Chinese New Year in Hong Kong; Tuesday and Wednesday

We woke up earlier then I thought necessary on Tuesday but not as early as we had for the Super Bowl viewing. We were headed to a dim sum place that Vince kept telling me I had not been to. Except it was the place I had been to and it also happened to be closed for the holiday. To be fair to Vince, had the place been open we would have been glad to go early because the place is busy all day long. We had Tami and her son with us. We wandered about looking for dim sum that was open and debated what we should do. Two new people, Erin and Jasmine, would be joining us once we found our plan b. What we ended up deciding to do was go to a fancy little place in the ferry terminal called Maxim’s Palace. The food was good and we all left satiated. There really was nothing amazing about the dim sum food we had it was pretty standard and in my opinion nothing stood out as phenomenal. Perhaps I am getting a little spoiled with my dim sum experiences. Tami’s son was not especially excited to be eating there and made it known that he didn’t want any of it. It seems a shame to be a picky eater when you are being raised in foreign countries.

It was Tami’s last day in Hong Kong and after breakfast she headed back to her hotel and eventually to Shenzhen. Jasmine, Erin and Vince headed off to see the Big Buddha and I headed out to see the mid level escalators. Left to my own devices I read the street map backwards and went the wrong way for a couple blocks. I eventually figured it out and made it to the right area. The walkway that leads to the escalators had a lot of super cool graffiti and I took a lot of pictures of that.

I finally made it to the escalators and went up two sections when all the tea I had at dim sum forced me to begin searching for the public restroom. I had to walk almost back to where I started before I found it. The restroom kind of reminded me a little of the restroom in Harry Potter that Moaning Myrtle spent her time in.

I was going to start going up the escalators again when I got a message from Vince telling me they decided to see Deadpool and that I should join them. I wanted to see Deadpool pretty bad and I knew it would not play in China so I headed to the metro and traveled to Tung Chung station where the Big Buddha is. They decided to see the movie after they checked in at the Buddha and saw a super long, multiple hour wait and decided to skip the Buddha and try again in the future. I think I was the only one who really knew what to expect when we walked in to see Deadpool. I expected crazy violence, language and nudity and it totally delivered it all. The rest of my group had a few moments that they had to close their eyes in the movie. I would recommend the movie but maybe you should figure out who Deadpool is and what he is about before you walk in to see his movie. I believe that they ultimately liked it but they were kind of shocked by it too.

We headed to the Mong Kok area in an effort to help Erin buy a DSLR camera. She wanted my help because I like cameras but I am not up to speed on the cameras currently. I bought a camera 4 years ago and things have changed. I also feel that you can get a better price in the US at a Costco for a beginner model. Unless you are a good bargainer and have done your homework I have no idea why you would buy a camera in Hong Kong. They are really good at pretending to give you a great deal when you are actually spending way too much. This was something she wanted though so we tried to help. Unfortunately a lot of places were closed because of the holiday and we ended up not really even finding many places that were open. We knew we needed to start heading toward the pier for our cruise and we left. As we sat on the subway I read about the riots that had happened in the Mong Kok area the night before. I saw no evidence of it that afternoon but I might not have been in the right area.

The pier area was already getting busy and our cruise people were completely inept at organizing the groups of people they had. We eventually got sorted but we were sent from group to group first. Apparently they had booked several cruises and they were not great communicators. So when the boats finally came one of the guys yelled at us a lot in Chinese and we decided that meant to follow him. We boarded a crappy boat that had two levels and we chose the lower level because lots of people were going up. I began to wonder about our ability to see the fireworks immediately because even upstairs there was a giant roof blocking the sky. I imagined the fireworks shooting up high in the sky but not being able to see them because of the roof. I decided to trust that it would work. Soon we were cruising across the water to an industrial area where we parked next to a sand barge and our buffet was set up. Nothing picturesque or nice about our dinner spot at all. They gave us tiny paper plates and fed us oily food that I decided against getting seconds of. They had a buffet line upstairs and downstairs but the line downstairs where we were was not very organized and as we waited some people almost got in a fight because some old white guy cut the line and said racist things to the people who tried to tell him there was a line. Thanks old racist white guy for making all whiteys look bad.

After a weird dinner we headed back toward Central and the boat operator parked. My friends and I headed to the front, found a place and waited. It was almost time for it to start when the boat operator turned the boat back on and turned the boat around. We had the perfect spot until then and we hurriedly tried to head to the back as the fireworks began. The back area was already filled and I could find no room to see the fireworks. I hung half my body out to get the handful of shots I got but most of the show was lost to myself and my friends. I was bitterly disappointed in the experience and since it had been my idea I was extremely upset that I had chosen so poorly and let my friends down. Since it was such a horrible experience I want to provide the company name, Grand Holiday. Please do yourself a favor and avoid them because they seem to just be charlatans. After the fireworks ended the boat took us to a completely different port somewhere far away from where they had picked us up. It was not near anything we recognized and was not near a metro at all. We had to pay for a taxi to get us back to a metro stop.

Every single one of us was hungry and so we made our way to Lan Kwai Fong street. Lan Kwai Fong has a ton of bars and is a pretty great place to drink a few too many. We decided to eat and drink at Al’s Diner. I thought the burger I had was okay but everybody else thought it was great. Maybe I’m just too picky. Vince wanted to get a kebab after we ate…. which is weird but Vince is weird. So while they went to the kebab place I went in Hong Kong Brew House. I had another beer, one that was brewed for them. Then I convinced everyone to go to Rockabilly on the next street over. That was the last stop we made that night despite my urge to keep popping in places and having a beer. I did not want to do that alone and everyone else wanted to call it a night.

Wednesday was Vince and I’s last day in Hong Kong. We met up with the girls for dim sum at Dim Dim Sum. I think it might be Vince’s favorite considering that was the third time I had been there with him. It also happened to be the third dim sum meal we had in a 4 day span. Just so we are clear dim sum in Hong Kong is not cheap. You think it will be but it never is. It isn’t super expensive either but I always feel like it should be a little cheaper than it actually is. After dim sum we headed in search of Jolly Thinkers a game shop I wanted to check out. They were closed unfortunately and would not open until 2 and it wasn’t like after eleven. Vince and I were hoping to leave on the 3:30 ferry and two was not working. Jasmine knew of a place near Mong Kok and Erin was hoping more camera places were open so we went there again. We struck out on camera but we did find the game stop. it had prices similar to the US which was disappointing to me at the same time it was a good thing. Imported goods are usually more expensive but they weren’t. In fact what I wanted was the same price I would pay in the states. The issue I was having was that I kind of hoped I would find unique games or knockoffs. I wanted to spend less but apparently that won’t be happening. I will return and pick up an expansion for a game I already have one of these days but ended up not buying anything that day.

We ended up parting ways soon after because they were spending another night and we were heading to the ferry terminal.

I had several more pictures on my smart phone but that devices mini sd card malfunctioned and they were lost. So unfortunately I have a day with no pictures because I was too lazy to use my Canon.

Over all the Chinese New Year experience in Hong Kong seems pretty low key. They have a big parade and a fireworks show but otherwise the town seems quiet. It was nice to go when it was calm. It made me appreciate Hong Kong a lot more. I went from not loving it to really seeing it as an enjoyable break from the norm.

When we got back to mainland China we were greeted by late night fireworks and empty businesses. Chinese New Year is a time for family and people head home and the cities get empty. It is strange and wonderful but I do not plan to spend next year in China. I hope next year to spend CNY on a beautiful beach somewhere away from China. Sorry China. Sorry Hong Kong.

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