Expat@Large

What To Do In HK – An Expat-Tempore List

Posted in beach, expats, food, hiking, Hong Kong, tourists by expatatlarge on May 20, 2012

A friend asked E@L to suggest some things for a buddy to do while he was in Hong Kong. E@L has no idea how long, if not forever, his buddy would be there.

This prompted a quick thought and an even quicker burst of the automatic writing that E@L used to think he used to be infamous for… Gods of Blog Spontaneity be damned, there has been quite a bit of editing from the original e-mail, for obsfucational clarificational purposes in the vain hope of making it more understandable/coherent.

This means that while there are still plenty of errors, distortions, misrepresentations, exaggerations and arguably hypocritical opinions and comments in this list – not to mention geographical fuck-up – E@L holds these truths be evidence of his experiences there.

E@L apologizes in advance to local experts and tourist-guides for making the wrong call on so many things, but this is how he remembers it… Many of the local bloggers would scoff at and deride E@L for this superficial list, but as they don’t follow him anyway, eh, who really cares?

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Hey friend, person of ill-repute,

An embarrassingly incomplete list of gwailo/tourist things to do in Hong Kong for your buddy – not in any order. Choose any four.

The Peak – make sure it is clear weather (i.e. winter) or forget it. This time of year, dodgy. Take the funicular tram up. It is steep, about 45deg. Goes past my old place. If you want to have a baby, Matilda Hospital up here has the best views of anywhere on the island.

Walking/Jogging Path – Bowen Rd path on Midlevels (where I used to live – merely coincidence that my first two recommendations are for nearby). There is a 4km track level path straight across the hills above Wanchai to Causeway Bay. Goes past the enormous mansion of Feng Shui master guy who earned (cough!) billions from “eccentric heiress” (batshit crazy rich bitch) Nina Wang by a) telling her where she should put his water spout to best effect, and b) forging her will. Great story there, someone should write a novel. About 0.5km along, climb up to look at Lover’s Rock. Rock, yeah, right, bit of mis-spelling there. But first, look down over the fence to see if the heroin addict guy who tends the rock still lives there. Keep an eye out for some little statues and joss sticks every now and then along the path. Forest gods, IKYN. The jogging path around The Peak is also nice (when the weather is clear!!!)

ICC building – The 100th floor viewing platform on the big fucking building over Kowloon MRT (118 stories!) Same weather warning. When it is clear you can see the other big fucking building (IFC2) quite well from here. My buddy Spike, former Wanchai Vortex ™ surfer and now camera geek, has taken some great nighttime pictures of HK, btw.

South African Food (wtf?) – The Stoep on Cheung Sha beach Lantau island is something of a hazing ritual for tourists / new recruits. The lamb shanks, what can I say? There might be time for this after checking out the Big Buddha. Ditto warnings with the weather.

Hong Kong fishing village restaurants – There are plenty, all equally toxic exotic. Lamma island or Cheung Chau island. The Lamma one needs you to walk a bit (or you can if you want… not 100% on this?). Get the scallops with garlic – sorry I mean garlic with scallops. Also razor clams. (And WTF are those giant penis things?) Haven’t had cholera there for years now. Nah, seriously, great food. You’re more likely to get ill eating in your hotel.

Junk Trip – absolutely a must – you get seasick easily? This is the ride for you! They’re all good. Take a bunch of buddies of course, these are communal affairs, plus it’s affordable if you share.

Swimming – Are you crazy? Head out to Tai Long Wan beach way out past Sai Kung (take the junk trip!) if you want to avoid the majority of the shipping lane effluent.

Crap “Local” Food – Lan Kwai Fong’s Rat Alley is famous for its… rats. Seriously. Unbelievably bad, yet popular, like most blockbuster movies. A favorite for back-packers and poorly paid F.I.L.T.H.

Sai Kung – well worth a visit while you’re at it, as you can take a long hike to Tai Long Wan as well, if you are feeling suicidal in this heat. Or jump across to play golf on Kau Sai Chau – bring plenty of balls, it can swallow three per hole, easy. (This is not a metaphor, or do I mean not a double entrendre?)

Stanley Market – the most amazing part of this trip is the ride on the No 6X bus. Take the top deck and sit at the very front. Your worst roller coaster ride will seem dull after this. Some things are OK in the market, but a market is a market is a market. Buy books, if you must, at the Dymocks [if it is still there] that I was going to set up before I came to Singapore.

Portugese Food (wtf?) – ferry to Macau, tell the taxi driver “Fernandos” – it’s on the arse end of the other island, Coloane, past the Venetian. You’ll get just as good if not better chicken and potatoes in town but, hey, you’re a gwailo, a tourist, you have no common sense.

Chinese Noodles, etc… – the first place you come to anywhere is bound to be brilliant. OK try the Honolulu Coffee Shop in Stanley St near Lan Kwai Fong. Recommended by insert name of common friend. Unlike many of the eateries in this great former British colony [founded by and for heartless drug-runners] they have an English menu.

