunday we are having a private junk boat party – I’m excited as it’s my first time on this traditional Hong Kong style boat.
1. Friday night “house” party and an infinity pool 2. Sunday rooftop brunch in Mid Levels and afternoon getting lost in Soho 3. Cliff jumping in Sai Kung 4. Winner feeling once reaching the Peak 5. Food favorites: coconut curry, Mana salads, Life chocolate cake and Maya Café juices (even one self prepared salad!) 6. Afternoon coffee moments in Classified 7. First glass of wine at Ted’s Lookout
Browsing through pictures captured through iphone during past couple weeks serve as a perfect reminder of how much fun I’ve had. Every day can be an adventure, but at the same time, I love the routines I’ve developed here. Hiking once a week to the peak is a must. Perfect coffee shop hunting is my favorite activity and all three Classifieds on the island have become my favorite spots to do some writing, reading or having a perfect cappucino or wine with a friend. Most people find the trams to be too slow – for me, it is the moment of the day to just sit and enjoy the ride to downtown.
Unlike many people, I never had a strong curiosity towards China. Not even towards Hong Kong, before I heard it was the place I would end up doing my exchange semester. Needless to say, HK has exceeded all my expectations. I no more question whether I would want to live in Asia or not – I will always be open to Hong Kong. The fact of this city fundamentally changing my worldview (which used to be very NYC-orientated), has made me curious of many other places in Asia. My bucket list now has destinations such as Korea, Taiwan, Japan (!!!!) and Shanghai.
Because of the new curiosity of China, I happily promised to join my colleague for a few day trip to Shenzhen. It is now day two and, to be honest, my first glimpse of China have not impressed. And that is kindly put. Everything from the infrastructure to the sense of chaos and gloominess made me deeply miss Hong Kong pretty much as soon as crossing the border. Ironically, infrastructure and crowdedness were the factors that first made me miss Finland, but I now see Hong Kong with completely new eyes.
Getting lost in middle of a hustle on a crowded shopping district immediately once stepping out of the hotel did not enhance our first impression. Fortunately though, we next randomly ended up to a market place of authentic food preparing stands on idyllic alleys. This place calmed my mind a lot, ensuring that I could make it 1,5 more days here. The best part of this trip, by no question, was my noodle wok dinner prepared in front of my eyes, naturally enjoyed plastic chair style in a room behind the stand (for 90 cents?!), as well as a perfect foot massage. This massage place would deserve an own post – the guys were clearly as qualified as physiotherapists and charged ridiculous amount of about 3 euros of 1 hour massage… For once, I felt very generous with the tips, both for dinner and massage. Also, after recovering the shock of lack of western breakfast dishes at the hotel breakfast buffet, I found myself actually enjoying the flavors of traditional Chinese dishes. Big bowl of red bean porridge, noodles and a wide variety of marinated mushrooms, all tested!
I also can not but feel frustrated to not be able to access Facebook, Instagram, my blog… I guess ultimately, however, the communication barrier is the factor that makes me ready to get out of here asap. Simply not being able to communicate with anyone around me makes me so frustrated. With the exception of few truly helpful people willing to at least try, most of the people do not bother to even try to communicate. For example, I simply could not get lunch from the restarants or streets as the staff were not willing to communicate by gestures. If not else, Hong Kong has never appealed me as much and from now on, I will be grateful of every single day spent there ;).
Edit: Being back in Hong Kong and posting this from my favorite cafe in Sheung Wan, I could not feel more relieved. I know I repeat myself a lot, but Hong Kong, you’ve truly stolen my heart!