Monday, January 07, 2008
Real World: Hong Kong, Episode 1 - Take a Hike
This is the true story...of nine strangers...picked to go on a hike...work together, and have their lives blogged...to find out what happens when people stop being polite...and start getting real...The Real World: Hong Kong.
Believe it or not, I got myself out of bed early on a Saturday to go on a hike with a bunch of strangers. Right before Christmas I made the realization that I'm not going to make any friends through work (since I work with only one other person who lives far away) and I don't wanna go around picking up friends at the bar. So, I've been relying heavily on GeoExpat for everything. I've been on this expat forum since the second I knew I was moving and it's a superfantastic resource. So far I've met all my friends through this forum.
I had met David before at Falafal and Carbomb night last week, and he and a few others came up with the hike idea. I had to take 3 different MTR lines and 1 KCR line totalling over an hour to get to our meeting place. It was a great turn out. There were nine of us from all over the planet who had never met or were barely acquainted. A few of us from the US, a few from the UK, Vancouver, Singapore, it was fabulous. We hopped on a bus for about half an hour until we got to our destination, Tai Me Duk.
We had all bundled up because we were unsure about the weather, but it was a beautiful day and slightly on the warm side. I was told, and re-confirmed upon arrival that this would be a LEISURELY hike. Well, they were wrong.
Within the first few minutes I was ready to turn around. Me and the other American gal could barely breathe. I don't know how long we were climbing steps. An hour? Two hours?
Here's a bus stop along the trail. Not exactly sure what it's purpose is since there's no way a bus could get up there.
And an emergency phone since by that time our mobiles were roaming in China. We weren't actually that close to China but I am lead to believe we were able to see it in the distance.
If you click on the bigger version of this picture you'll see the buildings in the distance which are allegedly on the China side. I cannot confirm or deny this statement.
But somehow, some way, after praying to be put out of my misery, we made it to the top.
Unfortunately, this is not the view from the top. The top was very anticlimactic. It was just the trail with no view or water feature. Rachel and I were just happy to be done with the steps.
After that Trail of Tears the rest of the hike was, what I would define as leisurely. Still a bit of an incline, some rough terrain, but nothing too strenuous.
Some stairs we did NOT climb, praise Jesus.
Go me and my super straight teeth!
The end. But not the end because we had to walk back on the main road for another 45 minutes to get to our bus stop.
We were afraid of getting kidnapped by opium smugglers.
By the end of it we were famished. The original plan was to go get hot pot or the chinese version of fondue after the hike, but it would have taken us at least half an hour to get to a restaurant. So, we settled for BBQ at the end of our trail. This was a good idea in theory, however, it took us FOREVER to cook our food. We were like sad, homeless kids cooking around a garbage can.
At this particular establishment, we ordered our meat and rented the BBQ and utensils. It would have been fun if we weren't so desperate to eat.
And then we were on our way home.
Sunday I met Alexis for brunch, which so hit the spot since I haven't had real breakfast food in so long. Then we went to get our nails done with Christina, who happened to be one of my hiking pals. I talked to PhatPhat for a little bit, then hauled it to Causeway Bay, thinking I would pick up a few things at Ikea. I was so hungry and when I came across this I couldn't turn it down.
You are not allowed to judge me for eating here. I like it. Back off. I will give you 10 points if you know where this salad is from.
The Hongkongese version of a salad is a potato salad smothered in mayo. The first time is good, all other times, you just want a good ole real salad.
I journied up 13 flights of escalator to find this restaurant, which is not the best thing in the world for one with vertigo.
I didn't make it to Ikea, but I managed to buy some regular groceries which made me very happy. Stouffers mac and cheese, pita and hummus, pepper jack cheese, some fruit and yogurt... all for the bargain price of two or three times the local US market. But if I'm jonzing for a Hot Pocket I'll know where to get one.
So it was a fantabulous weekend... until evil ninjas crashed through my window!