Dim Sum – man I love this Cantonese junk food. Noisy and very noisy are your choices for restaurants. Everybody likes the ancient, sullen aunties and their steaming trollies at the City Hall in Central, where the Star Ferry and Queens pier used to be… (gone, sad.) Get there before 10 or you’re screwed. Not the best, but hey, you’re a tourist! [Most locally patronized yum cha places are upstairs in mold-scarred buildings that certainly don’t look like restaurants from the outside. They are gate-kept at the bottom of the stairs by harsh women who speak into tiny microphones and never tell you anything. No, no English, what were you thinking! Even your Cantonese friends are scared of these women.]

Spa/Massage Parlour – the only legit spa/massage place that I know the expats go to is Sunny Paradise, in Lockhart Rd conveniently. At least that is where it used to be. Get a pork bun or two. This is not a metaphor.

Hiking – weather permitting, must walk the Dragon’s Back on HK island. It’s not a hard climb – steps all the way, great views (what did I say about weather?) and bring water, it’s frackin’ hot this time of year. Finish at Shek O and eat and drink (you’ll need a San Mig or fifteen – bottle only, never can) at the Thai/Chinese restaurant there on the left of the carpark as you enter, an excellent gwailo tradition best upheld in the partaking.

Sleazy Fat Old Men – No visit to Asia is complete without checking out the sex-tourism – oh that’s right, these are local expats, not tourists. Ah, Wanchai… (eyes go dreamy…) Want to see some feeeelthy old expats leering at local (Philippines is nearby, right?) girls? Try the Old China Hand on Lockhart Rd, there or the new Queen Victoria Pub a few bars up. However, while these are “normal” bars, yet somehow the genuine girly/stripper, feel-my-tits if you buy-me-drink bars, or the meet-market clubs at Laguna and Fenwicks along this strip seem somehow less sleazy than these two places. [Say hello to Bruce and E@L while you are there… Sleazy is fine if you are drunk, and who isn’t drunk in Wanchai?] If you pass the girly bars early in the evening, you will see (and smell) mamasan burning Monopoly money and joss-sticks in an orison for a good night.

Legit Wanchai – right next to the girly bars and sleazy old men joints are some nice bars and restaurants. Do not eat at the American Chinese Restaurant – it’s another gwailo tradition to mock it. Good rock music at Amazonia. Free mike night at The Wanch. Dance on the bar at Carnegies. Have a whisey at The Stag. Have a 3am 4am kebab at Ebeneezers.

3rd Gen Entertainment – in the hills above the tourist crowd in LKF on pissing up on Friday night, you will find Wyndham St, now the Friday night piss-up place for Execs and bankers-wankers. Don’t expect Cantonese to be spoken here. Eat somewhere near Staunton St, up The Escalator (note the capitals) to SOHO (south of Hollywood Rd). Around here [E@L is too old to have ever found out where, exactly] locally born but still expat (3rd Gen) brats hang at bars, or so I believe. Walk all the way down to Jaspa’s Restaurant, don’t eat there FFS, and turn right. There are some tiny makeshift bars here, not far at all away from the great unwashed tourists. Don’t expect English.

“Real” Hong Kong – anywhere, just not near Wanchai, LKF, Central or TST.

“Antiques” – walk along Hollywood Rd under the escalator and order antiques to your exact specifications. Interestingly, some of these places do sell genuine antiques. Those antique porcelain horses which look like they have been sprayed with mud, are really brand-new plaster horses that have been sprayed with mud. If they have these in the windows, move on.

The Dark Side – (Tsim Sha Tsui – TST) – high tea at The Peninsula (book now). Dinner of brilliant Indian somewhere in Chunking Mansions on Nathan Rd. Do not buy cameras in this area though (head back to Stanley St in LKF). After dinner drinks at the Wooloomooloo bar at The One on Nathan/Granville/Carnavon Rd, just up a bit. Awesome views at night (weather permitting), but closes at midnight. Spend lots.

More Beaches – Past Repulse Bay (get off the 6A or 260 bus on the way back from Stanley and walk or taxi the 2km down to South Bay Beach. Gay friendly, which means all the homophobic obnoxious gwailos steer clear – you’re comfortable with your sexuality, yeah? Drink four million Coronas under the faded umbrellas in the restaurant above the change rooms – just grab the beers from the fridge yourself or you’ll die of thirst. Make sure you shower if you go swimming. The water in the beach is relatively OK (shudder, for HK) but the shower is nice place to make new friends.

That is all – too much already, yeah? Geez, I miss Hong Kong.

Cheers

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E@L

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5 Responses

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  1. savannah said, on May 20, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    OK, i've never been to HK and now, sugar, i'm not too sure i even want to go! 😦 what do ladies of a certain age, i.e. ME, do in HK for fun????? xoxoxoxo

  2. expat@large said, on May 20, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Oh, that's easy Sav. Just avoid sleazy old fat men like me. I think the other options i memtioned are all open to you.

  3. Skippy-san said, on May 21, 2012 at 4:11 am

    Uh, with all due respect-Wanchai is a legitamete destination, Guys like me who live the whole year on memories of walking up from the MRT to the exit-we need it! I will be back there before the end of the year and cannot wait to climb the stairs at New Makati.

  4. savannah said, on May 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    but, e@l, to party with you would be the only reason to go to HK! ;~)
    xoxoxo

  5. Skippy-san said, on July 2, 2012 at 1:49 am

    If Savannah were to go to HK, I would fly there just to take the pictures.


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