Another day, another country. I’m starting to realise just how much of a whirlwind tour of China this really is. Today starts early again, 03:00, in order to finish packing and give myself enough time to check-out (as the check-in didn’t fill me with much hope) [and sure enough, it was a good anticipation]. I was collected at 04:00 in order to allow ample time at the airport.
Falling alseep on planes is something I have never really been able to do, but considering I managed to get about 2 hours sleep last night, it is no surprise that I was nodding off before the plane had even left the ground! Feeling slightly more refreshed upon landing at Hong Kong International Airport, I booked an impromptu room for the night (as the accommodation at CUHK was not available until tomorrow), and caught a bus into Sha Tin.
I’m almost certain that my mouth was agape the entire bus journey. Monotonous landscapes were no more. The sky was incredibly vivid, and revealed below it an array of skyscrapers, exotic forests, beaches and busy ports. Hong Kong was already lively and beautiful. So much so, that I didn’t even get chance to look out of the Windows on the opposite side of the bus! I was mesmerised. One thing that particularly caught my attention, was the amount of development and construction. Hong Kong is clearly developing at a rapid pace; with many new highways and high-rise offices and flats springing up all over the place. And when I say high-rise, I mean high-rise. Many residential blocks in more ‘rural’ areas resemble former-Soviet style architecture, with greys and beige coloured buildings constructed in clusters, all appearing identical.
Already I’m aware that Hong Kong smacks of colonialism. I passed several old and unstudied industrial buildings, one of which had written on the front: ‘Allied Cargo Centre’ in rusted iron letters. As my journey continued, I thought of the inequality. I wondered just how different to mainland China it would be, or feel. The buildings already appeared to vary, just on the journey from the airport to my hotel. From one of the many suspension bridges we drove over, I saw what looked like rows of luxury yachts, and perhaps even private beaches, and I had to remind myself that I still hadn’t reached Victoria harbour!
Before I knew it, I had reached the hotel – good job I didn’t miss my stop! My evening was very quiet after that. I had finally fallen victim to the tiredness, after two and a half weeks. I paid a visit to a local temple, Che Kung Temple to be precise, which was about 15 minutes away by foot. The sun was still scorching hot at 17:30 – it certainly felt hotter than Beijing and the next couple of days were on par with (if not hotter than) Xiamen. By the time I got back to the hotel, I had worked up an appetite so I paid a short visit to one of the hotel’s own restaurants, which to my surprise cooked good local food.
Then, I could finally relax.