Saturday, May 27, 2017

How about the end of the year in Hong Kong? A new trip for the Wandering Writer

Hello everybody, and welcome to another adventure of the Wandering Writer. I know I am a bit late, but this new trip will probably make up for the delay (or at least I hope so).
This time I will tell about a holiday that is still able to put a big smile on my face; spending the New Year's Eve in Hong Kong.
Like it always happen when you are waiting to see something great like the famous fireworks celebration in Hong Kong, there is something that goes regularly wrong. We were supposed to reach our hotel the 30th of December, one day before the celebration of the New Year's Eve. The first flight was delayed and as a result, we missed the connecting flight.
We reached our hotel the 31st of December at 19:15, we had just five hours to take a shower, change our clothes, getting some information about the best place where to see the fireworks and reach it.
The first impression of the city, as we were reaching our hotel by taxi was amazing, every building was a celebration of lights of advertisement, best wishes for the new year and, even if a bit late, also Santa Claus with all the reindeers. We were just amazed by the show and we couldn't wait for the real celebrations waiting for us in a few hours.
Despite the warnings of the receptionist not to go to the island, we decided to ignore them, thinking that even if there would have been traffic on the streets, with a taxi, we would have been safe and sound.

What could go wrong?

Let me tell you... Everything!

The traffic on the streets started really to be crazy by the time, and following the advice of the taxi driver, we were supposed to go to Kowloon Civic Square, where he said all the fireworks would have been seen better, and since the fastest way to reach the place was to go by train, we asked him to drive us to the station.
We stopped to have a dinner in a restaurant which seemed to have still places available, and we enjoyed our dinner, knowing that we still had some time to reach the square.
Something we didn't take into account, because we didn't know, was the timetable of the train. We had a frantic run to reach the destination station and from there to reach the square; it was 5 seconds to midnight, and we were doing the countdown as we were running to the square.
We reached it at 00:00, but...
"Hey, where are the fireworks???"
Besides the music, people having great fun and bars open, no sign of fireworks...

"What the heck??"

We gather all our courage, not to look like a couple of idiotic tourists who know nothing about Hong Kong, we asked a couple of girls.
"No, there weren't any fireworks scheduled this year," one of them said.
Now, can you imagine our disappointment??
Oh, well, we were there and we blended with the others trying to have fun, and I have to admit that even without fireworks, it was a great evening!
Now, it was about 03:30 in the morning, and you can imagine how badly we wanted to go home, so we took the train to the main station and looked for a taxi.


All the taxis were already booked and those taxi drivers who weren't booked were on a pause and were calmly having their dinner without bothering the fact that there were a lot of people trying to get back to their hotels or homes.
It took more than one hour to finally get in one taxi, which brought us to the wrong hotel. I mean, the hotel chain was the same, but ours was on the mainland!!
We begged the receptionist to call us a taxi and explain to the driver where we needed to go; we were dead tired!
Half an hour and the taxi arrived, bringing us at 06:20 at our hotel!!!
Small advice, before planning this kind of trip, get informed about fireworks and get there a few days in advance.
Besides this small detail, Hong Kong is a must visit, particularly if you are looking to upgrade your mobile phone or laptop with one of ha latest and expensive models. Since most of the electronic appliances are made in China, Hong Kong offers great deals.
The city itself offers a lot to the curious eye, and don't miss the street markets as together with the cheap bad deals, you can find great bargains, and a great insight on the culture.

The city, due to the growing population is built vertically, and sometimes it is quite astounding looking at those tall buildings with so many apartments that can really make you think about the number of people living in the same building.
For the westerner eye, this might resemble more closely a termite's nest, rather than a human settlement, but considering the population and its constant growth, this is the most effective way to give housing to everybody.
I am just wondering what would happen if you live on the top floor and the elevators are not working...

Don't miss the breathtaking view of the Hong Kong skyline, from the Victoria Peak. This is the highest mountain (552 m) in the island and is located on its western half side and gives the chance to have a nice view of the valley.
It is comfortably reached by the funicular which costs 45 HK$ or 5 USD for a return ticket. You can have a nice dinner and a walk in the surroundings, enjoying also a stunning view of the city by night.

Walking night time is not only safe, but also highly suggested, as you see the two faces of the city and the culture, from the food you that really make you wonder...

To the big city lights...

And as the sun sets to another great city, I greet you to the next adventure promising a better timing on the weekly schedule!

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